Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Check Your Privilege, For Libertarians.

If you're debating with a certain type of lefty, you might get told to "Check Your Privilege". This confusing order means that if, for example you're debating the welfare state, if you're securely employed and don't know what it's like to live on benefits, your opinion is irrelevant. It's effectively saying "you're borgeouis, shut up". Dan Hodges dug deeper for the Telegraph.

Apparently the phrase “check your privilege” first originated on the social justice blog Shrub.com, (no, I’ve no idea what a social justice blog is either). Shrub was set up by Andrea Rubenstein...
'CYP' can be frustrating. But this post by Pete Spence argues some of these ideas could be an important part of libertarian thought, if Libertarianism is not to be an intellectual ghetto for rich, white, smug men with good jobs who don't want to pay tax.
The concept of Checking Your Privilege asks you to ask yourself “is life different for other people?” and asks you to listen to those who have different experiences. It’s a sharing of information. e.g. If you are not considered overweight, you may not be aware of the extent to which those considered overweight are harassed. You may not be as acutely aware of the overrepresentation in TV and advertising of people considered to have a “normal” body type.
Intersectionality asks you to remember that individuals are affected by several different things at once. e.g. Someone considered overweight may also be considered successful, and have a high income and good education. They are relatively privileged when compared with someone considered overweight who is also unemployed.
Of course we all ignore this when debating, and descend into shorthand. The key is to always blame the system, for example when discussing benefits and unemployment, not the people, who're mostly just responding to incentives. A rule I'm pretty good, though not perfect at adhering to.
These three concepts are all inherently individualist ones. They ask you only to remember that information asymmetries exist. People can not be treated homogenously, and suffer particular issues that are individual to them. We should act accordingly.
Of course when a rabid feminist tells you to "check your privilege", they're trying to shut debate down, not asking you to think about the other's condition. It's a form of 'ad-hominem', saying your argument is wrong because it's a rich, white guy making it.
A consistent approach requires libertarians not just to be critical of state power, but also of overbearing corporate power and the power of societal expectations and shame. The ideas of privilege, checking of privilege, and intersectionality help us to do this. The complexity of our world is a practical reality, and a problem for centralised approaches, not a call for them. 
And here the libertarianish twittersphere in particular falls down, because it's not clear many people realise how much power large companies wield.  It's too easy to see non-state players as somehow on my team against the state, whereas it's a core role in a night-watchman state to protect people against the interests of rapacious companies for example by enforcing competition law.

Libertarians should not be anarchists, always railing against the state, without considering the proper functions of Government, including economic regulation. Monopolies, state or private serve no-one except the interests of the producer. Extremism, morally blaming weaker members of society for their plight or acting as an apologist for Companies is not going to help the central idea of libertarianism spread.

That is social liberalism, and economic liberalism can go together, ideas which appears to be the future of British politics. Let's not scare potential supporters off by not considering why some people might be scared by the concept of freedom from state interference.



9 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Libertarians" also often fail to recognise the problems caused by private companies being monopoly purchasers of labour. It's all very well saying that if you don't like the conditions of one job, you can get another, but if there's only one employer in your line of work (or even just a small handful) that is often easier said than done. Which is why there is some role for the State in mandating employment conditions.

Jackart said...

An oft-made allegation, but for highly specialised lines of work, the power often rests with the EMPLOYEE, not the EMPLOYER who can't easily replace staff. See here

Anonymous said...

Jackart - a quick question? Why are you so quick to call others "stupid cunts" when all the evidence points to YOU being the thickest CUNT of all.

You spout puerile crap about how wonderful Cameron is, while the UK falls deeper into debt and social problems escalate.

I do agree that Labour (esp Gordon Brown) caused most of the problems - the reality is that Cameron is adding to them, not fixing them.

You fail to see this. This makes you not just a cunt, but a really stupid cunt.

Now fuck off you cunt.
Kind Rgds
A REAL Conservative.

Jackart said...

