The hostility between Social Justice Warriors/PC Police and those who feel resented by them have grown to a fever pitch of intensity with the recent violence on the Berkeley Campus. While individuals and groups on both sides of this discussion around Political Correctness (PC) can sometimes intentionally be overly provocative, neither side is absent of legitimate concerns. My hope is for this article to articulate my understanding of the underlying concerns of both sides to start a conversation.
The Social Justice Warriors
The Social Justice Warriors are concerned by what they see as systematic oppression of people along the lines of race, gender, sexuality, and religion. When they say systemic oppression they don’t mean just in terms of laws but in terms of culture, political power, and economic institutions. Some examples of what they see…
– The proportion of people in oppressed classes may to some extent not have the same economic power as the incumbent class (White male heterosexual Christians) effecting their ability to get access to quality education, fund political candidates to represent their interests, and other support systems the incumbent class may take for granted.
– The culture has created a market for cultural themes that favor the interests of the incumbent class, resulting in less opportunities for the oppressed classes. (Over generations we have culturally become accustomed to primarily white male protagonists/heroes and other races as minor characters/villains/comic relief which affects the assumptions we make in dealing with people in both groups regardless of our own particular class)
– Allowing dominant narratives to be discussed can undo the progress in promoting new more inclusive cultural norms.
– Free Markets without intervention will just perpetuate the current order dominated by those who’ve amassed economic power over generations while the oppressed classes weren’t even able to participate in markets freely as the incumbent class could.
I agree there are disparities but I would not blame the free market but a lack of access to free markets for women, minorities, and LGBT individuals over the last several generations. When SJWs desire markets to be regulated, they are looking to control the very force that can rebalance the deck. When you encourage bailouts you protect the entrenched economic power, when you regulate you make it hard for new wealth to be developed. Free Markets are a bringer of social justice.
Regarding themes in culture, that’s up to individuals to create new culture which has occurred quite a bit in my 31 years of life. With the internet, barriers have been demolished in regard to seeing diverse cultural themes and representation.
Basically, go make movies and TV shows as there is no need for government here.
When it comes to education this is a result of zip code based schooling, resulting in overcrowded underfunded schools in poor zip codes. School choice efforts are the clear solution to this, which ironically the politically correct are often against.
Political power is a concern as government grows and becomes more powerful but if you worry about political imbalances the best answer is to limit political power by limiting the size and scope of government so entrenched interests have little to gain from political imbalances. Using government powers just emboldens people on all sides to consolidate and seek that power.
The right to free expression should be reserved for all even with those who ideas you may find antiquated and obsolete. It is only when we all feel we can speak that we all will begin to listen.
The Anti-SJW Position
A position mainly held by young people, especially men. These individuals often find themselves feeling judged for problems they never caused by being born into a group that others feel are “the problem”. These individuals feel like their hard work and achievements are often overlooked and dismissed as a result of “privilege” because they are “white”. It may feel to them it has become a social taboo to celebrate their accomplishments if you can instead celebrate someone from an oppressed class. They are often reminded the incumbent class they are lumped in with has had the spotlight for generations before, but what good is that if they weren’t alive then?
They grow frustrated and angry, and sometimes retaliate by trying to provoke the growing politically correct culture, The same culture that constantly shames them. This shame is the problem when these individuals are just trying to live their life and get by like everyone else. The ones who feel this the most are those who grew up poor, underprivileged and lacking access to quality education and political power like the oppressed classes but are still being treated as part of the elite because of their skin color or gender.
Everyone is an individual and has different penalties and privileges due to an infinite number of variables. To isolate a small a number of variables can sometimes do a great injustice to those who suffer for reasons outside of those particular variables. For those who feel hostile towards SJWs, much of your concerns are genuinely fair. Despite being ostracized for sins of the father this should not blind you to legitimate concerns about the way we as a society can be better and inclusive of everyone without disparaging anyone. We should always strive for a world that gives us all the opportunity to take advantages our privileges and overcome our disadvantages, and that is a free market system.
You will find yourself better served advocating for free markets than provoking the PC crowd.
This is why Bernie Sanders did well with his message of inequality as it drives at a more unifying dividing line of wealth that the vast majority of people across race, gender, religion, and sexuality can relate to. While I feel Sanders’ prescribed solutions aren’t ideal, it’s clear he tapped into a particularly more effective social fault line.
As a libertarian, my job is to make the connection between all these concerns these groups have with the reality that our markets are overly controlled. Once we free markets, a true healing process between the several societal fault lines can begin.