White Male Privilege and Placebo Politics

Placebo Politics creates the illusion that social ills are being cured when, in reality, no remedy has actually been administered. Common examples of Placebo Politics are:

  • The push, by Muslims in the United Nations -- and their apologists, elsewhere -- to outlaw criticism of religion.
  • The spread, in Europe, of multiculturalism (as opposed to pluralism) as a means to accommodate minority groups (namely, Muslims).
  • Social and political pressure to teach Intelligent Design alongside biology.
  • Affirmative Action and its insidious replacement, the social doctrine of White Male Privilege.

Muslims have inverted (in)tolerance, turning it on its head, and their Western apologists are stumbling all over themselves to help by limiting our freedom of speech. The same apologists bend over backwards to accommodate Muslim immigrants who won't reciprocate by accommodating their host countries. In mindless orgies of political correctitude, these countries go so far as to allow Sharia Law within their Muslim communities. Here, in the U.S., the public is so afraid of offending fundamentalist Christians that we're in danger of allowing them to teach bogus science in our public schools. And, finally, the main thrust of this post: the self-flagellating guilt-trip known as "White Male Privilege" (which replaces the old self-flagellating guilt-trip known as Affirmative Action).

Affirmative Action represents decades of faulty policy that mistook equal opportunity for equal results. The Supreme Court has finally recognized this fact and has struck down "discriminatory affirmative action" (i.e. affirmative action with potential for reverse discrimination).

We have plenty of laws to protect the interests of minorities. This does not mean that all groups will eventually compete and win equally or proportionately. For instance, Jews are ridiculously over-represented in Nobel prizes. Does this mean the Nobel committee should withhold future prizes to Jews? Of course not! Jewish excellence in science benefits us all.

Anti-discrimination laws have been producing slow but sure progress in the U.S. Women and minorities have made significant inroads (sometimes even achieving equality) in all the former bastions of good-ol'-boy networks. Hell, even the President is black and has an Arab surname. Everybody is free to succeed and realize his/her potential. If somebody tries to discriminate against you and hold you back, you have legal recourse. We have addressed the ills (discrimination) and leveled the playing field of opportunity. Now . . . if only everybody would seize those opportunities proportionately and equally . . .

We could always do more, of course. Why not make ALL education free? You could be a career student and get multiple doctorates, if you like. No charge. What the heck, give students room, board and monthly allowance too so that disadvantaged youths can get the same education as rich kids. That way, there would be no educational disadvantages in the job market. Huh? What's that you say? Not feasible? Who will pay for it? Oh, yeah, well . . . never mind.

No single group -- not even atheists -- define me adequately. Hell, if there were some combination of groups that defined me, the same combination would not define you. I am not a group. I am a person. An individual. As an individual, I want our laws to guarantee equal opportunity for all. I want everybody to compete as they choose and are able. What I don't want are laws that guarantee the results of that competition. We need to fix problems . . . not competitions. That means adjusting the rules -- NOT the scores.

And we HAVE adjusted the rules (anti-discrimination laws). We'll continue to do so as long as we can identify rules that need changing. But that's a far cry from adjusting the results. An imbalance in results may not even be something we can or should legislate away. Perhaps the imbalance, as with the Jews and science, has cultural explanations. Are we to legislate culture now too?

Some immigrant groups achieve more and enjoy a higher standard of living than other immigrant groups. Is this because of some "privilege"? Nope. They achieve more because their cultures value education and hard work more.

We are not a democracy of groups: we're a democracy of individuals. We're diverse people who stand or fall based on our own merits. That's the way it is in nature and that's the way it should be in human society. We should not be constrained by our greatest common denominator. It's excellence that makes the difference in our achievements: any policy or law that stifles excellence is bound to fail -- as well it should.

The law enforces, and needs to continue to enforce, equal opportunity for individuals -- NOT for groups. If incongruencies develop, then we need to address the CAUSE -- NOT the results. That's like applying a band-aid to a rattlesnake bite. It will look like you've done something helpful but, meanwhile, the venom is spreading.

