Privilege: A Means to Do Good


Conservatives and libertarians like to downplay privilege and focus mostly on merit. “Just work hard,” they’ll say, which is indeed part of the solution. Yet it is not the only element in play.

This week at Common Sense Concept, I discuss the issue in light of a recent talk by Anthony Bradley for Marketplace One.

Watch the video here:



Here’s an excerpt:

[A]lthough our efforts certainly play a part in how well we succeed in life—and although they may indeed be a primary factor in some or most cases—are we really to ignore where we came from and how that came to be? After all, isn’t our ability to triumph and overcome obstacles only inspiring insofar as it contrasts with whatever little amount of privilege we had in the first place? What are “obstacles,” anyway, if not the things that don’t come easy? Do we marvel over the relative accomplishments of John D. Rockefeller’s children as much as we marvel over the striking ascendance of Rockefeller himself?

Yet while many in the “pro-capitalism” crowd downplay privilege too much, those in the Marxist camp twist it to be the determining factor of our existence: either our weapon or our prison:

Whereas the pro-capitalism crowd likes to pretend class privilege is a non-issue, the Marxist crowd likes to pretend that such privilege determines our very actions. If you are born poor, you are incapable of becoming wealthy, because if you are born wealthy, you are incapable of not exploiting the poor.

Richie Rich“Your very ideas are but the outgrowth of conditions of your bourgeois production and bourgeois property,” writes Marx in the Communist Manifesto, “just as your jurisprudence is but the will of your class, made into law for all, a will whose essential character and direction are determined by the economic conditions of the existence of your class.”

But as Bradley notes, our place of privilege simply “is what it is.” The question, he asks, is “what are you going to do about that privilege?”

For my reaction, read the full post.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • http://twitter.com/commonconcept/status/106751007010209792 Common Sense Concept

    Privilege: A Means to Do Good http://t.co/0uxNa8a

  • http://twitter.com/ericteetsel/status/106754419487539200 Eric

    Privilege: A Means to Do Good http://t.co/0uxNa8a

  • http://twitter.com/remnantculture/status/106761021615640577 Remnant Culture

    Conservatives and libertarians tend to downplay privilege, while progressives give it too much weight. What's the… http://t.co/ksGuQpk

  • http://twitter.com/oikonomeo/status/106762974684917760 Stewardship Council

    RT @CommonConcept: Privilege: A Means to Do Good http://t.co/rvLP6JD @RemnantCulture

  • http://twitter.com/remnantculture/status/107096276222484482 Remnant Culture

    Do you have what you have because you're awesome, or because someone did some stuff before you were born? http://t.co/n2Ci7UG

  • http://twitter.com/remnantculture/status/107096276222484482 Remnant Culture

    Do you have what you have because you're awesome, or because someone did some stuff before you were born? http://t.co/n2Ci7UG

  • http://twitter.com/remnantculture/status/107096276222484482 Remnant Culture

    Do you have what you have because you're awesome, or because someone did some stuff before you were born? http://t.co/n2Ci7UG

  • http://twitter.com/remnantculture/status/107096276222484482 Remnant Culture

    Do you have what you have because you're awesome, or because someone did some stuff before you were born? http://t.co/n2Ci7UG

  • http://twitter.com/commonconcept/status/107099483812282368 Common Sense Concept

    MT @RemnantCulture: Do you have what you have b/c you're awesome, or b/c someone did some stuff before you were born? http://t.co/eOiQGit