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Subject: Critique of Privilege rss

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Kelsey Rinella
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This post including an extended metaphor about privilege was posted approvingly elsewhere on BGG. It was a fairly clearly written, helpful post. I'll quote the metaphor for the convenience of those interested, but what I'm on about comes after:

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Imagine, if you will, a small house, built someplace cool-ish but not cold, perhaps somewhere in Ohio, and inhabited by a dog and a lizard. The dog is a big dog, something shaggy and nordic, like a Husky or Lapphund – a sled dog, built for the snow. The lizard is small, a little gecko best adapted to living in a muggy rainforest somewhere. Neither have ever lived anywhere else, nor met any other creature; for the purposes of this exercise, this small house is the entirety of their universe.

The dog, much as you might expect, turns on the air conditioning. Really cranks it up, all the time – this dog was bred for hunting moose on the tundra, even the winter here in Ohio is a little warm for his taste. If he can get the house to fifty (that’s ten C, for all you weirdo metric users out there), he’s almost happy.

The gecko can’t do much to control the temperature – she’s got tiny little fingers, she can’t really work the thermostat or turn the dials on the A/C. Sometimes, when there’s an incandescent light nearby, she can curl up near it and pick up some heat that way, but for the most part, most of the time, she just has to live with what the dog chooses. This is, of course, much too cold for her – she’s a gecko. Not only does she have no fur, she’s cold-blooded! The temperature makes her sluggish and sick, and it permeates her entire universe. Maybe here and there she can find small spaces of warmth, but if she ever wants to actually do anything, to eat or watch TV or talk to the dog, she has to move through the cold house.

Now, remember, she’s never known anything else. This is just how the world is – cold and painful and unhealthy for her, even dangerous, and she copes as she knows how. But maybe some small part of her thinks, “hey, it shouldn’t be like this,” some tiny growing seed of rebellion that says who she is right next to a lamp is who she should be all the time. And she and the dog are partners, in a sense, right? They live in this house together, they affect each other, all they’ve got is each other. So one day, she sees the dog messing with the A/C again, and she says, “hey. Dog. Listen, it makes me really cold when you do that.”

The dog kind of looks at her, and shrugs, and keeps turning the dial.

This is not because the dog is a jerk.

This is because the dog has no fucking clue what the lizard even just said.

Consider: he’s a nordic dog in a temperate climate. The word “cold” is completely meaningless to him. He’s never been cold in his entire life. He lives in an environment that is perfectly suited to him, completely aligned with his comfort level, a world he grew up with the tools to survive and control, built right in to the way he was born.

So the lizard tries to explain it to him. She says, “well, hey, how would you like it if I turned the temperature down on you?”

The dog goes, “uh… sounds good to me.”

What she really means, of course, is “how would you like it if I made you cold.” But she can’t make him cold. She doesn’t have the tools, or the power, their shared world is not built in a way that allows it – she simply is not physically capable of doing the same harm to him that he’s doing to her. She could make him feel pain, probably, I’m sure she could stab him with a toothpick or put something nasty in his food or something, but this specific form of pain, he will never, ever understand – it’s not something that can be inflicted on him, given the nature of the world they live in and the way it’s slanted in his favor in this instance. So he doesn’t get what she’s saying to him, and keeps hurting her.

Most privilege is like this.


The author then goes on to suggest that it is incumbent upon all of us to attend to claims of privilege. Where I run into problems is the standard by which such claims should be judged. Surely it's possible for some claims of privilege to be false (if it weren't, they would strictly speaking have no content). How can we tell?

Here's something which strikes me as a borderline case: I've seen another user (I forget where) indicate that women have vastly more varied sartorial options than men. If someone were to claim that women derive a privilege of self-expression from this which is largely invisible to them, I don't know whether that's true or false. If it's true, it's not clear to me what sorts of accommodations would be appropriate. A woman might respond that it's really not a big deal, most men don't report feeling that way, and women have to deal with more exacting standards than men as a result which places a substantial burden on their time or finances to meet. This seems like it could easily be either reasonable or selfishly narrow-minded, depending on whether they took the point seriously and entertained the possibility that it was accurate.

