The Left’s New Censorship of Free Speech: “Check Your Privilege”
Before you read and critique this article, you need to “check your privilege” – the left’s latest phrase to silence free speech from conservatives, a silly sounding but totalitarian new phrase. The reasoning behind the phrase goes like this: if someone is conservative, they must have turned out conservative because they were given advantages in society, likely related to their birth, and they now want to protect those alleged advantages. Since white males tend to be more conservative than other demographics, it follows that white males must be privileged. Their conservative views are motivated by an innate, self-protective selfishness.
As typical, instead of debating conservatives on the merits, the left is responding with an attempt to silence conservatives using a ridiculous response. This type of argument is flawed because it essentially reduces people to their physical characteristics. The left claims that the phrase is directed mostly at white men, in order to fool people and gain sympathy, but the phrase actually developed out of hate and is being used to target all conservatives. It’s meant to make the recipient feel guilty for being white or not gay or something else not closely associated with left wing views. Unbelievably, MSNBC co-host Krystal Ball: asserts: that the failure by these supposedly privileged people to acknowledge the sins of past generations of Americans – to whom they’re probably not even related – is considered offensive to others.
Conservative columnist Kurt Schlichter: says: the phrase reflects simply what normal people refer to as “success.” He says what the left considers privilege, is simply “a result of not being a human sloth, of not doing drugs, of not having kids we can’t afford them…doing more with our lives than waiting for Uncle Sucker to refill our EBT cards.” The phrase is not really about privilege, but a reflection of anger and jealousy.
What about the poor white kid who grew up in a predominantly minority school, where he was picked on because he was white? Is he supposed to check his privilege? What about the handicapped white person, who perhaps has lived their entire life in a wheelchair or blind? Is a white person whose ancestors never owned slaves more privileged than a black person’s ancestors who owned slaves? One white Princeton student who has had others tell him to check his privilege multiple times,: wonders: how he’s privileged considering many of his relatives died in the Holocaust. Incredulously, after he spoke out, Gawker and Newsweek actually: launched: investigations to see how he was funded and published.
Most of the leftists hurling this phrase around are white well-off hippies and Occupy Wall Street types attending Ivy League universities. The irony of them saying this to a blue-collar white male whose family has never made it to college is priceless. Buzzfeed created a “How privileged are you?”: quiz- but a white male from a poor upbringing can easily score less privileged than a gay minority female.
The reality is, a lack of advantages growing up can actually motivate people to do better in life, as Malcolm Gladwell reveals in his book, “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Battling Giants.” Some of the most disadvantaged people have become some of the most successful people, as a result of being forced to rise beyond their upbringing. Contrast this with the downward spiral of most glamorous, famous Hollywood child stars.
Another attempt to squelch conservative free speech is the so-called “trigger warnings.” Trigger warnings mostly come down to this: If someone might find something offensive – such as something judgmental about their lifestyle in a well-respected book from classical literature – they need to be forewarned about it, in order to not have to confront the offending words. Now, warning veterans with PTSD about a graphic combat scene in a novel might be legitimate, but the exercise has been stretched to shut out conservative viewpoints and literature, especially in academia.
This silly “privilege” put-down phrase is so rude the possible responses to it are endless. Schlichter said he’s checked his privilege, and it’s doing just fine. Perhaps tell the politically correct person to read Gladwell’s David and Goliath book. Or, tell them to check one of these: their totalitarian mindset, the First Amendment, their inferiority complex, dirty rotten attitude, jealousy, envy, manners, intelligence, racist attitude, mental illness, commie credentials, embarrassing attitude, or wussiness.
The truth is, the left prefers low-achieving people because they can control them as “useful idiots.” The left would rather keep minorities working at fast food restaurants for inflated wages because that ensures they are less educated and more likely to vote for them. The left loves to use emotionally-laden rhetoric to win people over, since the facts aren’t on their side. But this phrase was poorly chosen, and within a short period of time, if conservatives make fun of it enough, it will disappear just like many of the left’s former rallying calls, from “global warming” (now “climate change”) to homophobia (now “hate crime”) to the Equal Rights Amendment (now “War on Women”) to even their self-description which used to be “the left” (now “progressives”).
Rachel Alexander is a Senior Editor at The Stream and Editor of Intellectual Conservative. She writes for Townhall, the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research, the Christian Post, weekend news items for Right Wing News and occasionally for the UK Guardian. She is a recovering attorney and former gun magazine editor. In 2011-2013, she was listed as one of the 50 Best Conservative Columnists by Right Wing News.
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