I’m gonna talk to the Normies for a second, so Vigilantes feel free to take a nap. Maybe watch a cat video. Normies: Whenever you discuss racism, sexism, or any other -ism with your more rational friends (and yes, they are more rational), do you ever get the feeling that they are reacting defensively in their responses? Like they feel somehow threatened by the very idea of privilege? Like you must be right, because you’re eliciting exactly the response that you would get if your privileged friend was unaware or afraid of his or her privileges?
Have you considered the privilege of privilege?
I’ll let you in on a little secret that we Vigilantes share (and, frankly, laugh about behind your back): We are defensive about our privileges! Just not how you think.1
You think that a straight, white, middle-class American male is defensive because he feels wronged or threatened by the concept of privilege and by the idea of sharing with “others.” You think that the Privilege-Averse have a lack of comfort with differences, or they have a of lack of understanding of what it’s like to not resemble the people you look up to.2
I can’t speak for all men in that category,3 but I can speak for Vigilantes when I say that the fear doesn’t come from anger with people who look or sound a little different or who like different body parts. We know that life is too short to give a fuck about who looks like whom, and the guiding force of a Vigilante’s life is selfishness – which consists of one’s own rational self-interest, not one’s own race’s or gender’s rational self-interest.4
The fear we react to is a fear of groupthink, which allows stupidity and brute force to overwhelm rationality. The fear is that giving a previously downtrodden group a legal advantage over a previously advantaged group is looked at as “progress” rather than what it is: the shifting of favoritism and continued ignorance of individual rights. The fear is of the emphasis that Privilege-Embracers tend to place on immutable characteristics5 instead of a philosophy, displaying the same mental capacity as a chimpanzee fighting for territory. The fear is that Privilege-Embracing hurts the smallest minority of all, and the only one that matters at all: the individual.6
Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.
Privilege-Embracing Normies, listen closely: Your skin color, your height, your genitals – they don’t matter. Hell, you don’t matter to The Vigilante. You are simply a potential trading partner, economically or emotionally, who can either make my life better or worse. If you make it better, I like you. If you make it worse, I have no need to associate with you, but go on your merry way and find someone who’s life is made better by the addition of you.
Let’s put that selfish thought into practice: If I need a contractor for a roof repair and I have the choice between a straight white American male, a straight black American male, and a gay dwarf wrestler/roofer Mexican, guess who will get the contract? The one who can do the best work at the lowest price. Hell, if the gay dwarf wrestler/roofer outbids the other two, I am probably more likely to buy him a cup of coffee just to hear some stories. Because that guy has stories.
I know, I know. Studies have shown7 that minor, “privilege-based” differences, such as skin color and “ethnic-sounding” names, make a difference on average in hiring decisions and the like. But here’s what you have to remember: Most people are Normies, not Vigilantes. Normies influence those statistics in a negative way. And they act like Normies to their own peril.
See, some Normies are racist or are uncomfortable with differences. That’s fine – they are allowed to be morons. If you want to consider that there exists a tiny advantage for Jon over J’von in a job search, you must also consider that there exists a huge advantage for the Vigilante who will hire a more skilled J’von over Jon without a moment’s hesitation. And that Vigilante’s business will, generally, beat the hell out of that Normie’s business. And besides – no one is preventing J’von from starting a business himself!
Privilege leads to excuses.
It is frightening, to Vigilantes, to look out and witness the Privilege-Embracing argue that “children need people who look like them to look up to!” Why?! Who cares what a person looks like, sounds like, or likes to put their mouth/genitals on, as long as that person’s values make them worthy of your time and admiration? The Privilege-Embracing crowd is planting the idea that immutable characteristics influence a person’s worthiness into children’s heads, and the cost is terrible.
What privilege really means is “I can’t do that without extra difficulty,” which fails to grasp a central truth of human existence: You don’t have a right to ease, a right to a lack of effort, or a right to encouragement from others.
Planting the idea in children’s heads that there is an outside source responsible for the success and failure they see in their lives is dangerous. It divides people by meaningless categories, planting seeds of resentment on both artificial sides. It engenders a hopeless feeling rather than an empowering one. It sneakily Incepts (?) the idea into the heads of the masses that immutable characteristics matter, and that there is an excuse for failure that doesn’t require self-reflection – which is exactly the thing that we should be teaching instead of privilege!
Privilege-Embracing reveals nothing about a “broken system” and nothing about the people who have privileges, deny the existence of privileges, or – like The Vigilante – deny that privileges are a necessarily evil thing.8 What Privilege-Embracing reveals is your own weakness. It reveals that you desperately want an excuse for your own failure, and will rely on irrelevant details like skin color (or an unusual and unnecessary apostrophe after the first letter of your first name – thanks, Mom!) to find it. You want to take a risk, and if that risk doesn’t pan out, you want to blame outside sources. It can’t be your fault, you did it all right – it’s The Man!
When a properly educated Vigilante encounters talk of privilege, an alarm goes off inside his or her head. This alarm is in the same area of the brain as the Bullshit Detector we built up in elementary school. The Bullshit Detector alerts us to the coming excuse, which alerts us to the need for defensiveness.
We Vigilantes want the alternative to Privilege-Embracing: self-reflection and individual rights. That is why a Vigilante is defensive when privilege is discussed. That is why Privilege-Embracing is one of the most psychologically harmful things we can do as a culture. That is why Vigilantes are defensive about our privileges – and you should be too!
- Well, there are some bad apples out there who really are defensive in the way you think – they generally join hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan. They are a small minority in the anti-privilege group, just like feminists who consciously want to grant women greater rights than men are a small minority of feminists. But since you like to fight for minorities – regardless of right and wrong – for the sole reason that they are minorities, maybe you should give the bad apples a chance! Because The Vigilante certainly won’t.
- As though no little white boy ever looked up to Michael Jordan. Please.
- Or any other group, for that matter. I don’t pretend to know the thoughts, needs, and desires of others simply because we share immutable characteristics. But notice who does pretend to know all of that about a group: the Privilege-Embracers!
- Not that the latter even exists. A race of people consists of a ton of individuals all with different needs and ideas; hive minds are for insects and science-fiction.
- Immutable characteristics are those physical and mental attributes that we are born with and cannot change (or can change but only in a masking way, such as a sex change operation where outward physical traits are changed and hormones are altered but chromosomes from the original sex remain).
- Which, interestingly, includes all minorities! Wow, is The Vigilante Method inclusive, or what?!
- What studies? I don’t recall, and I don’t care. The validity of the study doesn’t need to be called into question to understand the argument here. I’m not focused on the fallacy of statistical bullying, but on the close enough fallacy – even if both may apply to the use of these studies to defend privilege.
- They are innocuous accidents of nature at best; misused by Villains to divide us, at worst.