The upshot of my thinking on this is that it seems like the target of an accusation of privilege can legitimately critique that accusation so long as they don't get defensive. I'd like to think more about whether that's a reasonable standard and what it means for how we ought to behave, but I'll stop here for now to solicit your thoughts.
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Xander Fulton
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Well, it's definitely an interesting analogy, but...

...I'm not quite sure where to go with it. Maybe if you worked that five monkeys in a cage thing into it, you could go somewhere really interesting...?
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Isaac Citrom
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I think that sort of problem has already been addressed.




What are you getting at? That all of us ought to be perfectly equal, without the slightest privilege one over another? That's what life is all about in one aspect. The guy next door looks better in a suit than me. He'll likely have that over me in a job interview. How are you going to address that inequality, that privilege he has over me?

I'm smarter than some and dumber than others. Do we all need to dumb-down our vocabulary so nobody feels stupid. What's with using the word sartorial?!

There are a gagillion skills at which I'll never be as good as someone else. That's patently unfair.

There's a neat little film about that, Harrison Bergeron

"All men are not created equal. It is the purpose of the Government to make them so." This is the premise of the Showtime film adaption of Kurt Vonnegut's futuristic short story Harrison Bergeron. The film centers around a young man (Harrison) who is smarter than his peers, and is not affected by the usual "Handicapping" which is used to train all Americans so everyone is of equal intelligence.

The story is of a future America in which equality is achieved by discouraging exceptional talent or intelligence and creating forced mediocrity.
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Isaac, it seems like you're saying all inequality is innate and all attempts to address inequality must necessarily come at someone else's expense. Is that what you're saying?

Edit: I mean how does slavery fit into this amazing worldview? They had it coming and we can't stop now without hurting my cotton business?
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Kelsey Rinella
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isaacc wrote:

There's a neat little film about that, Harrison Bergeron


Now you're just baiting me, right?
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isaacc wrote:

I think that sort of problem has already been addressed.




What are you getting at? That all of us ought to be perfectly equal, without the slightest privilege one over another? That's what life is all about in one aspect. The guy next door looks better in a suit than me. He'll likely have that over me in a job interview. How are you going to address that inequality, that privilege he has over me?


Acknowledging privilege is not the same as demanding that everybody be identical or equal in every way. Refusing to acknowledge privilege, though, is a good way of perpetuating negative inequalities, simply because the people with privilege don't even know that they get an advantage from that inequality.

The guy next door may not have any idea that the fact that he looks better in a suit than you gives him a leg up in the job market. He may therefore assume that his ability to get a better job than you is obviously due to some flaw in your character. You're lazy, shiftless, otherwise undesirable. He may think that he is somehow a more worthwhile person than you are - it's obvious, isn't it? After all, employers are begging to hire him. He deserves the job; you don't deserve it.

Pointing out his privileged position doesn't mean he has to give you his suit or his job. But at least it might avoid those false assumptions and keep them from perpetuating.
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Phil Standen
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isaacc wrote:

I'm smarter than some and dumber than others. Do we all need to dumb-down our vocabulary so nobody feels stupid. What's with using the word sartorial?!


Here book with story in like what you say: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Incompetence-Gollancz-S-F-Rob-Grant/...

Actually it's a pretty good read, if you like Rob Grant (co-creator of Red Dwarf among other things) humor.

 
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Boaty McBoatface
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Removing privilege does not mean enforced sameness. It means removing unfair advantage. Anything that gives a person an extra advantage above and beyond their abilities is privilege, and is fundamentally unjust and unfair.

Someone’s position and prospects should (in a meritocracy) be based on merit alone. Anything that undermines that principle is non-meritus, and thus means you don't live in a meritocracy, you live is an Plutocracy.
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Phil Standen
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slatersteven wrote:
Removing privilege does not mean enforced sameness. It means removing unfair advantage. Anything that gives a person an extra advantage above and beyond their abilities is privilege, and is fundamentally unjust and unfair.

Someone’s position and prospects should (in a meritocracy) be based on merit alone. Anything that undermines that principle is non-meritus, and thus means you don't live in a meritocracy, you live is an Plutocracy.


What if your privilege provides you with a better chance of developing your abilities?

How do you decide what is ability and what is privilege?
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phil_standen wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Removing privilege does not mean enforced sameness. It means removing unfair advantage. Anything that gives a person an extra advantage above and beyond their abilities is privilege, and is fundamentally unjust and unfair.

