The Dartmouth Observer
Tuesday, September 03, 2002
I'll keep my white priviledge, thanks
I suppose I'm considered left of center, and in fact, am employed by and an ardent supporter of Democrats. However, the notion of white priviledge, in my personal politics of pragmatism is useless academic masturbation. Frankly, if being white has accorded me some priviledge, to hell with it, I want to keep it. The argument for being a "progressive" is best made when it need not appeal to white man's guilt, responsibility, or any other emotion some guy, who happens to be white, might feel. The argument for being "progressive" can stem merely from this: Our society functions best when its government takes strong measures, with good, effective leadership, to ensure that everyone is given a fair shot at his or her lot, and not poisoned by bad air or bankrupted by corrupt business along the way. For instance, if one concedes to conservatives to cut, cut, cut taxes and buys the belief that progressives are "pro-tax" for the sake of taking people's money (there are a few non-mainstreamers who are) then one need only do the rest of the math to note that cutting taxes reduces services such as police, road maintenance, etc. necessary to a society. Furthermore, there are occassions (such as now) when society demands improvement in certain services (like police and other first-responders), in which it is necessary to either cut from somewhere else, or levy a tax. It does not make sense to cut from other programs that work to ensure optimal living conditions in our country, and so a tax must be levied (or, alternately, one could offer a huge tax cut and then default on one's promises when it comes time to dole out necessary increases for government services). Conservatives say "cut welfare," but how, then, does one deal with the impoverished who rightly collect it? I guess we would have to pay, somehow, for extra police to enforce laws against the poor when they are forced to crime, or for some sort of body collection for when they starve to death in the streets and die with no health coverage. Our society will be most productive if it devises a fair and efficient way to tax it citizens (progressively), reduces waste (much of it in DoD), and strengthens by orders of magnitude such things as education and infrastructure. Conservatives usually only do half the math; they cut the input and don't talk about how it effects the output. That's just dishonest.
That, in a nutshell, is why even the most silver-spoon fed whitey should be a progressive. If you do it out of feeling, then you rationally ought give all you have a la Peter Singer (if in my post-dollar Bud Night state I remember Phil 9 correctly...or if it was even Phil 9) to a better cause. That's social consciousness. Progressiveness is just common sense. The best leaders in our country - throughout its history and from both sides of the aisle - have realized that. It is often said, in paraphrase of Winston Churchill (I think), that to be young and conservative is to have no heart, and to be old and liberal is to have no mind (or wallet). Beat this logic by being young and progressive through listening to your mind and keeping your wallet, not going only by your heart. Sometimes the heart is more easily broken than the mind.
Bad humor: I should note, however, that I will offer my hooray in conjunction with Laura if the rest of you whiteys (indeed everyone else) vote the right way, regardless of your motivation in doing so. If you vote the wrong way, you can find out why union labor and the Left go hand in hand : )