There is a looming big danger, a very big one. Neoliberalism, under West dominant grand narrative, is slowly and systematically turning humans into cyborgs if not yahoos or yoyos. Among many things that made Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), an English philosopher, jurist, and social reformer, famous is his phrase “nonsense upon stilts” he coined when he took legal fictions on.
Recently, Dutch positivity guru, Emile Ratelband, left the world aghast when he argued that “we live in a time when you can change your name and change your gender. Why can’t I decide my own age?” Ratelband went before the court seeking to change his date of birth to boost dating prospects by 20 years. Thus be declared 49 years old. For, he feels he’s 20 years younger than he actually is. As per Ratebland, this is how he feels; and he needs this to be legalised and recognised altogether. However, he lost the case after the court holding that “granting the request would cause “all kinds of legal problems” by effectively erasing 20 years of events” (BBC, Dec., 3, 2018). Luckily, the court took Ratelband’s sapience with a grain of salt. It threw the case out and the Judge maintained that “Mr Ratelband is at liberty to feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly.” But again, under what law shall he act according to his wishes accordingly?
However, farfetched and insane this can sound, Ratelbland’s take’s some nuggets of wisdom. Why’s it possible for, say, a male to feel he’s a woman and accepted but not when the same feels he’s younger than he actually is. Suppose I feel I’m president or king and wishes to be recognised as thus.
Suppose my wife feels she’s a male and would like me to be his wife but not a hubby and vice versa. Suppose, I feel I’m an animal; therefore, entitled to marry an animal. I feel I’m an angel; thus I’d be treated as such etc. Shall I be granted all these supposed rights? Here’s where the can of worms, if not Pandora’s Box, is opened.
Ratelband’s argument is simple and clear. If same sex persons are legally allowed to enter the institution of marriage, why stopping him from being what he feels and likes to be? Importantly, Ratelband move’s nothing but a critique to excessive human rights the world is now venturing into without necessarily agreeing on how to go about this thorny issue that revolves around colonialism and holier than thou wherein some civilisations of the world are bulldozed and ignored by the current Western dominant grand narrative.
Shall this wave of undefined and one-sided and over-discretionary human rights go on unabatedly; we’ll end up being colonised if not creating more conflicts.
Interestingly, all sorts of the so-called human rights seem to be a one-way traffic in that they all come from the West. When’ll Africa donate the same instead of being just a recipient of whatever comes regardless it make sense or not? Names, gadgets, systems, and policies, however fake and toxic they’re and whatnot, all are imported!
Does it mean that Africa doesn’t have functioning brains not to mention feelings and wishes just like others? Show me anything whose origin is Africa in these human rights, politics and religions of the world? Is Africa truly free in such circumstances?
Why’s it possible for a person to change his or her gender but it becomes impossible to change his or her age? Is it logical really to be guided by our feelings and wishes however mad and untenable are?
How long will Africa continue to be a world’s wastebasket if not an experimental object for whatever quacks to come and experiment on? Does this need donors and gurus to ponder upon really? Sadly though, our luminaries interrogate them, we shamelessly volley innuendos and vitriols at them while what they’re trying to do’s pull Africa out of this desperation and humiliation. Uh, it is kind of discouraging the way we treat these who doubt such superimpositions. How many of such daring leaders and thinkers does Africa have today; if we truly face it? Again, for myopia, Africa seems not to get it at this precarious time its livelihood and future are on the line. Where are our Benthams today who fearlessly interrogate this wave of unpractical human rights? Aren’t we humans capable of standing for our human rights that are compatible with our culture, values and ways of life?
Waffing aside, while this disregard to human culture, mores, values and intelligence that’s ongoing, we seem to have sheepishly accepted to be hijacked so as to keep mum for our peril. Sadly, our intellectuals seem to buy into this ploy either for the fear of being shunned or reprimanded if not looking bad. We need an international healthy dialogue on the matter to see to it that we come up with an international modus operandi on how to go about this dangerous school of thought.
Like Bentham, we’d not cower when it comes to defending our values and ways of life. For, we’re duty bound to do so shall we aspire to save our civilisation.