Someone’s position and prospects should (in a meritocracy) be based on merit alone. Anything that undermines that principle is non-meritus, and thus means you don't live in a meritocracy, you live is an Plutocracy.


What if your privilege provides you with a better chance of developing your abilities?

How do you decide what is ability and what is privilege?


Simple, a privalidge is something that gioves you an advantage over someoone else with equal ability. Thus if you have someting that gives you an edge over someone else in developing an inate ability (such as being born to rich parents who can give you music leasons) that is an advantage.

 
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Phil Standen
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slatersteven wrote:
phil_standen wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Removing privilege does not mean enforced sameness. It means removing unfair advantage. Anything that gives a person an extra advantage above and beyond their abilities is privilege, and is fundamentally unjust and unfair.

Someone’s position and prospects should (in a meritocracy) be based on merit alone. Anything that undermines that principle is non-meritus, and thus means you don't live in a meritocracy, you live is an Plutocracy.


What if your privilege provides you with a better chance of developing your abilities?

How do you decide what is ability and what is privilege?


Simple, a privalidge is something that gioves you an advantage over someoone else with equal ability. Thus if you have someting that gives you an edge over someone else in developing an inate ability (such as being born to rich parents who can give you music leasons) that is an advantage.


Is everything is privilege then (better genes or better environment, both are bestowed)?

How do we differentiate?


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Boaty McBoatface
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phil_standen wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
phil_standen wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Removing privilege does not mean enforced sameness. It means removing unfair advantage. Anything that gives a person an extra advantage above and beyond their abilities is privilege, and is fundamentally unjust and unfair.

Someone’s position and prospects should (in a meritocracy) be based on merit alone. Anything that undermines that principle is non-meritus, and thus means you don't live in a meritocracy, you live is an Plutocracy.


What if your privilege provides you with a better chance of developing your abilities?

How do you decide what is ability and what is privilege?


Simple, a privalidge is something that gioves you an advantage over someone else with equal ability. Thus if you have someting that gives you an edge over someone else in developing an inate ability (such as being born to rich parents who can give you music leasons) that is an advantage.


Is everything is privilege then (better genes or better environment, both are bestowed)?

How do we differentiate?




Better genes would not eqaute to equal talent, by definition if you are better at someting because of inate ability that is not privalidge, its being better at it. I bleive I said that privalidge should only matter where people are of eqaul talent. For example, if I get a job over somene else becaseu of what school I attended (even thouogh our qualifications are eqaul) that is privalidge, If I get a job over someone else becasue I am more qualified that is not (certain enviromental factors asside, such as access to decent schools).
 
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phil_standen wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Removing privilege does not mean enforced sameness. It means removing unfair advantage. Anything that gives a person an extra advantage above and beyond their abilities is privilege, and is fundamentally unjust and unfair.

Someone’s position and prospects should (in a meritocracy) be based on merit alone. Anything that undermines that principle is non-meritus, and thus means you don't live in a meritocracy, you live is an Plutocracy.


What if your privilege provides you with a better chance of developing your abilities?

How do you decide what is ability and what is privilege?


For one thing, I have never seen a meritocracy in action, so I have no idea what one would look like. I don't think the privilege conversation is about eliminating privilege, but about recognizing it when it affects your life. I've posted that Sindeloke post here a couple times because I think it does an excellent job of capturing the idea.

As to Kelsey's question, I'm torn. On one hand, the negative reactions to the privilege conversation usually take one of three main tacks in my experience, and none is a valid critique. Isaac's Harrison Bergeron reference (we'll just pretend he didn't refer to the film over the story) is one, where people will clamor that enforced equality is terrible, the world has always been this way, change is impossible, etc. Another comes up when people are defensive about their own privilege and start rattling off anecdotes--"men can't be privileged because this one time I applied for a job and a woman got it!" The last (paging Dr. Tripp, Dr. D.W. Tripp) is the person who will say "yeah, maybe there used to be this kind of thing, but it doesn't exist anymore." This one is often combined with "I worked hard and pulled myself up by my bootstraps, anyone could do it, privilege has nothing to do with it."

