Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Privilege. That horrible, horrible word.

Nothing grinds the gears of those who subscribe to the Guillotine Doctrine- the perpetual soaking and draining of the rich to feed the ambitions and desires of the poor- than the idea of privilege. If you're the sort of conservative who just adores making leftists mad, you can't do much better than talking about how privilege is awesome. Try it on Twitter sometime.

Privilege is what privileged people have and what oppressed people don't have. (It is very black and white that way, of course.)

Benefits mysteriously accrue to the privileged because our entire culture is skewed in favour of the privileged. The privileged enjoy privileged existences, free of care and worry and effort because they are privileged, and at the same time they spend every waking moment and spare scrap of energy ensuring that oppressed people don't get access to privilege. (Yeah.....)

Now, us privileged people don't know we're privileged. We think our lives spent managing huge corporations bent on destroying people's lives and the environment are so hard. We even think we should be compensated appropriately- possibly even with more money than someone else- for the hard work we do.

This notion- that people have unequal abilities, or unequal drives to be better, and those who are exceptional should be treated exceptionally- drives the left absolutely kookoo-bananas. We'll return to it in a moment.

Because privilege is terrible, it is therefore acceptable, correct, proper and right that the oppressed and not-privileged should be working to destroy anything that grants more privilege to the already-privileged. When Arun Smith destroyed a free speech wall last week, he did so because he was a member of an oppressed group of people and therefore he could destroy things that he felt contributed to privilege.

As Arun's FB post on the subject clearly states, "I consider this action both a moral imperative, and one entirely in line with the mandates of the positions that students on this campus have chosen for me to hold." Being mad about free speech walls and talking to university officials about them doesn't produce the desired result of getting rid of them, so you take matters into your own hands.

Us privileged people, however, should not for one solitary instant assume that if we see something we don't like, we are allowed to destroy it.

Oppressed people, because they have been oppressed, have the moral imperative to ruin the day of people they feel are privileged. Privileged people might just be minding their own business, not bothering anybody, but because they are privileged, they don't know they are privileged, and they are, without knowing it, contributing to oppression.

Oppressed people are allowed to do lots of other things, too. There's a lovely thing called the "tone argument."

Let's say you're derping along one day when suddenly a group of Idle No More protesters decide they are going to shut down your local railway line. Being a privileged person who doesn't know you're privileged, you're not in touch with the oppression of First Nation peoples and you also aren't aware of the specific role you play in that oppression that means you specifically have to be targeted. Now you have Idle No More protesters mad at you.

Now because you didn't prepare for this when you woke up this morning (you awful privileged person, you) you ask them to please calm down so you can process what's going on. And by doing so, you have just made the situation even worse. You see, "people who have the privilege of being listened to and taken seriously level accusations of "incivility" as a silencing tactic, and label as "incivil" any speech or behavior that questions their privilege." So you, privileged person, aren't actually calling for quiet because you're trying to figure out what's going on- you're trying to use a silencing tactic. Why are oppressed people allowed to make assumptions like that? Because they're oppressed, that's why! And you're not.

So, people from oppressed groups are allowed to be angry. What if a conservative person gets angry about something? Well, that's because they're an angry white male.

Sometimes, oppressed people decide they are going to flout the system altogether! When this happens, we have the Red Square movement or the Occupy No More movement. And you can't question the Red Square movement, unless you want to end up like Jean Charest.

All of this stuff falls under the heading of "direct action." You engage in direct action when you want to "obstruct another political agent or political organization from performing some practice to which the activists object; or to solve perceived problems which traditional societal institutions (governments, powerful churches or establishment trade unions) are not addressing to the satisfaction of the direct action participants."

What about us? Could we conservatives engage in "direct action"? No, I guess not, because we're privileged. Why would we ever want to engage in direct action unless it was to protect our own privilege?

You know what? It sounds like oppressed people can do a lot of things that we privileged people can't. If something bothers them, they can engage in direct action and they don't have to make their arguments in a calm, rational way. And we can't say it's not fair, because we privileged people created the unfair situation in the first place. Exceptional people- people from oppressed groups- have to be treated exceptionally. Wait a minute....didn't we start by saying that people with exceptional abilities shouldn't be treated exceptionally according to those on the left?

Like, for example....the Liberals just elected Kathleen Wynne as Premier of Ontario. She makes frequent mention of her own sexual orientation. But she also says that the province has moved beyond consideration of sexual orientation. Her sexual orientation is special and not special at the very same time. What am I supposed to make of that? Nothing, because I'm privileged. I can't have an opinion on the subject.

However, oppressed people enjoy the privilege of having a discussion about whether Wynne's sexuality matters, and....oops. I just said that oppressed people have privilege. But....they're oppressed people. Yet they enjoy an unequal advantage over privileged people when it comes to talking about Wynne's sexuality, and privilege is "advantages that one group accrues from society as on the disadvantages that another group experiences."

If oppressed people can have privilege, that means that privileged people.....can be oppressed?!?!?! By....oppressed people???

Uh oh! I think I just figured out what the whole point of this privilege thing is, and that is to turn oppressed people into privileged people and privileged people into oppressed people!!!

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