Discriminatory affirmative action has been struck down by the Supreme Court, so White Male Privilege has reared its ugly head to replace it -- just as Intelligent Design reared its ugly head to replace creationism (also struck down by the Supreme Court). It's the same bad idea concealed behind a new label. Excellence should be rewarded WITHOUT REGARD FOR RACE, GENDER, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, RELIGION, AGE OR CREED. The best person for the job: the contract to the best company or proposal. Period. Fixing society's woes by compromising excellence is a wrongheaded idea spearheaded by leftist apologists who expect us to feel guilty for being born white and/or male.

I'm male but I'm not white. Regardless, I recognize a bad idea when I see one. Multiculturalism instead of pluralism? Bad idea. Sacrificing freedoms or education to religions? Bad idea. Capping excellence for racial or gender reasons? Ridiculous. If there's 10 positions available and the 10 best candidates (by objective standards) are all white, then all those candidates should get those positions even if the city is 50% black. Of course, the same applies if the 10 best candidates are all black, asian, hispanic or whatever.

The world doesn't owe anybody a living . . . just an opportunity.

Views: 30

Comment by Nix Manes on October 7, 2009 at 11:15am
There seems to be this idea that we need to base our lives on competition. This is bad—real bad.

Pure competition produces more losers than winners—many more. Those losers are human beings, too, but this attitude feeds the idea that these 'losers' should be denigrated for not having reached some artificial level of achievement.

This idea that competition is somehow the answer to society's problems is arrogant and selfish. It has as an underlying attitude that some people are not worthy of some basic level of respect. If someone loses in this competition they must be flawed-—they are a lower form of a person. They didn't work hard enough, are stupid, lazy, ignorant, etc. It's all their own fault for not being "better" at whatever it is that caused their "failure." This attitude is what makes people hate each other and artificially justifies those with power and money in an egotistical orgasm.

The law enforces, and needs to continue to enforce, equal opportunity for individuals -- NOT for groups. Bullshit. The law enforces the power of corporations and their owners/managers. Individuals are largely kicked around like they are worthless. When someone tries to take on a corporation, it's nearly almost always futile. The corporation has money and, therefore, power. It's the rare individual who can find enough help to even try to take on a corporation. The right wing is against unions, not because they 'drive up prices' (a bullshit claim), but because they level the playing field with corporations. If you claim that a single individual is on equal footing with a corporation when it comes to anything, you are deluding yourself. Power is in numbers and money.

The best person for the job: the contract to the best company. You actually think this happens? Again, bullshit. People get jobs because of who they know, family connections, and, yes, the color of their skin, their gender, how good looking they are, etc. "The best person for the job" is a pipe dream in an unregulated society. It doesn't happen. "Contract to the best company" is also bullshit. Kickbacks, personal friends, and a whole host of prejudices are what work in this arena.

The world doesn't owe anybody a living . . . just an opportunity. This is the attitude that puts people on the street. No social safety net means people die—literally die—because they couldn't "compete." Humanity has to mean more than just letting people suffer because they didn't try hard enough or got wiped out by an illness, job loss, natural disaster, etc. Your attitude is one of arrogant condescension, and it's a shame that so many people see life this way. It's a view that creates the classes of people—the “groups” you hate so much.

Some immigrant groups achieve more and enjoy a higher standard of living than other immigrant groups. Is this because of some "privilege"? Nope. They achieve more because their cultures value education and hard work more. Bullshit. They "achieve" because they remove competition by stopping outsiders from entering their businesses.

If you really want society to be focused on individuals and not "groups" then each individual needs to be given a social safety net when they do fail. No one can succeed on their own. No one. We all need help. A symbiotic relationship is what we should be after, not constant competition among individuals. Unless you want a world of 'losers' to look down in order to satisfy some need to elevate yourself, then a just society will treat the individual with some level of respect and support. This idea that we all need to be in competition with each other all the time is disgusting.
Comment by Atheist Exile on October 8, 2009 at 3:08am
Here we go again, NixManes,

After the introductory paragraphs, this blog post zeroes in on White Male Privilege (WMP: pronounced, "wimp"). I'm not talking about social programs, much less suggesting we should do away with them. Your strawman arguments shifts my assertions to areas I did not discuss. There's usually one reason people resort to strawman arguments -- they don't have a valid argument against the actual assertions made. It's a dishonest tactic. But, then again, that's what I've come to expect from you. And . . . what's with your tone? Bullshit this . . . bullshit that. Still stinging from the last debate? :-)

Let's get some things straight. I'm a left-leaning moderate in my politics. I believe the social programs we have in place, here in the U.S., are fairly reasonable despite some of the abuses we've seen in the past. When it comes to a national health care system, I think we should have the option to choose it or private insurance. I believe that the only way society can work fairly is to insist that everybody be responsible for their own actions. Now, of course, the physically or mentally handicapped, the infirm, the aged and orphans are exceptions: we have no valid, humane, choice except to care for them. Nobody, but a complete moron, would suggest otherwise and let them fend for themselves. My heroes (John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Barack Obama) all agree that personal responsibility is essential to justice and prosperity.

