I submit for your consideration the following facts, dear readers:
- That “privilege,” in the sociological sense of unearned advantages conferred upon individuals as a result of their race, sex, class, creed, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, and so forth, exists.
- That there are also natural characteristics internal to an individual’s person, which also help to determine their relative position in society; things like intelligence, competence, ambition, talent, perserverance and so forth.
Obviously, if we accept that both of these things are true, then it is meaningless to say that all rich people achieved their position because society conferred unfair privileges upon them. Likewise, it is equally nonsensical to say that all rich people achieved their position because of their own pluck and determination. It is only by looking on a case by case basis that we can see which individuals fall into which categories.
The point that I’m trying to get across is that privilege is a statistical phenomenon. It is not universally applicable in all cases. So could we please put an end to the ridiculous academic practice of trying to explain all wealth in terms of privilege?
Likewise, could we please stop talking about rich people as if they’re synonymous with “innovators” or “job creators?” Somehow I don’t think that Paris Hilton is exactly interchangeable with John Galt here.