The authoritarian left knew that it could not win arguments on a level playing field. Concepts like “trigger warnings” and the horror of “manspreading” could not gain traction in an arena in which all ideas are considered on their merits. As a result, these practitioners of the irrational arts had to create a force field around them and their flawed ideas.
That force field is called privilege.
The concept of privilege reduces a person to a series of shallow calculations that makes it permissible–and sometimes necessary–to ignore a person’s line of thinking. The left, of course, founded on Enlightenment ideals as it is, once argued against dehumanization of others. Now? That dehumanization is a vital part of their game plan.
In case you haven’t acquainted yourself with their obsession, take a look at the mental gymnastics in which the authoritarian left wishes you to engage before you enter a discussion:
While it is a good idea to understand that our points of view are colored by our experiences, the simple facts of our birth and the accidents of fate that impact our lives should not validate or invalidate our ideas. The concept of “privilege” is a powerful weapon for the authoritarian left because it justifies their dismissive nature.
Take note of John Scalzi, famous for his science fiction novels and his strident advocacy of the authoritarian left. Mr. Scalzi says the following of privilege:
I’ve been thinking of a way to explain to straight white men how life works for them, without invoking the dreaded word “privilege,” to which they react like vampires being fed a garlic tart at high noon. It’s not that the word “privilege” is incorrect, it’s that it’s not their word. When confronted with “privilege,” they fiddle with the word itself, and haul out the dictionaries and find every possible way to talk about the word but not any of the things the word signifies.
Okay: In the role playing game known as The Real World, “Straight White Male” is the lowest difficulty setting there is.
The metaphor is quite a clever one; the Tumblr generation is, if nothing else, familiar with video games and I’m sure that the concept makes a great deal of sense. Mr. Scalzi, perhaps unintentionally, engages in the same kind of patriarchal patronization that he claims is the problem.
Mr. Scalzi’s shallow assessment tells the “underprivileged” that race and gender, perhaps the least interesting things about a person, are the primary determinants of success in life. “Privilege,” as delineated by the authoritarian left, ignores the parts of identity that actually do mean something and actually do have a tangible influence on where we end up in life. Perhaps most importantly, obsession about privilege and the “difficulty setting” obliterates the opportunity and duty of the individual to overcome the kinds of problems we all have.
Essentially, those who rely upon privilege as an underpinning for their arguments expect you to argue on their terms and by their byzantine rules. If you refuse to do so? Why, your thoughts, no matter how sensible and genuine, mean nothing at all.
The concept of privilege as a license to share ideas is problematic for another reason: have you ever noticed that most of the people who want you to shut up happen to be ridiculously “privileged?” Mr. Scalzi himself seems to have led a charmed life by his own criteria. Should we respect or disrespect his opinion on the basis of his privilege alone? (No.)
Jonathan McIntosh is the writer and producer of the Feminist Frequency videos, a series that will one day be finished. The non-profit run by he and his partner, Anita Sarkeesian, has brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars. Mr. McIntosh, a white heterocismale whose father is a millionaire and owns a private island, employs “privilege” as a reason why the media should believe him instead of others.
What’s the moral of this silly story? Those in the authoritarian left who wish to win their arguments on the basis of “privilege” instead of merit are not only thumbing their noses at the very concept of the marketplace of ideas, but they are often massively hypocritical.