My favorite quote on the subject is attributed to Barry Switzer. "Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple." It's hard to see the privilege in your own situation if you take it as an insult or think it denigrates your own hard work and achievements. I can understand and sympathize with that.

On the flip side, however, I think that the most valid criticism of an accusation of privilege is the obvious one: everyone benefits from privilege in some area, opening anyone who levels that accusation to a counter-accusation of hypocrisy. To this point, I find talking about privilege to be far more constructive in terms of groups than individuals. It's a vague pressure on society, not a specific and targeted problem. I don't buy that the only reason someone doesn't get a job or a date or accepted to the school they wanted is privilege. Sure, your race/looks/socioeconomic status/gender/sexual orientation might have had some small bearing on those situations, but they're usually not the sole reason.
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Phil Standen
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slatersteven wrote:
phil_standen wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
phil_standen wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Removing privilege does not mean enforced sameness. It means removing unfair advantage. Anything that gives a person an extra advantage above and beyond their abilities is privilege, and is fundamentally unjust and unfair.

Someone’s position and prospects should (in a meritocracy) be based on merit alone. Anything that undermines that principle is non-meritus, and thus means you don't live in a meritocracy, you live is an Plutocracy.


What if your privilege provides you with a better chance of developing your abilities?

How do you decide what is ability and what is privilege?


Simple, a privalidge is something that gioves you an advantage over someone else with equal ability. Thus if you have someting that gives you an edge over someone else in developing an inate ability (such as being born to rich parents who can give you music leasons) that is an advantage.


Is everything is privilege then (better genes or better environment, both are bestowed)?

How do we differentiate?




Better genes would not eqaute to equal talent, by definition if you are better at someting because of inate ability that is not privalidge, its being better at it. I bleive I said that privalidge should only matter where people are of eqaul talent. For example, if I get a job over somene else becaseu of what school I attended (even thouogh our qualifications are eqaul) that is privalidge, If I get a job over someone else becasue I am more qualified that is not (certain enviromental factors asside, such as access to decent schools).


What if you attended that different school because your feeder school grades were better? Is that meritocratic? It's exactly the same criteria for choosing you (assuming the assessor was blind to the reason you went to the better school). If everything else was equal this seems to be an acceptable way of choosing preference (it could equally be, i want someone that is less likely to think like me so i'll pick someone from a different school).

When do you trace it back to merit and when do you attribute it to privilege?

Why are you allowing genes to be exempt from privilege considerations? You have better genes because your parents were successful (or lucky, whatever), not because of anything you have done to earn them.

For the example of you having a better qualification, you can't exclude all environmental factors. Since they probably make up the majority of the things that allow you to gain that qualification. I would argue that they are also a privilege, lets say compared to the daughter of a hibiscus farmer in Egypt.

I understand what you are saying intuitively, but much like the dog in the OPs story it is hard to not include lots of privilege in our outlook.
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djgutierrez77 wrote:

For one thing, I have never seen a meritocracy in action, so I have no idea what one would look like. I don't think the privilege conversation is about eliminating privilege, but about recognizing it when it affects your life. I've posted that Sindeloke post here a couple times because I think it does an excellent job of capturing the idea.



Sure, your race/looks/socioeconomic status/gender/sexual orientation might have had some small bearing on those situations, but they're usually not the sole reason.


I have never seen a (thing that is not real but imaginable e.g. enjoyable game of monopoly) but I could have an idea about what it might look like.

I think eliminating privilege is futile and a horrid idea, many people strive to give their kids a better life.

To the last point, I think that the combined effect of all those factors (and some others) probably make up the largest influence on your life.
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phil_standen wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
phil_standen wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
phil_standen wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Removing privilege does not mean enforced sameness. It means removing unfair advantage. Anything that gives a person an extra advantage above and beyond their abilities is privilege, and is fundamentally unjust and unfair.

Someone’s position and prospects should (in a meritocracy) be based on merit alone. Anything that undermines that principle is non-meritus, and thus means you don't live in a meritocracy, you live is an Plutocracy.


What if your privilege provides you with a better chance of developing your abilities?

How do you decide what is ability and what is privilege?


Simple, a privalidge is something that gioves you an advantage over someone else with equal ability. Thus if you have someting that gives you an edge over someone else in developing an inate ability (such as being born to rich parents who can give you music leasons) that is an advantage.


