Check Your Privilege: Inviting the State to Foment Collectivist Envy


Many progressives are at the forefront of collectivism, the disgusting habit of putting people down according to arbitrary physical characteristics. After discriminating against African-Americans with Jim Crow laws and interning Japanese-Americans during World War II, these pseudo-intellectuals are now directing their venom towards the world’s supposedly most oppressive group: white males.

The expression “check your privilege” has been tossed around for some time now. Those that repeat it usually mean that being white (and mostly male) gives one an incredible advantage over everyone else. In other words, because the genetic lottery gave me XY chromosomes and a fair skin, I should feel ashamed and repent in some way.

I refuse to bow down to such collectivist thinking. Since I am not part of a privileged caste artificially favored by government, everything I have achieved has been through my own efforts — through trial and error — and by using my own intellect. True, I did go to college, but that’s because my father valued education. A recent survey suggests that ethnic minorities as a whole also value education quite a lot, even much more than white people.

Unfortunately, many of them will not be able to afford higher education because of the way government artificially encourages people to go to college. As a result, tuition has been exploding. If President Obama really does want more people to get degrees (assuming it’s a necessity, which is uncertain), then he needs to stop federal aid at once, and let market forces decide how many college graduates we need.

It is also true that I have never had a bad interaction with the police, unlike many African-Americans and Hispanics. Once again, however, state overreach can be blamed for this phenomenon. The war on drugs is the perfect illustration of such distortion. Because of the state’s high mandatory minimum sentences for drug possession, there are more African-Americans in jail now then there were slaves in 1850. Stopping this nonsensical war, as President Obama and Congress claim to want to do, would be a great first step toward ending the institutionalized racism that survives in this country.

Even if the war on drugs were to come to an end, however, progressives would still complain that I don’t suffer from being discriminated against when searching for lodging or employment. This too is a false argument. As long as the lodging or employment is private, people can whatever they want with their private property, so long as they don’t infringe others. With regard to housing, forcing people to give, sell, or loan their property can give rise to the sort of bubble that popped in 2008. It’s not only economically inefficient, it’s highly altruistic.

Second, if I am turned away for lodging or employment, then the supposedly racist party is now worse off. They have missed an excellent opportunity for business. That my sex or skin tone was an influence in the decision is of no importance; I can look elsewhere. It’s not the government’s job to determine who should hire whom, lest we want a society like the one depicted in Ayn Rand’s Anthem, where government officials decide where one must work.

If progressives are really all about equality, why don’t they advocate having more men in nursing, K-12 teaching, hairdressing, cosmetic care, and many other fields that are dominated by females. Why not push for more white men in professional sports?

As you can see, white privilege is a rather hollow expression. People uttering it want to distract us from the real cause of latent racism and discrimination: state intervention. If the state had never implemented such poor policies, systematic racism would be minimal in the free market, since it is in everyone’s own selfish interest to do business with others. If a business refuses to deal with a same-sex couple, for example, then this should be exposed and peacefully boycotted. However, the government has no right to coerce anyone into getting along with others. The free market provides all the incentives necessary for people to voluntarily do so.

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