There has been a lot of talk about “white privilege”. While there are certainly things in modern society which could probably be linked to such a privilege, what is absolutely hysterical to watch is the rewriting of all human and societal interactions into “white privilege” or “male privilege”. In fact, it would be quite entertaining just to listen to if it weren’t for the fact that the people espousing these things often have access to power of their own. I should expound on this more when I have the time, but a lot of the things that are being touted as “male privilege”, I know from experience, are actually instances of males depriving themselves of privilege for the sake of others. As I said, it would be funny if it weren’t so sad, and if the privilege whiners didn’t have the ability to influence political pressure.
The current amusement-of-the-moment comes from idiots posting about the idea that Holocaust survivors are part of the privileged group. This is a ridiculous notion. Holocaust survivors were not just discriminated against, they were marked for death. The countries that allowed them to be saved were countries that only discriminated against them. The US is partially on that list, except that we severely limited the number of them we even let into the country. So, in other words, they were so privileged that we weren’t sure that we should let them not die.
Why did the Jews prosper? Simple. Cultural values. Jewish culture esteems community, industriousness, and personal morality. It is simple to see how these work together. Community gives you a natural group of people who you can be safe with. Is “privilege” working against you? Well, if you have a strong community, you just made your own privilege. You are part of a privileged group – you’re own community! When people complain about “privilege” in other groups, a lot of times what they are really complaining about is the lack of community that they see in their own groups. So, rather than build up community, they whine. This is also called envy. There are always times when this group or that group unjustly works against another group, and those should be called out and fixed. However, what sets apart the groups that prosper is that, because of the strength of their own community, even in the face of injustice, they are able to make good of the situation they are in.
The next value is industriousness. There is no one (or at least very few) who have literally nothing. We have our own hands and feet, and can work industriously to generate new wealth. This works with community, because by having a strong community, we have a group of people who we can work for who will not exploit us, but help us move forward. This goes along with the next value, which is personal morality. Basically, keeping the 10 commandments. Why would someone work to earn or keep something if they believe it will only be stolen from them? If everything you have you think will be stolen or envied by someone else, then your best option is to never save up, and get rid and make the most of everything you have right now. If, on the other hand, you are secure in your possessions, then you know that if you save up, it will not be stolen from you. It also means that you have to spend less guarding what is yours. If I am worried about my money being stolen, I might buy a safe – but that reduces my wealth. If I am not worried about this, then my costs go way down.
If you own a restaurant, if your employees are moral, you do not have to spend the time to add checks and balances to make sure that no one steals the money. You also don’t have to check on them to make sure they are working. If they are moral, these things are taken care of automatically. When they are immoral, they must be checked up on, and that reduces the wealth of both the owner and the employees and society at large.
Community gives you a non-exploitive environment. Industry builds wealth. Morality allows you to keep wealth without penalty. By having these virtues, the Jewish people have been able to go from a persecuted and murdered minority to a group that some idiots call a “privileged” group. Sure, it is a privilege to grow up among virtuous people. The solution to this is more virtuous people, not denigrating those who are.
One last thing – bitterness. I have noticed that many of my friends on the left are extremely bitter when it comes to issues like this. I would argue that bitterness is the most unhelpful of dispositions. What bitter people want is for the person responsible to pay, pay, pay. It is certainly an understandable position, but it is also one that is both un-Christian and ultimately detrimental to yourself. Should wrongs be corrected? Certainly. But if you want healing, the bitterness has to go. Jesus said to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. This is the opposite of bitterness. What happens when we are bitter, is that we are consumed by the guilty party. That is literally when they have the most control over us. You can see this in bitter people – they rewrite the entire story of their lives to be about how they were wronged. It literally becomes their identity. This is where the ludicrous positions of “white privilege” stories come from. It’s because they have become so entrenched in their own bitterness that they are literally rewriting reality to suit their bitterness, and can no longer see reality honestly. Their entire lives are being focused through their pain. It is only when we can let go, when we can forgive, when we can be joyful in spite of them, that their power over us ceases. It is easy to find friends who will tell us the easy things about how we have been wronged and how the other guy needs to pay, and then go on and blame them for everything else too (including our own faults). But what we truly need are people who will tell us the hard truths about how to overcome, and even perhaps the parts where we may be guilty ourselves.
One more last thing. Again, I am not saying that there aren’t instances of injustice we should seek to eliminate. But no one should imagine that these are what are holding down entire groups of people. What is holding them down are the race baiters who tell them that such values are irrelevant, and it is always someone else who is the problem. Even when that is true, the thing that actually helps the situation is increasing community, industriousness, and morality, and I would also add joyfulness, even in the face of persecution. That is the example of the Jewish people. That is their privilege.