Is everything is privilege then (better genes or better environment, both are bestowed)?

How do we differentiate?




Better genes would not eqaute to equal talent, by definition if you are better at someting because of inate ability that is not privalidge, its being better at it. I bleive I said that privalidge should only matter where people are of eqaul talent. For example, if I get a job over somene else becaseu of what school I attended (even thouogh our qualifications are eqaul) that is privalidge, If I get a job over someone else becasue I am more qualified that is not (certain enviromental factors asside, such as access to decent schools).


What if you attended that different school because your feeder school grades were better? Is that meritocratic? It's exactly the same criteria for choosing you (assuming the assessor was blind to the reason you went to the better school). If everything else was equal this seems to be an acceptable way of choosing preference (it could equally be, i want someone that is less likely to think like me so i'll pick someone from a different school).


Then that is not privalidge, its merit. The issue is the idea that a given school is better then the grade you achive at school, that is privlige, if the determinieer of attendacne is wealth (for example).

Quote:
When do you trace it back to merit and when do you attribute it to privilege?


Simple, if you achive it by your own efforts its merit, if there are any otehr fators that have nothing to do with your own abilites that is privalidge.

Quote:
Why are you allowing genes to be exempt from privilege considerations? You have better genes because your parents were successful (or lucky, whatever), not because of anything you have done to earn them.


But they ae still inate to you. Any one can benifit from genes (its the luck of the draw), not eveeryone can pay to attened an expensive public school.

Quote:
For the example of you having a better qualification, you can't exclude all environmental factors. Since they probably make up the majority of the things that allow you to gain that qualification. I would argue that they are also a privilege, lets say compared to the daughter of a hibiscus farmer in Egypt.

I understand what you are saying intuitively, but much like the dog in the OPs story it is hard to not include lots of privilege in our outlook.


True, but we can go some way to address some of the advantags of privalidge, others are much harder (if not imposible).

 
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isaacc wrote:

I think that sort of problem has already been addressed.




What are you getting at? That all of us ought to be perfectly equal, without the slightest privilege one over another? That's what life is all about in one aspect. The guy next door looks better in a suit than me. He'll likely have that over me in a job interview. How are you going to address that inequality, that privilege he has over me?

I'm smarter than some and dumber than others. Do we all need to dumb-down our vocabulary so nobody feels stupid. What's with using the word sartorial?!


Where does this reaction come from? This is hardly unusual -- an OP raises an interesting question about an aspect of the human condition and one of our resident conservatives reads, "I want the government to step in and create a utopia in which no one is happy or free, ALL HAIL UTOPIA!!!"

I mean, what the fuck? Privilege is part of life. The OP doesn't say that it should be done away with or even that it could. It says (or, rather, says that the OOP says) that we should "attend" to claims of privilege. It says that the nature of privilege is such that we may be unaware of it or of the consequences for those who don't have it. No one is talking about drugging smart people so dumb people don't feel bad.
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So, I read through the thread thus far attentively and I think I understand what you guys are saying. I think you are saying that, in a perfect world, all expressions of privilege would be stamped out. Like any conservative, on any issue, I don't disagree in principle with that laudable goal.

I'm saying that privilege is the end result, the reward, perhaps not always, of merit. And merit, I define not only as inate ability but also and very importantly, good decision-making. Furthermore, I know in advance that that idea to progressives is horrid, i.e. the idea of having to live with the consequnces of bad decisions.

Take as an example, a man who barely finished grade 8 of high school but new enough to put his children into private school. As he couldn't afford it, he managed scholarships for them. That in itself based on privilege. He worked hard to take care of life's expenses, and the end result was children with good educations who stood privileged face-to-face with other people who did not so organzie and prioritize their lives.

I'm seeing Phil's points all down the line. How does one differentiate between so-called privilege and so-called merit.

And, my facetious illustration of autocratic communism is not entirely so. What I see is the path wherein merit is diluted so that nobody gets offended.

Clothing needs to be more androgynous so that women do not feel offended. High School classrooms have to be slowed down with the inclusion of intellectually disabled children, so that those children don't feel excluded. Advanced classes are cancelled so that the less "studious" kids don't feel offended by not being invited to those classes. Exams are modified so that those regularly doing poorly on them will do better in the future, and not feel offended. And, so on.

