The Privilege Ad Hominem

Few things annoy me more than when I challenge a Leftist on their nebulous concepts of “white privilege” and “patriarchy”, and their response is, believe it or not: “you’re a fucking white male!”

Yes, yes, Leftists are profoundly bad at arguing.  Surely they’re not going to change anybody’s mind with this succinct retort, clever as it may be.  But that doesn’t mean we have to be bad at arguing back.  This is a good lesson to the intelligent conservatives and libertarians (and, increasingly often, other Leftists) who end up on the ass end of such pseudo-arguments.  Unpacking all the layers of nonsense that are contained in these five words serves as a great opportunity for us to showcase just how vastly more fit for critical thinking and debating we are, and in the process, we can win countless minds over to our cause.  Don’t ever get upset when your enemy makes a fool out of himself in public.  Understand it for the opportunity it is.  You will absolutely encounter this retort if you ever engage a Leftist in live debate.  Let’s practice going down the list of responses to embarrass them even more than they just embarrassed themselves.

First of all, let’s detail the irony that the people saying this are quite often white males themselves.  This is usually pointed out, but only briefly as, “but you’re a white male”.  Sure, but we can analyze why this is a hypocrisy more thoroughly.  The underlying argument is that people who are white and male are automatically “privileged”, whatever exactly that means, just by being white and male, but since people who are privileged are unaware of their own privilege, white males are intrinsically incapable of perceiving their own privilege, which thus explains why particular white males would scoff at the notions of white male privilege.  Okay, if that’s true, then it doesn’t only apply to white males who don’t believe they are privileged.  It also applies to white males who do believe they are privileged.  If white males are incapable of comprehending their own privilege, the ones who are insisting no such privilege exist are behaving as one would expect them to.  The ones who are not just claiming that something they can’t comprehend exists, but are actually out protesting and engaging in activism over it, must be virtue signaling.  They can’t actually know or understand that they are privileged.  They just claim to understand their own privilege.  Why?  The guy in the video appealed to how he has “never experienced oppression”.  And yet somehow he is so “woke” about oppression.  How odd.  He is telling another white male the reason he isn’t woke is because he never experienced oppression and therefore can’t understand it.  But then how could he himself, equally inexperienced in oppression, understand oppression?  By his own argument, he can’t.  The only remaining option is that he is pretending to understand.  In other words, he is virtue signaling.  Sure, the oppressed minorities or whatever other groups tell him he’s privileged, but why believe them?  Why go out and protest publicly about something you can’t possibly be sure is even real, because it’s the center of your own universe?  According to this argument, you can’t know it exists.  So the only reason you would insist it does exist is because you think it is appropriate to pander to people you evidently believe are oppressed in order to gain social status points for yourself.  Why else would you subscribe to an idea you are incapable of perceiving yourself?

A likely response to this would be, “just because I haven’t experienced something doesn’t mean I can’t comprehend that it is real”.  Indeed.  I’ve never been to China.  But I still believe it exists.  Because there is logic and evidence that supports its existence that my rational mind can analyze and validate.  And that refutes the whole argument that white males can’t comprehend their own privilege just because they’ve never experienced not having it.  They might not be able to understand what it is like to not be privileged, but they can still acknowledge that they are privileged.  Isn’t this exactly what the SJWs are screaming at us to do?  To just acknowledge that our privilege exists!?  Okay, to do that, you need to provide some kind of logic and evidence.  “You’re a white male so it’s not immediately obvious to you” isn’t it.  This is like saying, “I have your money in my house, you have to believe me” and when I say, “prove it”, you respond, “you haven’t looked in my house, so you couldn’t know if it’s in there”.  Umm… okay.  So then show me.  The fact that something isn’t self-evident to someone is actually why it needs to be proven to them with logic and evidence, not a bizarre excuse to forgo said logic and evidence and just harp on the fact that said, aforementioned logic and evidence isn’t immediately available.  The argument is not, “I’m a white male and I don’t notice being privileged, therefore white male privilege doesn’t exist”.  The argument is, in some form or another, that there is no evidence that white male privilege is real, or the concept itself is illogical.  The Left is skirting around this notion that such logic and evidence is, again, incomprehensible to white males, and that means white males must then accept the claim without any logic and evidence!?  Ohhh please!  Nobody falls for this malarkey.  It’s all virtue signaling.  Take a look at the protests about this stuff.  It’s mostly white people anyways, out there protesting about how privileged white people are, and then responding to, “where’s your evidence”, with, “we’re inherently blind to the evidence, so we must take its existence on pure faith!”  I guess it’s sort of like the worst lazy arguments for why God must exist, except I think a good case can be made for having faith in the existence in God.  Faith in the existence of white privilege?  Pass.  Hard pass.

