Don’t read this. You might become tainted by the intrinsic evil that infects my faculties of perception and reasoning. It’s the same evil that allegedly blinds me from the suffering of others and propels me towards ambitions of amplifying my wretched privilege through merit and achievement. Surely you wouldn’t want to subject yourself to such an abhorrent mind. You’ve been warned.
I am the enemy, the adversary of the downtrodden and the oppressed. Stop reading now…or else you’ll gain access to the worldview of a power-hungry tyrant. I am a white male, the building block of the abusive male patriarchy. STOP READING NOW!
I’m a millennial that was born in the nineties. I went to school in an environment that featured a myriad of cultures and races and my social network and romantic interests reflected that diversity. Money was relatively tight until I was in high school, but there’s no question that I was more blessed than most of the world’s population. My family’s financial concerns were about the necessary limits of luxury and excess, not difficulties in making ends meet. Due to my small stature, I was bullied throughout childhood and adolescence. I used my athletic skill and speed to make up for my size. I’m an intelligent person but I was indifferent to my studies until college. In high school, I devoted most of my energy to athletic pursuits, which yielded a collegiate scholarship.
Despite relative financial security, my family was very unstable. My mother suffered from a history of sexual trauma, PTSD and major depressive disorder. Her illness created a climate of domestic chaos and fundamental differences in parental philosophy drove an irreconcilable wedge between my mother and father. Eventually my father served my mother with divorce papers and I, unable to endure the toxicity of her mental anguish, went to live with him. Soon after the divorce, I had my first major depressive episode and sought medical treatment. Throughout high school and college, I experimented with self-mutilation, alcohol and drugs to medicate the pain of depression.
Eventually, I graduated college and became a successful professional. I completed graduate school and developed an array of coping mechanisms to deal with my chronic mental illness. I have strong relationships with both of my parents and have forged my own identity. It took over a decade of suffering to reach my current state of wholeness. My father was equipped with an infinite supply of patience and understanding. If my father had been out of the picture, I would not be alive today.
I have never thought of myself as tyrannical. I’ve probably committed the sin of intellectual bullying, but that’s about the most extreme oppression that I have caused. I have always believed that everyone should have equal rights and equal opportunity. A strong-willed, forceful sister made sure that I grew up with an egalitarian political viewpoint. Bigotry, racism and homophobia all disgusted me growing up, and still do today. In my intellectually formative years, I always thought I was the typical progressive agnostic that despised religion, the War on Drugs and censorship.
Recently, in a good-faith effort to broaden my intellectual horizons, I began splitting my information intake down the ideological middle. Half of the media, books and podcasts that I consume are conservative and half are progressive. This has caused my views on certain topics to shift and others to remain unchanged. Previously, I was pretty much locked inside the progressives’ ideological echo chamber: CNN, The New York Times, MSNBC, The Washington Post, etc. I wasn’t getting any ammunition to question fundamental assumptions of the left’s societal meta-narrative. Once I started venturing outside of the left’s media allies, I was blessed with the awareness of many logical holes in my worldview.
My goal is the discovery of truth. I don’t care whether the left or the right is the victor on any particular issue. I care what the truth is. I’m never perfect in this pursuit, but I try my best. My views on affirmative action, universal healthcare, the minimum wage, gender studies and feminism moved to the center from the far left during this period. I began engaging in what I thought were instances of good-faith discourse. I quickly realized that most liberals thought that I had absolutely no right to offer my opinion, since I was a privileged white male. Below are some examples of recent twitter conversations. In these examples, I made the claim that being anti-feminist doesn’t necessarily entail misogyny. Interestingly, two men came to reprimand me for the bigot that I evidently am. The gentleman in the first thread is a progressive liberal and the gentleman in the second thread is a self-proclaimed communist.
TWITTER THREAD 1:
TWITTER THREAD 2:
These highlight the main behaviors that I’ve encountered when criticizing leftist policies. Ad hominem attacks are frequently used: racist, bigot, etc. If they’re not explicitly stated, then they’re often implied. Premises aren’t countered or addressed. Instead, they’re merely written off as idiotic and not worth the energy of consideration. I am frequently told that I cannot comment on topics like feminism because I am a privileged white male and my socially constructed viewpoint (a consequence of the male patriarchy) renders my commentary useless at best, and harmful at worst. Evidently, the intrinsic immorality of my privileged cognition is a toxic obscenity that needs to be censored.
I fully admit that I have enjoyed privileges in my life. There’s no question. That being said, I’ve also endured my fair share of challenges, some that are specific to my unique life-path and some that are universal struggles that everyone copes with. I wonder if constantly reminding myself of deficits in privilege would be useful. I am short. Height is an immutable characteristic. CEOs are overwhelmingly tall, statistically speaking. Taller people tend to have higher salaries than their shorter counterparts. Females prefer taller men to shorter men; not coincidentally taller men have higher self-esteem than short men. There’s no doubt that tallness is an advantage in life. Nevertheless, there aren’t many ‘short’ activist groups that seek to have an equal representation of tall and short people in leadership positions or in STEM careers. While it might be attractive to blame a lack of ‘tall privilege’ for my difficulties in life, I don’t believe that it would do me much good.
I could also blame my disposition towards depression for my struggles. ‘Sane’ privilege is definitely a valuable asset in a world where the stigma towards mental health is still very strong. Once again, it wouldn’t do me any good. What has done me good is analyzing myself and conducting an exhaustive inventory of my strengths and weaknesses. This has allowed me to develop strategies to compensate for my faults and maximize my virtues. Blaming my lack of success on my mental health or height is cowardly acquiescence to victim-hood. It ensures that my future will be bleak instead of fighting for it to be bright.
Despite my advantages, I have weathered many storms. I understand what it is like to be disadvantaged and disenfranchised. This is true for every person. Every person has struggles. Feminists who think that all white males go through life without difficulty are delusional. Liberals who think that white males should simply fuck off and die and not contribute to the public discourse on critical issues are insane. I am not evil. I am not racist. I am not a chauvinist. I am a person, with a past of struggles and victories, that is interested in the best possible outcomes for society. If I criticize feminism, it does not mean that I think women shouldn’t have all the same rights and opportunities as men. It means that I take issue with fundamental assumptions and premises of feminist theory (for example, social constructionism). All ideas are open to criticism and my genitalia does not hinder me from caring about policies that affect women.
Anyone that is capable of thoughts has the right to comment. The comments might be stupid, ill-informed or in poor taste, but their utterance is protected by the First Amendment. Comments from people that are well educated, intelligent, well informed and genuinely interested in an issue are extremely valuable. While it may be shocking to some, there are white males that fit those criteria. I am one of them. White males lack certain types of privilege that other groups enjoy and vice versa. The “who has more privilege” game can go on forever if the players continue to allocate their various sources of privilege to comedic extremes. It’s a silly game and an intellectually dishonest excuse that’s employed by people with bad ideas. It’s the left’s answer to every problem.
If you’re one of the privilege police, do yourself a favor and expose yourself to evidence and ideas outside of your ideological echo chamber. I’m a white male. In many ways, I know more about suffering and agony than the majority of the population. No one can possibly quantify my privilege or lack thereof. Instead of trying to discredit my character because I’m pointing out logical holes in your argument, read a book. Thankfully, my freedom of speech is valid and your right to not be offended is non-existent.