This notion of offence seems to be tied into privilege as indicated by the OP.

I strive to improve my position in life and earn privilege. Likewise, parents worldwide do the same to earn privilege for their children.

This notion of an entirely privilegeless society seems to me to be exactly that autocratic distopia of mediocrity, wherein, most importantly, nobody is offended by others' merit.

I'll note as an aside, affimitive action.

I'll also note the loose moral centre for what constitutes privilege. Some comments are expressions of male privilege. Swearing like a drunken sailor, apparently is yet another human right. After all, it's all about freedom of speech, of course except when it's not. That you and your family's decisions made one's advancement difficult is an example of lack of privilege. That one over-eats, for example, and becomes obese, well too bad for you that's not on the PC-list.
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isaacc wrote:

So, I read through the thread thus far attentively and I think I understand what you guys are saying. I think you are saying that, in a perfect world, all expressions of privilege would be stamped out. Like any conservative, on any issue, I don't disagree in principle with that laudable goal.

I'm saying that privilege is the end result, the reward, perhaps not always, of merit. And merit, I define not only as inate ability but also and very importantly, good decision-making. Furthermore, I know in advance that that idea to progressives is horrid, i.e. the idea of having to live with the consequnces of bad decisions.

Take as an example, a man who barely finished grade 8 of high school but new enough to put his children into private school. As he couldn't afford it, he managed scholarships for them. That in itself based on privilege. He worked hard to take care of life's expenses, and the end result was children with good educations who stood privileged face-to-face with other people who did not so organzie and prioritize their lives.

I'm seeing Phil's points all down the line. How does one differentiate between so-called privilege and so-called merit.

And, my facetious illustration of autocratic communism is not entirely so. What I see is the path wherein merit is diluted so that nobody gets offended.

Clothing needs to be more androgynous so that women do not feel offended. High School classrooms have to be slowed down with the inclusion of intellectually disabled children, so that those children don't feel excluded. Advanced classes are cancelled so that the less "studious" kids don't feel offended by not being invited to those classes. Exams are modified so that those regularly doing poorly on them will do better in the future, and not feel offended. And, so on.

This notion of offence seems to be tied into privilege as indicated by the OP.

I strive to improve my position in life and earn privilege. Likewise, parents worldwide do the same to earn privilege for their children.

This notion of an entirely privilegeless society seems to me to be exactly that autocratic distopia of mediocrity, wherein, most importantly, nobody is offended by others' merit.

I'll note as an aside, affimitive action.

I'll also note the loose moral centre for what constitutes privilege. Some comments are expressions of male privilege. Swearing like a drunken sailor, apparently is yet another human right. After all, it's all about freedom of speech, of course except when it's not. That you and your family's decisions made one's advancement difficult is an example of lack of privilege. That one over-eats, for example, and becomes obese, well too bad for you that's not on the PC-list.
.


Sorry that has sod all to do with the removal of privlaidge. The removal of provalidge is not about making the unequal equal, its about enablaing those of equal talent to compete in a level playing field. it has nothing to do with lowering standerds to the lowest, but enablaing all children to achive thier best potential.
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Isaac Citrom
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slatersteven wrote:
isaacc wrote:

...


Sorry that has sod all to do with the removal of privlaidge. The removal of provalidge is not about making the unequal equal, its about enablaing those of equal talent to compete in a level playing field. it has nothing to do with lowering standerds to the lowest, but enablaing all children to achive thier best potential.


Would you clarify. For example, the intellectually challenged vs. normal kids. What is, if any, the privilege context there?
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isaacc wrote:

I'm saying that privilege is the end result, the reward, perhaps not always, of merit. And merit, I define not only as inate ability but also and very importantly, good decision-making. Furthermore, I know in advance that that idea to progressives is horrid, i.e. the idea of having to live with the consequnces of bad decisions.


I would say you're very mistaken in the above assertion. I don't have any problem with asking people to live with the consequences of their bad decisions. I certainly can't speak for all progressives, but I think there's a difference between saying "you got knocked up at 16, tough luck for you, your life is going to suck and it's your own damn fault" and saying "you got knocked up at 16, and that was obviously a mistake. Your life is going to be really hard no matter what we do, but if society can find ways to make it a little bit easier for you so you don't become just another drain on the system, we should do that."

