Sunday, January 11, 2009

On Privilege

A commenter at The Apostate remarks:
My OPINION…I am not trained in sociology or psychology…and speaking from the point of view of a once-married gay man: is that straight guys revel in their privilege. Most of them don’t realize the shear amount of bennies they get for just being born heterosexual with a penis. They just go along with it as ‘how things are’.

As they age quite a few realize that they’ve had it good and some change for the better, but most will begin to defend their privilege and refuse to acknowledge that the deference they expect isn’t earned and is a sort of cultural mistake.

I'm a straight, white, christian (well, christian-appearing) man, and trust me: we don't receive "deference". What we do get is that — unlike non-straight, non-white, non-christian people and women — we're not routinely and constantly fucked over just because we're non-straight, etc. It's clearly wrong to fuck people over just because of their looks, sex or sexuality, but it's not like we SWCM are handed a free pass in life just because we're white, etc. Most of us are routinely and constantly fucked over because the capitalist system routinely fucks most people over on general principles.

Of course, it's really important to remember that members of hyper-oppressed groups are in fact hyper-oppressed. A far larger proportion of black people, for example, live in poverty because in addition to fucking most people over on general principles, the American capitalist system fucks black people over more and has been fucking them over more for centuries. The same is true for women, gay people and members of other racial/cultural minorities.

The difference is subtle but important: with regard to all discrimination, including race, sex and sexual-orientation, the point is not to take away some "undeserved" privilege from SWCM, but to extend the freedom from hyper-oppression and hyper-exploitation to everyone.

It's also important that the capitalist system requires that some group be hyper-exploited. Ideally (according to capitalist ideals) everyone should be hyper-exploited, but that's usually not politically and socially viable. But someone needs to clean the toilets and change the diapers and it's a lot easier to find some marginal group and oppressively push them to the bottom so that cleaning toilets for subsistence wages is a matter of economic necessity to this group. Capitalists will resist civil rights with every weapon at their disposal. And at best when one group receives equal status under capitalism, the capitalists will simply find another group — such as immigrants — to hyper-exploit.

Because only a small number of people can rise to the capital-owning class — and only a slightly larger number can rise to the labor aristocracy — equal status under capitalism still means that most members of presently marginalized groups will still be fucked over, but they'll be fucked over on general principles rather than because they are in a formerly marginalize group. This is an improvement, of course, but we can set our bar higher: no one should by oppressed and hyper-exploited.

Under capitalism, members of marginalized groups will never be "one of us" to the capital-owning class or the labor aristocracy. Only a select few will even be granted some capitalist privilege. And equal entry into the upper and middle classes just dooms some other group to exclusion and marginalization.

Communism, on the other hand, is much better.

First, communists — at least this communist — would use the brute force of state power to not only prohibit all discrimination but also to correct the effects of centuries or millennia of discrimination and oppression. No bullshit, no equivocation: equal rights for all and affirmative action where necessary shoved down the throats of the bigots without apology and without compromise.

Second, by eliminating class distinctions, communism eliminates the necessity of oppressing any group in order to hyper-exploit them and give them the (literally) shit jobs.

If what you want is to break into the small fraction of people that have capitalist privilege, standing on the necks of your brothers and sisters who don't have the wherewithal to break in, then, by all means, satisfy yourself with reforming capitalism. If what you want is just to say, "Hey, I personally am being exploited, but it's nice to know that someone else who looks like me can break through," well, I'm sorry to say you're an idiot.

If, however, you want equal rights for everyone and freedom from exploitation from everyone, make common cause with the communists.


  1. Holy Shit, you sound like a Fundy, the difference is your faith is Communism. Talk about ridiculous Ideology. But hey, at least were equal.

  2. [Y]ou sound like a Fundy. But you still sound like a retard. At least you're consistent.

    But hey, at least were equal.

    Hardly. My head is not firmly lodged up my ass, and I'm much smarter than you are. The latter is not a brag: my cat is smarter than you are.

  3. It's interesting, Tit for Tat: You've been around a while, and I've been writing about communism for quite some time.

    It's clear that you are roused to insult only when I mention the implacable hostility of communism to race, sex and sexual orientation discrimination. The only plausible conclusion to calling such a position ridiculous and fundamentalist is that you yourself are a racist, a sexist, and homophobe.

