At first glance, this is not only risible but actively ridiculous: a bunch of metrosexual beta males apologizing for their very existence. And, in fact, it does seem to be a parody — if Stephen Parkhurst’s previous work is any guide — although many conservative sites have fallen for it, owing to its extreme plausibility. But behind every parody is more than a grain of truth so, just for fun, let’s follow the granular subtext of this exercise in cultural-Marxist nastiness.
It begins with Saul Alinsky’s famous Rule No. 4: “Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.” Leaving aside the fact that there is no single “Christian Church” (a mistake common to non-Christians), and that Christianity comprises the Catholic Church, the Greek/Russian Orthodox Church and various declining sects of Protestanism, among others, the central issue here is to make “the enemy” (Alinsky’s words) face the consequences of his own imperfectibility. That any contradictions and consequences are entirely in the head of the Alinsky side matters not; after all, in psywar, it’s not what’s true that counts, it’s what you can get the enemy to believe:
Right now, the Leftist meme being pushed is “inequality.” We see it everywhere, starting at the top, with President Obama carping about it in speeches, in the sudden prominence of a book nobody will ever read, in Eric Holder’s Justice Department using the cudgel of “disparate impact” as its weapon of choice against the nation as founded. Because, the thinking goes, if all men really are created “equal,” how can you possibly object to any action government takes to rectify a perceived “inequality”? Well, you can’t — unless, of course, you can reason past the formulation “if A then B.” But the modern Left understands that few can or will — and even if they could, the sound-bite hegemony of the media will rule out any substantive discussion of C, D, or E. As the AlinskyDefeater notes:
This tactic is genius in its simplicity. The idea is to keep the attention on your opponent by simply peppering them with the ways in which they fail to be perfect. No one is perfect and so the rule is powerful. In fact, it is one of the most powerful tactics in the Alinsky arsenal.
It’s simple and effective because it’s false, taking no account of the actual crooked timber of humanity (in Sir Isaiah Berlin’s famous phrase), nor of the fundamental “unfairness” of Nature herself. It’s false because it assumes facts not in evidence (white male “privilege”) and purposely targets a single group, without remarking upon the fairness, or lack of it, of other societies (female, non-white, whatever). In other words, it assumes a conspiracy — the Big Meeting Theory of History — in which European men got together in the Caves of Lascaux or somewhere similar, and made a binding pact for all eternity. Never mind that they could have no knowledge about the existence of other human societies; they were Oppressors, and that would be that.
Of course, there’s been pushback, most recently with this piece by Princeton student Tal Fortgang, which bunched panties and created wedgies all over academe after it came out. A sample:
There is a phrase that floats around college campuses, Princeton being no exception, that threatens to strike down opinions without regard for their merits, but rather solely on the basis of the person that voiced them. “Check your privilege,” the saying goes, and I have been reprimanded by it several times this year. The phrase, handed down by my moral superiors, descends recklessly, like an Obama-sanctioned drone, and aims laser-like at my pinkish-peach complexion, my maleness, and the nerve I displayed in offering an opinion rooted in a personal Weltanschauung. “Check your privilege,” they tell me in a command that teeters between an imposition to actually explore how I got where I am, and a reminder that I ought to feel personally apologetic because white males seem to pull most of the strings in the world…
So to find out what they are saying, I decided to take their advice. I actually went and checked the origins of my privileged existence, to empathize with those whose underdog stories I can’t possibly comprehend. I have unearthed some examples of the privilege with which my family was blessed, and now I think I better understand those who assure me that skin color allowed my family and I to flourish today.
Perhaps it’s the privilege my grandfather and his brother had to flee their home as teenagers when the Nazis invaded Poland, leaving their mother and five younger siblings behind, running and running until they reached a Displaced Persons camp in Siberia, where they would do years of hard labor in the bitter cold until World War II ended. Maybe it was the privilege my grandfather had of taking on the local Rabbi’s work in that DP camp, telling him that the spiritual leader shouldn’t do hard work, but should save his energy to pass Jewish tradition along to those who might survive. Perhaps it was the privilege my great-grandmother and those five great-aunts and uncles I never knew had of being shot into an open grave outside their hometown. Maybe that’s my privilege.
Naturally, that hasn’t stopped the Leftist privilege project, as exemplified by this exercise in high dudgeon, printed in what’s left of Time magazine. See if you can follow the logic of one Briana Payton:
This so-called “privilege check” would have had a much better start had the author first Googled the meaning of privilege, because he holds a fundamental misconception about what it actually is. Privilege is not an idea aimed at muting opinion or understating the worth of accomplishments. It is not a stab at personal character, nor is it something for which one needs to apologize. But it is also not a myth. Privilege refers to the very real benefits that society affords certain groups over others, and it is manifested in many ways. This country has a history of overall preference for white males, and Fortgang even complains that people prompt him to feel “personally apologetic because white males seem to pull most of the strings in the world.”
While Fortgang is not responsible for white male dominance in society, he should at least recognize that this social hierarchy is not a mere coincidence, nor is it a testament to the power of hard work. Such a micro-level explanation, when applied to our country’s current state, would imply that white males have by and large outworked most women and minorities in the many fields in which they dominate. The reality is as follows: White men are the only ones who have been afforded political and social rights since the founding of this country.
Italics mine. And that’s not a parody.