Someone on CNN accused a conservative of white privilege yesterday. She was soon stunned into silence as he revealed that he was black.
The concept of privilege offers a glimpse into the minds of progressives. In it, we can see that envy is a guiding principle in Leftist philosophy. That’s because privilege is simply a way of casting good character in a negative light.
There’s a grain of truth in the leftist lie, as there is in many lies. The truth is that some people are more likely to succeed than others because of their pasts. A middle-aged man who has worked hard for two decades is privileged over a man who has never held a job and his lived on government welfare since he dropped out of high school. A child who has a married mother and father is more likely to succeed in school, marriage, and a career than the child of a single mother.
Historically, those who had strong character were admired. It was a good thing to make good, tough decisions that required sacrifice. It was good to work hard to privilege one’s children instead of squandering their inheritance. It was good to emulate men of honor and character.
Progressives have a different commitment, though. When someone is successful, progressives look on them with envy and suspicion. A man who succeeds must have done something wrong and crooked to get where he is. He must have stolen from someone or cheated someone or hurt someone.
The Left has classified the world in postmodern oppressor/oppressed categories, such that the more “oppressor” categories a person finds themselves in, the more suspicious we should be about any of their success. Where historically the important question was “how can we succeed?”, the Leftist asks “how can we tear someone down because of their skin color, sex, and beliefs?” The Left doesn’t build on the work of the past, but makes sure to destroy everything to preserve a flat wasteland of mediocrity and failure.
This is more insidious than presuming a man must have had his success by virtue of being white when he is actually black. The Leftist model actually encourages people they deem “oppressed” into behaviors which keep them poor, dependent, broken, and flailing. Instead of urging people in these groups to strive for the kind of character which leads to success, the Left encourages envy and hate. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy where the Left encourages the very behaviors that lead to the very situations they claim to champion against.
It also reveals some inherent racism on the Left. When a white man succeeds, its his “privilege” that does it. He comes naturally equipped for success. When a white man fails, it’s in spite of his “privilege”. The opposite is true of black men. They succeed in spite of their disadvantage of being black. And failure isn’t a big deal; it’s expected. After all, they are black. This explains why progressives are far, far more likely to talk down to minorities, even to the point of treating them like children.
I see this attitude even among lefty “conservative” women on subtly different topics. For example, I’ve made the strongly evidenced claim that women should marry before having children and stay married if they want the best possible outcome for their children. “Conservative” women were very quick to tell me how mean-spirited and cruel my suggestion was. Even though this is extremely good advice for young women, we can’t have it spoken aloud, lest the women who have already made mistakes feel bad. I have another post in mind for the topic of sympathy-as-hatred, but this example also fits here.
Calls to good character are condemned – by the Left as privilege and by some “conservatives” because it might make people feel bad. The real victims, though, are the people who could live much better lives by being encouraged to make good decisions who are instead told that the consequences of their actions are someone else’s fault.