Monday, May 12, 2014

Stroke And Counterstroke

The battle lines are bright. All the passionate folks have chosen sides. Yes, there are some uncommitted -- twenty to thirty percent of the electorate, by the usual estimates -- but Americans who take a lively and ongoing interest in politics and public policy are already arrayed with their fellows. The war for the future of the nation is on, and the fusillades have grown fierce.

The balance of forces cannot be determined beyond all doubt. I'd like to think we in the Right have a numerical edge, and perhaps we do, but numbers aren't everything. The Left controls public and higher education, the entertainment media, and the press. Their entrenchments in those domains have proved extremely difficult to overcome, and give them a degree of influence over public perception and opinion that's difficult to countervail.

Even so, the Left is rattled. It shows in a multitude of ways. Perhaps most significant is its emphasis on closing down the discussion of important issues. We've already become inured to leftists' ranting about "global warming / climate change / climate disruption" and their shrill insistence that "the science is settled," and we know it for what it is: a sophisticated but nevertheless fallacious way of saying "Shut up." But the Left's "Shut up" tactics go well beyond that one, as the Andrew Klavan video in the linked piece makes clear.

It's wearying to be compelled to play defense, but here we are. Their concentration on rhetorical tactics is magnified by their dominance in the media; therefore, we must keep finding counterstrokes to every new leftist attempt to silence us or invalidate our positions. Their latest and currently most threatening cudgel is "inequality," a thinly disguised way of reintroducing "racism" as a political issue.

In witness whereof, our favorite Graybeard cites these snippets from the recently concluded "2014 White Privilege Conference" held in Madison, Wisconsin:

Would it surprise you to learn that educators were recently taught at the fifteenth annual White Privilege Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, that “racism is central to America;” “the longer you are in the Tea Party, the more racist you become;” and “this country was built on white principles for white people”?

Those are just some of the sound bytes captured by Progressives Today — a joint collaboration between Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft and EAG News’ Kyle Olson, who also co-wrote Glenn Beck’s most recent book, “Conform.”

Hoft and Olson teamed up with documentary filmmaker Andrew Marcus to investigate the conference, and aired some of the controversial footage on TheBlaze TV’s “Dana” Friday.

Olson said one of the main messages was, “in order to deal with racism … we need to attack capitalism and [change] our very economic structure and economic system.”

Hoft added: “It’s not about moving the country, moving society, in a positive direction … It’s very clear that they’re just pushing Marxism.”

Graybeard adds his own observations:

Did you notice that this was the 15th annual White Privilege Conference? That's right; this is an annual conference, attended by teachers, professors and all sorts of other people you are paying with your taxes. Public school teachers can go there to get their Continuing Education credits from this, and we have the privilege of paying for it. A recurrent theme at the conference is that it's hard to indoctrinate high school and college students with this horseshit, so they need to start with educational babies: elementary school or, better yet, pre-schoolers. Those brains are so much easier to wash because they haven't learned any of those legendary Common Core "critical thinking skills" yet. Which pretty much tells you all you need to know about the thinking skills of the college professors and lawyers themselves.

Indeed. Give that a moment's thought.

This notion of "white privilege" is already being hawked in a number of universities. If you haven't yet encountered Tal Fortgang's encounter and riposte, give it a look; it's worth your time. But politically more useful in a general setting is Kurt Schlichter's suggested response:

This “Check your privilege” meme is the newest trump card du jour on college campuses and in other domains of progressive tyranny. It morphed into existence from the “You racist!” wolf-cry that is now so discredited that it produces little but snickers even among liberal fellow travelers. After all, if everyone is racist – and to the progressives, everyone is except themselves – then no one is really racist. And it’s kind of hard to take seriously being called “racist” by adherents of a political party that made a KKK kleagle its Senate majority leader.

So how do we deal with this idiocy?

The proper response to the privilege gambit is laughter. The super-serious zealots of progressivism hate being laughed at, but there’s really no other appropriate response outside of a stream of obscenities. The privilege game is designed to circumvent arguments based on reason and facts and evidence, so the way to win it is to defeat it on its own terms.

Call: “Check your privilege!”
Response: “What you call ‘privilege’ is just me being better than you.”

They won’t like it. It will make them angry. Good. Because tactics like “Check your privilege” are designed to make us angry, to put us off-balance, to baffle us and suck us down into a rabbit hole of leftist jargon and progressive stupidity.

Don’t follow them. Mock them. Accuse them of adhering to a transphobic cisnormative paradigm and start shrieking “Hate crime!”

Don’t worry about not making sense. They’re college students. They are used to not understanding what people smarter than they are tell them.

Respectful argument should be reserved for those who respect the concept of argument. The sulky sophomores who babble about privilege do not. They only understand power. And we give them power when we give their nonsense the respect we would give a coherent argument.

They deserve only laughter. And to laugh at them, we simply need to refuse to be intimidated.

In this connection, I can't help but cite C. S. Lewis once again:

No man who says 'I'm as good as you' believes it. He would not say It if he did. The St. Bernard never says it to the toy dog, nor the scholar to the dunce, nor the employable to the bum, nor the pretty woman to the plain. The claim to equality, outside the strictly political field, is made by those who feel themselves to be in some way inferior. What it expresses is precisely the itching, smarting writhing awareness of an inferiority which the patient refuses to accept." [The Screwtape Letters]

The "Check your privilege" trope is merely an indirect way of saying "I'm as good as you," or more precisely, "I would be as good as you if it weren't for your unearned advantages." As Lewis notes in Screwtape, it's no more than "a good, resounding lie." As Schlichter recommends above, it deserves only mockery, and at every attempt to assert it.

There's a larger point behind the above. The Left is straining with all its might to make "inequality" the theme of the 2014 campaign season, and possibly that of 2016 as well. Why? The first and lesser reason is that it might serve to deflect attention from the massive universal failures of Obama Administration policy, which the Left cannot defend and so must prevent from being discussed. But the second reason they trumpet "inequality" is larger and more ominous: there's nothing that can be done about it:

  • No two persons ever born have been equal to one another in perception, intellect, foresight, judgment, knowledge, perseverance, courage, or any other asset of the human creature.
  • Those qualities are what give rise to other inequalities among men, including our inequalities in material possessions and social status.
  • Thus, even if all men were leveled socially and materially ab initio, the passage of time would raise some above others by virtue of their inherent natural inequality.
  • Therefore, the insistence that "inequality" is wrong and must be politically redressed provides an indefeasible rationale for totalitarian control of everything.

That makes "inequality" the perfect "cause" from which a gaggle of totalitarians can hang its claim to righteousness. It's got more syllables than "racism," too.

At this time, just about every rhetorical device the Left employs translates to a demand that America abolish "inequality." The "white privilege" meme is certainly one such. Its implications of "institutional racism" and "invisible structures of bias" are there for anyone to see, yet it avoids directly invoking the shibboleths of "racism" and "sexism" we've already become accustomed to laughing aside.

Watch for deployments of this meme. Watch for attempts to make traditional family structures and bourgeois values into mechanisms for the maintenance of "privilege." Watch for deliberate conflations of race-blind law with "discrimination," as Sonia Sotomayor recently attempted in her dissent in the Schuette case. Watch as the Left seeks to marry "privilege" rhetoric to the "war on women" it claims the Right is waging by opposing abortion on demand.

Watch. Don't argue; Schlichter has the right of it. Simply have his or an equivalent dismissal prepared. And don't forget to laugh.

"The devil...the prowde spirit...cannot endure to be mocked." -- Thomas More

1 comment:

Weetabix said...

Idjit: "Check your privilege!"
Me: "Why, yes. I would like fries with that."