  4. BB

    LOL........You probably are more well read than I. The thing is, really smart people Live what they believe. Hmmmm a communist living in the most capitalist nation in the world, how smart is that?

  5. I was born here, it's my home. I have just as much right to try to peacefully transform the US into a communist country as you do to try to turn it into a repressive theocracy where women are subjugated, blacks are enslaved and gay people stoned to death.

  6. First, communists — at least this communist — would use the brute force of state power to not only prohibit all discrimination(BB)

    Really this does not sound very peaceful,but then again, Im not as smart as you are so what would I know.

  7. Im not as smart as you are so what would I know.

    No, you're not as smart as me; in fact you really are a complete fucking retard. The transformation should be peaceful; the use of state power is never peaceful. I advocate using the same force to suppress acts of discrimination that we presently use to suppress murder, rape and other criminal acts.

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. Censorship entails the suppression of an idea. If you ever had an idea, T4T, it died of loneliness.

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. The problem, Tit, is that you don't have any actual ideas to censor. A trained chimpanzee could contribute more intellectual content to this blog.

    You're just a retard with a keyboard. You're a waste of my time, energy, bandwidth and database space.

    Now go away or I will taunt you a second time.

  13. Barefoot: Americans are not even capitalists nor socialists. Most US citizens are like Morrisey (The alternative-rock musician) i mean he is a-sexual, he doesn't like women nor men. So most americans are like Morrisey but politically (Political-apathetic) with no class-conscious, family-conscience, national-conscience, and world-conscience. All americans care about is a car with cheap gas because of oil stolen from Middle East, cheap foods loaded with carbohydrates, and cheap beer, cheap coffee and generic cigarettes.

    Most americans are very confomists, people in this country don't care if they cannot have access to good state or subsidized university degrees, dental services, eye care and health services.

    All americans care about is eating, and nothing else. And because the capitalist system is so *bad* at providing people with College-education and health-education, but it's so *good* at providing the general population with cheap pancakes, cheap white bread, oreo cookies, cheap fig-bars, cheap burgers and frozen pizzas, the general american working population won't revolt.

    Because people in this country don't have aristocratic ideals really. We know that capitalism turns people into maggots and slaves, not into elites, important individuals. Only a glorified socialist system can elevate americans to important individuals with Philosophy, Law, Engeenering possitions.

    And even the dirty jobs such as floor cleaning, cooking, etc. could be raised to a *professional status* under a glorified aristocratic socialist system in which a philosopher, could work some hours cleaning bathrooms as part time.

    But as long as americans don't demand Philosophy, Law, Medical, Engeneering degrees, and subsidized health services. And nationalized US industries under state-ownership and workers-ownership, in which the wealth would automatically trickle down to each US citizen this country will continue to be ruled by the Democrats and the Republicans who are both capitalist parties governing the USA with a capitalist neoliberal model.

    Because US workers are not demanding more wealth from life, but only food.

    In other words: American workers are content and happy without health, without college, just with food.


  14. the problem with socialism is that i don't know what would happen to the Rockefeller family

  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  16. Tit for Tat: What part of "Go away" did you not understand?

  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Please pick a handle or moniker for your comment. It's much easier to address someone by a name or pseudonym than simply "hey you". I have the option of requiring a "hard" identity, but I don't want to turn that on... yet.

With few exceptions, I will not respond or reply to anonymous comments, and I may delete them. I keep a copy of all comments; if you want the text of your comment to repost with something vaguely resembling an identity, email me.

No spam, pr0n, commercial advertising, insanity, lies, repetition or off-topic comments. Creationists, Global Warming deniers, anti-vaxers, Randians, and Libertarians are automatically presumed to be idiots; Christians and Muslims might get the benefit of the doubt, if I'm in a good mood.

See the Debate Flowchart for some basic rules.

Sourced factual corrections are always published and acknowledged.

I will respond or not respond to comments as the mood takes me. See my latest comment policy for details. I am not a pseudonomous-American: my real name is Larry.

Comments may be moderated from time to time. When I do moderate comments, anonymous comments are far more likely to be rejected.

I've already answered some typical comments.

I have jqMath enabled for the blog. If you have a dollar sign (\$) in your comment, put a \\ in front of it: \\\$, unless you want to include a formula in your comment.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.