First of all, before I start this, let me say I disagree with most of the usages of the word “privilege.”
The left refers to people of “privileged background,” for instance, when what they really mean is “rich” or, these days, “middle class and with parents who insisted on education.”
I suppose this makes some sense in the context of a leftist worldview, but it makes no sense in reality.
You see, privilege means “private law.” In terms of the past, noblemen were privileged because the law either didn’t apply to them (at all) or they had special laws that applied to them. For instance, in many jurisdictions, noblemen were exempt from the capital penalty. Most “clergy” were exempt from the death penalty. And the benefit of clergy would be given to anyone who could read and write. That was privilege. Private law. “The laws don’t apply to us, and you can’t make us obey them” if you prefer.
So in terms of left-Marxist worldview, it makes sense to think that anyone who has more has somehow cheated the existing laws. Or to believe that anyone who has better outcomes than someone else is taking advantage of a “private law,” that is, cheating.
The problem is that this only makes sense if you buy into the leftist worldview, in which every human being is a widget or, if you prefer, a game piece, with exactly the same qualities as any other game piece.
In actuality, humans can get rich without cheating anyone and outcomes of anything vary a lot depending on the qualities of the human beings involved and, yes, on their level of effort too.
Which brings us to real privilege: the de facto exertion of a private law.
For instance, take the Kavanaugh hearings, when all the liberals were assuring us that we didn’t need to presume innocence until guilt was proven. Did you notice that not only didn’t any of them revise their opinion of the sexual scandals of Bill Clinton – against whom guilt was overwhelmingly proven – but they were also adamant that the same principles they were trying to apply to Kavanaugh didn’t apply to Keith Ellison?
This makes absolutely no sense. If you “believe all women” (and btw, that, too, is privilege. Where is the “believe all men”?), why not believe Ellison’s battered girlfriend, who has the hospital visit to prove it, or Juanita Broaddrick before you believe Christine Ford?
The liberals’ explanation amounted to a lot of handwavium and what my grandmother used to call “trying to remove the butt from the path of the syringe,” i.e., “it’s a job interview” or “she is credible” or whatever were not so much arguments for believing one person and not believing the other as attempts to make you look elsewhere and forget to argue.
You see, they know the principle but can’t say it aloud – some of them not even to themselves – because that would cause them to admit that they are chock-full of privilege, which their theories force them to view as a sin.
In fact, all their claims of other people’s privilege are to excuse their own establishment of a private law for themselves.
For instance, how many discussions have you seen in which some white man is told to stop talking because he’s full of “white privilege” and should “educate himself”?
And yet, I can honestly say that in my decades in this country and in association with white men (husband, friends) I’ve never seen any of them have recourse to private law that excuses their crimes or gives them an easier time surviving. In fact, and contra one of my colleagues in science fiction who claimed that being a white male in America is “life on the easiest setting,” white people in the U.S. (and white men in particular) get fewer opportunities at scholarships, fewer set-asides in positions in education or employment and less preference when it comes to promotion, and in general have a rougher path through life, regardless of background. (Of course, those who come from greater wealth have an easier time relatively, and sufficient wealth makes up for all other conditions. That’s just part of being human.)
Then there is the time my son was told he was privileged because we had lots of books in the house and encouraged reading. That particular teacher must have been having a flashback to that “benefit of clergy.” Or something.
And yet, there is one glaring form of privilege in the United States today.
In fact, I think that’s what my colleague was confused about. You see, he’s a vocal liberal, and I think that’s why he’s experienced a meteoric rise through the field, despite a … passable talent and an absolute refusal to work harder or reach higher than strictly needed.
The same could be said about other liberals in the public eye, male and female and of every race. For instance, can anyone imagine a Republican of any race or sex having the meteoric rise Barrack Obama experienced, from freshman senator to president?
Did anyone see Sonya Sotomayor, a woman stupid enough to think that being Latina confers special wisdom, being questioned about her obvious racism and sexism? Does anyone think a Republican nominee of any race – remember Clarence Thomas? – would get as easy a ride into the Supreme Court of the United States?
Has anyone noticed that when there’s any reason to call on a speaker to explain a public disaster or event, outside explicitly conservative venues, the “expert” called upon is always leftist?
I’ve been jaw-dropped on more than one occasion to see a freshman colleague of mine called to comment on, say, space developments when this person might have written one or two books and none of them dealing with space. But, you know, it’s liberal privilege.
Liberal privilege ranges from quite literal private law — anyone see a Republican who left a girl to die in his car go on to become the Lion of the Senate? — to an easing of the way, a magic carpet ride to the top for good little boys and girls who express the right (left) position.
Being liberal means never having to say you’re sorry.
And you know why as well as they do: for nearly a hundred years, they’ve had control of the bureaucracy, as well as of those fields that shape the narrative, including the news, entertainment, and literature.
Their crimes are excused, while crimes are invented in the account of everyone who opposes them. All of which would be galling enough without the newest wrinkle.
It started a long time before the Kavanaugh hearings. For a long time, they’ve been trying to deny anyone to the right of Lenin the rights secured to us by the Constitution of the United States. Their attacks on the Second Amendment are legendary, but lately they’ve been trying to extend the fight. For instance, we’ve seen them not only declare that certain words should be crimes, but they are also working through those companies they control to prevent the free speech of those they don’t like or those they consider dangerous (often the same thing).
And in Kavanaugh’s hearing, they tried to deny that anyone they oppose can have the right to due process and the presumption of innocence.
It’s not just that the left wants their own private law. It’s that the rights they’re arrogating for themselves under that de facto law are the rights all of us are entitled to.
We are not peasants. We will not get in line. And we will continue to demand equality under the law. It’s the least we’re entitled to as Americans: an end to liberal privilege.