In my mind the difference between the hard-line conservative and the hard-line progressive (if you can say progressives draw a hard-line on anything, which is debatable) is how we perceive ourselves in relation to others. The crux of the conservative mindset as I understand it is "no one helped me, why should anyone else get any help?" The crux of the progressive mindset is "no one helped me, but man it would have been nice if someone had, I wonder if I can make that better for someone else?"

Some of it is a difference in what we perceive as consequences. Take a hardcore drug addict or alcoholic. You might think that offering some state assistance for rehabilitation and the like is absolving them of their bad decisions and protecting them from consequences. To me there will be plenty of consequences for that person even if they get sober. Helping them get there isn't condoning their earlier mistakes, it's preventing those mistakes from completely defining their life in a negative way. They still have to do the work to get sober. They will still live with the stigma of being an addict. It's just the difference between abandoning a fellow human to the worst consequences of their actions or helping get that person back on track.

Quote:
Take as an example, a man who barely finished grade 8 of high school but new enough to put his children into private school. As he couldn't afford it, he managed scholarships for them. That in itself based on privilege. He worked hard to take care of life's expenses, and the end result was children with good educations who stood privileged face-to-face with other people who did not so organzie and prioritize their lives.


I think your example is a prime example of someone overcoming their original disadvantages in privilege and making a better life for their kids. I think that's laudable, and sort of the whole point.

Quote:
I'm seeing Phil's points all down the line. How does one differentiate between so-called privilege and so-called merit.


I don't see why you have to, other than for yourself. The idea of being aware of your own privilege is not to denigrate your merits, but just to recognize where you had some advantages that weren't all your own doing. I see privilege as being closely tied to gratitude--what some Christians would call "by the grace of God." In your example above, that guy's children should recognize that their own privilege is the result of their father's hard work and commitment to making their lives better than his own. If they do, they might see reflections of that behavior in people around them and try to help those people overcome their own lack of privilege.

Quote:
Clothing needs to be more androgynous so that women do not feel offended. High School classrooms have to be slowed down with the inclusion of intellectually disabled children, so that those children don't feel excluded. Advanced classes are cancelled so that the less "studious" kids don't feel offended by not being invited to those classes. Exams are modified so that those regularly doing poorly on them will do better in the future, and not feel offended. And, so on.


I agree with you that all these ideas are ridiculous. I've also never heard any of these things championed by anyone but fringe nutjobs. What makes you think anyone here would support those ideas?
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isaacc wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
isaacc wrote:

...


Sorry that has sod all to do with the removal of privlaidge. The removal of provalidge is not about making the unequal equal, its about enablaing those of equal talent to compete in a level playing field. it has nothing to do with lowering standerds to the lowest, but enablaing all children to achive thier best potential.


Would you clarify. For example, the intellectually challenged vs. normal kids. What is, if any, the privilege context there?
.


If I think I know what you mean I have answerd that, but I shall repeat it. Inate ability is not privalidge, privalidge is where two people with the same ability have different degrees of success because of social factors not of their making.
 
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isaacc wrote:

So, I read through the thread thus far attentively and I think I understand what you guys are saying. I think you are saying that, in a perfect world, all expressions of privilege would be stamped out.


This continues another pattern -- one where you think you know what liberals think and what you think they think is about a million miles from what most of us actually think.

For example, Dan explicitly stated that acknowledging privilege doesn't mean stamping it out -- that being aware of it is useful on its own and may lead to better outcomes. He got 17 thumbs, which I think most people would take as a general endorsement of his post from "us guys".

Dave says, "I don't think the privilege conversation is about eliminating privilege, but about recognizing it when it affects your life." He mentions the saying that some people are born on third base and spend their lives thinking they hit a triple. Again, this isn't saying that someone born lucky should be penalized in the name of equity but rather than having a clue about how lucky we are is a good thing.

Phil calls eliminating privilege "a futile and horrible idea," pointing out that parents all want to give their kids a better life.

Now, granted, Slater does seem to be along the lines of "all privilege is unfair and should be done away with camp". But even he agrees that it can't be done away with and that at most we should work towards minimizing it. (If I've understood him.)

