What the obsession with privilege says.

Check your privilege!

What this statement does—rightly or wrongly—is it impeaches the value of the statement based on the source, making it a classic case of logical fallacy. Leaving that aside, because after all, the speaker can affect the importance of a statement, it nonetheless allows for political mediation of speech. The politics comes in when who or what is privilege or privileged comes into the equation.

And therein lies the rub. The problem with this (and almost all far-left politics) is that it simply seeks to replace the arbiter of what kind of speech should be privileged rather than focus on the content. The center and the right either ignore (in the case of the center) or prefer (in the case of the right) the existing rules. Under those rules, the privilege associated with wealth (primarily) is seen as having an unfair advantage. Unfair, if you’re a liberal. If you’re a far leftist, it’s not really that the advantage is unfair, it’s that the wrong people have it.

As a result, the real meaning of debate squelching refrains like “check your privilege” is the desire to be the owner of privilege not to neutralize it altogether.

People are free to hold these beliefs if they want. That’s part of what we accept in a liberal society. But I feel that it begins as a desire to level the playing field, which is what liberals want, and instead becomes a politically controlled validation of speech based on identity.

It would seem that the test is simple: if you’re a minority or a historically oppressed group, speech by you of for you should be amplified and speech against you should be filtered through a very severe audit.

The trouble comes when we start to decide who is given the in label. Under prevailing conditions, this category seems to include enemies of the United States no matter how numerous, wealthy, or oppressive they themselves are and it seems to exclude groups like Jews who, according to this philosophy, are now “white” despite millennia of historical oppression.

What has made the United States what it is was the realization that, though it is hard work, denying any political class the ability to moderate speech has kept us from the endless cycle of revolution and counter-revolution that has roiled Europe for centuries, and, despite a postwar Golden Age, appears to be at it again.

 

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