More Lutheran Satire:
More Lutheran Satire:
Inspired by Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” which has become required reading on college campuses across the country: “I was taught to see oppression in every human act and artifact, not in the occasional individual acts of meanness.”
Daily Effects of Postmodern Privilege
I decided to try to improve myself by identifying some of the effects of postmodern privilege in my daily life. I have chosen to explore the most popular categories of personhood (race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation), rather than those factors that might complicate my postmodern worldview (reason, truth, beauty, virtue, free will). As far as I can tell, my rational and religious acquaintances with whom I come into frequent contact cannot count on most of these conditions:
I am not told that my deepest moral convictions must be relegated to my home.
I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another ideology won’t result in an organized campaign of harassment that threatens my livelihood.
I can avoid spending time with people who openly disagree with me because those who harbor divergent opinions are often labeled rapists, homophobes, and bigots.
I can go shopping without fear that a sanctimonious hipster will harass me for not buying fair trade or certified organic products.
I can turn on the television or look at the front page of the paper and be sure to find praise for people who think like me and unabashed disdain for those who don’t.
When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I can be fairly sure that most scholars agree with me that these are pejorative terms, synonymous with colonization, exploitation, and oppression.
If I want, I can be sure to find a publisher for this piece on postmodern privilege, especially if I reference Jacques Derrida.
I can be casual about whether to listen to dissenting opinions because it is easy to label other ideas as microagressions.
I can go into a music shop and count on the most popular musicians being as elitist as me.
I can be influenced by artists and scholars from diverse backgrounds without people saying I am engaging in cultural appropriation.
I can criticize free enterprise while still benefitting from said economic system without the fear of being seen as a hypocrite.
I do not have to teach my children how to talk about religious principles in secular language in order to avoid public ridicule.
I can use sophisticated language and wear a suit and tie without derision because it is assumed I do so only ironically.
I can speak in public to powerful government agents without having my tax-exempt status put on trial.
I can do well in a challenging situation without people saying I ought to “check my privilege.”
I am never asked by reporters to speak to whether everyone in my particular religious group might hypothetically be open to providing goods or services at a gay wedding.
I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to a government official she or he will share my ideological convictions.
I can easily see people in sitcoms, movies, news programs, and public-school textbooks who share my guilt for living in a prosperous nation.
If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or not, my ideological affiliation will lend me more credibility than someone who believes in “evidence” and “proof.”
Major media outlets do not falsely accuse me or my children of fostering rape culture for simply engaging in traditional courtship rituals at wealthy southern schools.
I can seek wealth without being seen as greedy or self-serving, especially if said wealth is accumulated by means of redistribution.
I can take a private jet across the country to attend a conference of environmental activists without fear of my colleagues branding me a fraud.
If a day, week, or year is going badly, I need not ask if it is my fault; I know it is someone else’s.
I can think of many options—regarding my gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation—without being bound to reason, tradition, or nature.
I can be late to a meeting without it reflecting poorly on me because it is assumed that I commute by bike so as to reduce my carbon footprint.
If I cannot rely on the power of influence, I can be relatively certain that government coercion is an option for me to get my way.
I can easily find academic courses and institutions that are slavishly devoted to my nihilistic, neo-Marxist philosophy.
I can expect figurative language and imagery in all postmodern art and literature to be either opaque or so exceedingly obscure as to advance my status as a highly sophisticated member of the intelligentsia.
I have no difficulty fomenting discontent in neighborhoods where people have traditionally been largely satisfied with their lives.
I will feel welcomed and “normal” wherever vehement expression of sentimentality triumphs over “reason.”
Peter Johnson studied postmodernism in both the English and philosophy departments of New York University. His deep understanding of what George Will described as the “degenerate egalitarianism of the intelligentsia” made him an exceptional candidate for the Peace Corps, where he taught beekeeping to subsistence farmers in rural Paraguay, despite having no previous experience keeping bees.
After the Peace Corps, he lived in Senegal for a year, where he cavorted with a bunch of Fulbrighters who enjoyed a yearlong subsidized vacation abroad in return for writing obtuse academic papers reaffirming postmodern scholarship. He now works for the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he is being vigorously deprogrammed by natural-law philosophers, theologians, and a Catholic priest. You can find him on Twitter @ActonPete.
Peter Johnson is an external relations officer for the Acton Institute. He has held various positions with the National Capital Area Council and Boy Scouts of America.
Great [Lutheran] satire, but a sad truth is embedded. The greatest cause of inequality, of social (even ‘white privilege’), is differences in family structure (and yet though the it is the dominant factor it is the factor most ignored by so many on the left).
Some may define egalitarianism as “belief in the equality of all people, especially in political, social, or economic life,” but a more precise definition for the contemporary parlance would be “belief that every person should have equal access to every opportunity in every circumstance imaginable.” To provide such a society for our children, to build them a shining egalitarian city on a level playing field, one major progress-impeding super villain needs defeating.
Even more so than the misogynistic Christian church or the anti-gay GOP, the chief enemy of egalitarianism is nature. Historic Christianity only makes it hard for women to be pastors, but nature makes it hard for women to be soldiers, firefighters, lumberjacks, and anything else that requires masculine levels of upper body strength. Republicans may pass laws letting bakers deny service for gay weddings, but nature imposes laws denying two pairs of ovaries the power to procreate. But the greatest way that nature breeds inequality is by filling us with the desire to love the children that have resulted from our breeding.
Not all parents are equally adept at loving their children, as anyone who’s ever observed a crowded McDonald’s play place knows. And when those with superior nurturing skills unleash them on their offspring, the results are horrific, producing children with higher levels of happiness, education, and achievement than their contemporaries. One might argue that the solution to this problem is to encourage bad parents to work harder at loving their children, but such a heartless, radical notion can’t be taken any more seriously than the suggestion that a woman who can’t pass a physical fitness test should increase her bench-press regimen like other women have done instead of putting people at risk. Rather, the best way to achieve an egalitarian society is for those who can shoot the highest to quit showing off and start aiming lower.
Just as we should be willing to die of smoke inhalation to prevent a lady firefighter from feeling bad about not being able to carry us on her back, we should also be willing to abandon our children in order to make kids who have already been abandoned feel less socially ostracized.
From the PresbyterianBlues blog. Very insightful, based on years of experience:
An advantage of being in the same church for a long time is that you have an opportunity to see things play out. You can observe parenting and then watch the “parented” children grow up. You can see folks go from young parents to empty nesters. You can see all sorts of people just passing through. In short, you’re around long enough for time to tell its story. And if it told proverbs about Presbyterian church life, they might sound like this.