This is where we must point that it is, yes, formally an example of an ad hominem argumentative fallacy.  The fact that the arguers are this or that is irrelevant to the validity of the argument.  Identity politics is an outgrowth of an identity mindset.  It’s the same reason why Leftists are rabidly anti-individualist.  If we take them seriously (which, again, we shouldn’t, they’re just virtue signaling, and it’s probably buried beneath some kind of psychological projection about their own supremacist beliefs about white people), they don’t even see arguments.  Which is why they don’t really argue, they just insult people (remember, to them, calling people white males is an insult).  It’s all about identity, which means membership in one of these Cultural Marxist “classes”.  If you want to understand how the reasoning, if you can call it that, works, it’s really all just paths to the basic conclusion that certain groups are oppressor groups.  This wasn’t formed by an argument, so it’s not going to be defended by an argument.  It’s an axiom in this belief system, impenetrable to critical analysis.  Responding to the criticisms by invoking the group membership of the person making the criticism is just working within these axioms.  This isn’t how logic, and argumentation, works.  Arguments stand independently of the people making them.  “Don’t shoot the messenger”, as they say.

So then, what happens when someone who is in the “wrong” group raises an objection?  On one level we have a predictable response that they are “playing for the wrong side”, and being “traitors” to their own identity group.  This leads straight to another style of response which, in a truly mesmerizing irony given all the virtue signaling about “tolerance”, is to viciously insult the objector’s race and sex.  If a black person is conservative or libertarian and objects to the idea of white privilege, the Left often hurls racial slurs at them.  If a woman is a conservative, she gets the very treatment the Left is supposedly on a crusade to stop.  Cultural Marxism is just Marxism.  It’s a path to power for aspiring dictators who want to be part of a new royalty.  The class conflict is the way to keep the sheepish masses distracted and fulfilling their role as “useful idiots”, as Lenin called them.  The people pushing this stuff, mostly whites for what it’s worth, see these “oppressed groups” as their pets; as tools for their own rise to power.  When they see their pets disobeying (not barking when they say, “speak!”), they go apeshit, and it is not uncommon for their true, often very unprogressive, beliefs about those groups tend to slip out.  Saul Alinksy literally told radicals to do this, but it has always been a part of human psychology.  If you want to understand your enemy, pay attention to what he accuses you of doing.  That is the best “confession” you will ever get.

We should also note that if we take this ad hominem argument at face value, it is basically saying that white males are not to participate in the conversation.  If this were a bunch of non-whites and non-males all getting together to talk about their plights, and a white male crashes the party yelling, “I don’t feel privileged, what are you talking about!?” then “you’re a white male, you don’t get it” might make sense.  But that’s not what’s happening.  Instead, we have “resolutions for white guys”, and an entire fucking show called “Dear White People”.  We’re supposed to listen, we’re just not supposed to speak.  We see this a lot.  The Left likes to make lists of demands for how to be a non-wretched human being (spoiler alert: it always involves being a full-blown socialist).  Yelling, “you’re a white male” at a white male is just a way of saying, “shut up”.  Okay, fine.  If you want me to shut up, then don’t expect me to keep listening.  The conversation either goes both ways, or it goes neither way.

Finally, let’s tackle head-on this claim that people who have privilege can’t perceive their own privilege.  This is nonsense!  Where did that come from!?  I love the analogy that always gets used to explain this: “a fish isn’t aware that it is in water”.  Uhhh, yes it is.  I’m aware that I’m in air.  People are easily capable of perceiving their own privilege.  It just takes a small amount of self-awareness, of the sort SJWs seem to be sorely lacking.  If I’ve been part of a rich family my whole life, and I walk down a street in a poor neighborhood, of course I can perceive the gulf separating my own experiences from theirs.  I have actually experienced this myself in my own life.  When I visited Costa Rica in 2007 and rode in a van from San Jose to the coast through all the mountains and villages, I saw poverty on a level I had never seen before, that likely does not exist (at least not widely) anywhere in the United States.  All I could think about during the whole trip (apart from pleading in my mind for the lunatic van driver to not take us flying off the side of the mountain) was how much better my life and the lives of all the people I knew are, and how thankful I should be for that.

This is like saying someone who is seven feet tall isn’t aware that he’s taller than everyone else.  No, actually it’s constantly, painfully obvious to him.  This gets confused with saying someone who is seven feet tall doesn’t know what it’s like to be five feet tall.  Sure, that’s true, but these are completely different things.  But then why is it relevant to point out the obvious: that white males don’t know what it’s like to be a not white male?  If there was a room full of seven-foot tall people, and one of them said, “there are no five-foot tall people in here”, and another seven-foot tall person responded, “bro, you don’t know what it’s like to be five feet tall!”, and tried to use this to reason that everyone else in the room must actually be five-foot tall, meaning that one guy is actually towering above everyone else, but yet is blind to this fact!?  Don’t try to rationalize it.  If you stare into the abyss you will become the abyss.

The best part is, if you explain all of this, and you happen to be white and male, the most likely response you’re going to get is… you know.

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