Alongside accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia, and Islamophobia, we can now list “white privilege” and “male privilege” as ideological weapons that the far left uses in their nonstop attacks on America’s culture. Rather than going on the defensive against the left’s latest accusations, however, the rest of us should see the tactic for what it is and for what it reveals about the need to confront a much more pervasive problem: liberal privilege.
It is important to see the left’s privilege offensive in its broader strategic context. The left’s accusations of white privilege and male privilege have nothing to do with promoting racial or sexual equality. Most Americans long ago accepted Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision that people should be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin.Career and lifestyle options for women these days are pretty much a question of choice and not societal constraints.
So what is really behind the left’s privilege offensive?
Marxist intellectuals recognized in the 1920s that violent revolution was not catching on as their original theory had predicted. Religious commitment, national identity, traditional families, and other beliefs and customs of the West’s Judeo-Christian culture presented barriers to the Marxist program of total governmental control.Those Marxist intellectuals developed Critical Theory – the relentless assault on every aspect of Judeo-Christian culture – as their primary weapon in tearing down the cultural foundations of liberty. The goal of Critical Theory was to create doubt and guilt about our American way of life so as to weaken our resistance to the radical left’s agenda. If Americans could be made to see America as inherently flawed and unworthy of defending, then resistance to the Marxist program would weaken.
The cultural Marxists pushed political correctness as a means of monitoring and stifling even the slightest deviation from the left’s dictates.Getting people accustomed to control and submission was the real goal, not societal improvement. The left’s privilege offensive is just the latest face of that assault, and the goal has not changed.
But if we step back and look squarely at it, the one group in America that most demands and expects privileged treatment is the far left. And it is time the rest of us called them on it.
Here is a brief checklist to aid in recognizing the signs of liberal privilege:
1. Assuming that you have the right to control what everyone else does, what they have, what they say, and how they think. The idea of living your own life and – here’s a thought – leaving others the hell alone to do the same never crosses your mind.
2. Assuming that you have the right never to hear any opinion that contradicts your own, and using intimidation and violence if necessary to protect your ideological bubble. And if someone actually does or says something you don’t like, you are entitled to a hug or a puppy.
3. Assuming that feeling offended on your part constitutes a political crisis on the nation’s part. Others might have to grow up and accept the fact that the world will not bow to their every whim, but not you.
4. Having exquisite sensitivity to the moral speck in society’s eye while ignoring the beam in your own. It is your privilege to establish the standards by which others must live and to critique them at will, but any criticism of you is evidence of hatred.
5. Consistency is for other people. You are free to deny the existence of absolutes while imposing absolute standards that others must follow. As long as your heroes condemn fossil fuels and support gun control, they are free to fly in private jets and live in mega-mansions protected by armed guards. You are free to say the vilest things about conservative blacks or women, but any criticism of liberal blacks or women is evidence of racism or sexism.
6. You must be judged only by your rhetoric and not by your results. If your social policy weakens black families, the resulting social ills are the result of racism on society’s part and not any arrogance, presumption, or failing on your part. As long as you claim to value education, you are free to support an educational system that cranks out students who cannot read or do basic math, and who are ignorant of even the most essential points of American and world history.
7. And finally, liberal privilege means never having to say “not guilty.” Laws that apply to everyone else do not apply to you. Laws protecting public and private property may be suspended in order to allow leftists room to ventilate their feelings. Laws protecting classified information or forbidding the abuse of governmental positions to harass opponents do not apply to you or your allies.
The left constantly introduces new words and phrases into our political discourse. Perhaps the phrase that has been missing is, “Your liberal privilege is showing.”
This would be a good time to introduce it.
Tim Daughtry is a conservative speaker and co-author of Waking the Sleeping Giant: How Mainstream Americans Can Beat Liberals at Their Own Game. Follow him on Twitter @TCDwriter.