Affirmative Action and WMP deal mostly with the workplace. The ideal workplace is both a competitive and a cooperative environment. Those who have an aversion to competition (like you) may not be well suited for such professional environments: they may end up feeling "kicked around like they are worthless". That's a pity but this is the real world . . . not a utopia. Get over it.

Speaking of real world . . . the world population is approacing 7 billion people. Competition is a fact of nature and it also makes our world go 'round. I suppose that if competition is really that distasteful to you, you should take responsibility for your own life and marry a rich woman or something. :-) Actually, I never said everybody has to compete. I clearly stated that, "As an individual, I want our laws to guarantee equal opportunity for all. I want everybody to compete as they choose and are able." That means if you "choose" not to compete, that's your choice. If the consequences are dire, that's your problem. Don't want to sully your lifestyle with competition? Then don't. But you should be thankful that the majority of people elect to compete in the job market. If everybody took your attitude, we'd all starve to death in stinking squalor. The people who aren't afraid to compete make life better for those who are. It would be wonderful if we could just pursue our interests without regard for food or shelter but the reality is life is a struggle for most of us and many of us will suffer failure and deprivation. We have safety nets in place: charities, Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, churches, family and the kindness of strangers. But what kind of safety nets would we have in place without competition driving productivity and free markets to finance our safety nets? If you've got some alternative, tell us about it. Otherwise, you're spouting wishful thinking nonsense. It's far from perfect but competition is what drives us forward. It's not evil or "arrogant and selfish": just a necessity brought on by almost 7 billion mouths to feed. With your penchant for denial, you should consider converting to Christianity. You'd be good at it.

Your victim mentality really leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It's "bullshit" that "the law enforces, and needs to continue to enforce, equal opportunity for individuals -- NOT for groups"? So you're saying that the justice system will turn a blind eye to evidence of discrimination? Interesting. So you're of the "why try?" school of thought, huh? You're nothing if not consistent. Once again. Personal responsibility. If you don't have the gumption to stand up for yourself, there's not likely to be people lining up to do it for you. Yes, life isn't always fair. You might well have to take risks, even if you're clearly in the right. It's the nature of the beast. Those who break or manipulate the rules often succeed. High-priced lawyers might trump your union-provided lawyer. But if you never stand up for yourself, you'll never know. Thanks to anti-discrimination laws everybody has power. But not if you're too afraid to use it.

By the way, corporations are legal entities. They also have rights and need protections just like you. If you don't like the system the way it is, DO something (other than whine) about it! You might consider joining the nomads of the Sahara desert or maybe the Eskimos. Nobody's forcing you to stay. Hell, it might be a good experience for you.

Okay, what next. Ah, more strawman arguments. "The best person for the job: the contract to the best company" is the way it should be. But that's hard to argue with . . . so you turned it into "[I] actually think this happens", then recite a bunch of stuff everybody already knows. Once again, more dishonest sophistry.

You know, I don't know why I'm wasting my time with you. You're clearly hostile and unwilling to debate honestly.
Comment by Pitabred on October 8, 2009 at 4:08pm
I don't have time to type out my full thoughts, but I just wanted to chime in with support for the original post and your reply, Atheist Exile.
NixManes, life is not a zero-sum game. If you compete, someone else doesn't automatically lose. Competition is simply a way of efficiently allocating resources. If you have two cars that are identical and cost the same, except that one gets 50mpg and the other gets 30mpg, are you ever going to choose the one that gets 30mpg? That's what you're arguing for.
Comment by Atheist Exile on October 9, 2009 at 2:47am
Hi Pitabred,

Hey, that was short and sweet . . . Why couldn't I think of something as effective and brief?!? Aarrgghh!!


You need to be a member of Think Atheist to add comments!

Join Think Atheist

© 2018   Created by Rebel.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service