Traditional refers to the customary way of thought, action and behavior. This means that an individual has to think and act accordingly to the established societal cultural principles. Modernity refers to a transformational way of thought where individuals are always willing to adopt newer ideas and operate as per the new ideas. Adam Smith stated in his writings that people could achieve modernity by developing their traditional thoughts. Both tradition and modernity have advantages and disadvantages. Modernity leads to freedom and ensures the society develops through industrialization. On the other hand, modernity could lead to the emergence of vices in the society. Traditional practices shape up behavior and codes of conduct. On the other hand, they retard development and could infringe on human rights.
This paper explicates the view of traditional versus modernity.
Adam Smith is of the view that modernity arises from the transformation of traditional societies. He asserts that modernity leads to the development of a more rational society. Modernity indeed leads to the respect of humans. According to Chen & Ryden (2009) all individuals within the society are accorded equal freedoms and rights. Minorities in the society are treated accordingly to the rule of an affirmative action. It would ensure that no individual is sidelined in the performance of various duties in the society. A modern society recognizes equality among all individuals.
Modernity leads to economic progress among individuals. Adam Smith asserts that modernity comes with opportunities for industrialization and general development. Brown (2008) indicates that this is vital because it would help to empower all individuals economically. This would lead to current forms of production and promotion of issues such as education. Shapiro (2002) points out that modernity would ensure the process within the society advances, and the acquisition of most resources is simplified through the current modes of operation.
On the other hand, modernity could lead to the emergence of vices in the society. This is because individuals could adopt undesirable characteristics from other individuals in the process of being modernized. Khutiala (2008) asserts that the existing order set in place by the traditional thoughts would be disintegrated as individuals acquire modern and undesirable codes of conduct. For instance, some individuals could change their traditional modes of dressing only to adopt obscene modes of dressing.
Traditionalism refers to the observance and adherence to customary acts within the society. Adam Smith perceives traditional practices the stepping-stone for modernity. He says that a society develops by advancing its traditional reasoning. Smith believes that a tradition is instrumental in shaping an individual’s behavior. According to Chen & Ryden (2009), it gives guidelines on how an individual is supposed to operate and coexist with others in the society. Therefore, a traditional individual is likely to be more consistent in his actions because of the continuous shaping of behavior.
Human rights have been infringed on due to the traditional modes of behavior. Adam Smith observes that acts such as slavery happened because of traditional thinking and actions. Brown (2008) asserts that most traditional societies do not recognize the value of other people in the society. For instance, in most traditional societies women are taken as weaker individuals who are unable to contribute to the society. This leads to the denial of education among such groups.
Individuals all over the world should adopt the modern way of living. This would be helpful in transforming the society and ensuring that progress is achieved. Modernity means that all individuals within the society would be given equal opportunities to perform various duties. Khutiala (2008) reports that modernity means the minority groups would not be subjected to suffering as observed by Adam Smith. All individuals would have the freedom to act without being limited by traditional and outdated thoughts. Therefore, individuals should be modern rather than traditional.
In conclusion, modernity offers more neutral thoughts compared to traditionalism, which could be extreme. Modernity would ensure continued growth and progress of the society as individuals freely interact. People should be more of modern than traditional.