So of the four people making up the bulk of the conversation after the OP, at most one is anywhere near saying what you seem to think they are all saying. So, once again, where does that reaction come from?
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
isaacc wrote:

So, I read through the thread thus far attentively and I think I understand what you guys are saying. I think you are saying that, in a perfect world, all expressions of privilege would be stamped out.


This continues another pattern -- one where you think you know what liberals think and what you think they think is about a million miles from what most of us actually think.

For example, Dan explicitly stated that acknowledging privilege doesn't mean stamping it out -- that being aware of it is useful on its own and may lead to better outcomes. He got 17 thumbs, which I think most people would take as a general endorsement of his post from "us guys".

Dave says, "I don't think the privilege conversation is about eliminating privilege, but about recognizing it when it affects your life." He mentions the saying that some people are born on third base and spend their lives thinking they hit a triple. Again, this isn't saying that someone born lucky should be penalized in the name of equity but rather than having a clue about how lucky we are is a good thing.

Phil calls eliminating privilege "a futile and horrible idea," pointing out that parents all want to give their kids a better life.

Now, granted, Slater does seem to be along the lines of "all privilege is unfair and should be done away with camp". But even he agrees that it can't be done away with and that at most we should work towards minimizing it. (If I've understood him.)


Yes you do .

Quote:
So of the four people making up the bulk of the conversation after the OP, at most one is anywhere near saying what you seem to think they are all saying. So, once again, where does that reaction come from?
 
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slatersteven wrote:
isaacc wrote:

So, I read through the thread thus far attentively and I think I understand what you guys are saying. I think you are saying that, in a perfect world, all expressions of privilege would be stamped out. Like any conservative, on any issue, I don't disagree in principle with that laudable goal.

I'm saying that privilege is the end result, the reward, perhaps not always, of merit. And merit, I define not only as inate ability but also and very importantly, good decision-making. Furthermore, I know in advance that that idea to progressives is horrid, i.e. the idea of having to live with the consequnces of bad decisions.

Take as an example, a man who barely finished grade 8 of high school but new enough to put his children into private school. As he couldn't afford it, he managed scholarships for them. That in itself based on privilege. He worked hard to take care of life's expenses, and the end result was children with good educations who stood privileged face-to-face with other people who did not so organzie and prioritize their lives.

I'm seeing Phil's points all down the line. How does one differentiate between so-called privilege and so-called merit.

And, my facetious illustration of autocratic communism is not entirely so. What I see is the path wherein merit is diluted so that nobody gets offended.

Clothing needs to be more androgynous so that women do not feel offended. High School classrooms have to be slowed down with the inclusion of intellectually disabled children, so that those children don't feel excluded. Advanced classes are cancelled so that the less "studious" kids don't feel offended by not being invited to those classes. Exams are modified so that those regularly doing poorly on them will do better in the future, and not feel offended. And, so on.

This notion of offence seems to be tied into privilege as indicated by the OP.

I strive to improve my position in life and earn privilege. Likewise, parents worldwide do the same to earn privilege for their children.

This notion of an entirely privilegeless society seems to me to be exactly that autocratic distopia of mediocrity, wherein, most importantly, nobody is offended by others' merit.

I'll note as an aside, affimitive action.

I'll also note the loose moral centre for what constitutes privilege. Some comments are expressions of male privilege. Swearing like a drunken sailor, apparently is yet another human right. After all, it's all about freedom of speech, of course except when it's not. That you and your family's decisions made one's advancement difficult is an example of lack of privilege. That one over-eats, for example, and becomes obese, well too bad for you that's not on the PC-list.
.


Sorry that has sod all to do with the removal of privlaidge. The removal of provalidge is not about making the unequal equal, its about enablaing those of equal talent to compete in a level playing field. it has nothing to do with lowering standerds to the lowest, but enablaing all children to achive thier best potential.


Privilege is placing the thermostat so that only the dog can reach it and making the range of temperatures from 32 degrees to 68 degrees so even if the clever gecko figures out a way to reach it, they still can't set a reasonable temperature.

Equality is about a fair compromise between the extremes.
Either the dog suffers some, the gecko suffers some, or both are not completely happy all the time.
 
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