But the UK isn't "fall[ing] deeper into debt and social problems escalate"

There's a plan to cut welfare spendng, which rose sharply under Thatcher. Departmental spending is falling faster than it did under Thatcher.

Growth, which was strong world-wide during Thatcher's time is harder come-by now.

Britain is a safe, free, well-governed, rich, prosperous land of decent social mobility. It's not perfect, but it's better than almost any other place on earth. The presence of millions from all owver the world in our cities is testament to that.

What more do you a "real conservative" (in practice, a UKIP thicko) want from Cameron?

Single Acts of Tyranny said...

'Britain is a safe' compared to Syria yes, but ask someone in Peckham if they feel safe. The de facto removal of the means of self-defence hurts us all.

'Britain is ... free' Try saying something the state doesn't like and you will see how free it is. This relates to twitter comments on footballers or women on trams saying non PC stuff. Demonstrate near Westminster without their permission and you will soon learn.

'Britain is ... well-governed' compared to Iraq maybe, but will the national debt be down or half a trillion more by 2015?

'Britain is ... rich, proposperous'
I'm unclear what Cameron can honestly claim to have contributed to this?

The social mobility point is relative, what is decent? The presence of immigrants means some other countries are even bigger toilets, nothing more.

Growth is harder to come by now because we have more government, more regulation and more state debt crowding out the real world plus expensive power and supra-national government. Growth hasn't got harder, human wants are limitless. It's just more government in the way.

ftumch said...

The Daily Mash did a far funnier post on this:

http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/society/check-your-privilege-obviously-a-colossal-pile-of-twat-2013060570924

Longrider said...

An oft-made allegation, but for highly specialised lines of work, the power often rests with the EMPLOYEE, not the EMPLOYER who can't easily replace staff.

Interesting point. Although a contractor, not an employee, I've just had an object lesson that I am in short supply and very difficult to replace - so, yeah, point stands on this one.

Anonymous said...

But the UK isn't "fall[ing] deeper into debt and social problems escalate"

YES IT IS ! THE DEBT & DEFICIT IS RISING UNDER CAMERON - CHECK THE GOVT FIGURES YOU DOZY, STUPID CUNT !!!!

There's a plan to cut welfare spendng, which rose sharply under Thatcher. Departmental spending is falling faster than it did under Thatcher.
Growth, which was strong world-wide during Thatcher's time is harder come-by now.

TRUE - YET ASIDE FROM JAPAN, THE UK DEBT AS A % OF GDP IS THE HIGHEST IN THE WORLD. AGAIN CHECK THE FIGURES YOU FUCKWIT. SO WE HAVE A GLOBAL PROBLEM BUT THE UK IS STILL ONE OF THE MOST INDEBTED NATIONS.

Britain is a safe, free, well-governed, rich, prosperous land of decent social mobility. It's not perfect, but it's better than almost any other place on earth. The presence of millions from all owver the world in our cities is testament to that.

GET REAL ! SO THE UK IS SAFE BECAUSE YOU SAY SO (GREAT ARGUMENT BTW)? TO QUOTE THE TELEGRAPH: "The total number of violent offences [in the UK] recorded compared to population is higher than any other country in Europe, as well as America, Canada, Australia and South Africa."

What more do you a "real conservative" (in practice, a UKIP thicko) want from Cameron?

I WANT CAMERON TO ADMIT THE UK HAS MAJOR PROBLEMS AND ACTUALLY TACKLE THEM. IT'S A SIMPLE CONCEPT KNOWN AS GOVERNING THE COUNTRY - HOPEFULLY NOT TOO MUCH TO ASK FOR?

KIND RGDS
A REAL Conservative.

PS YOU STUPID CUNT.

Anonymous said...

I've figured out Mr Jackass...

His method is to post a seemingly intelligent post on a current newsworthy topic and then cover the whole thing in pathetic, nonsensical anti-UKIP tirade. All-in-all rather pathetic and ignorant; which is not suprising from a libcon.

Quite simply he is a "Very Anti-British Dude".

- EnglandMyEngland

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