The Distress of the Privileged

This week, I read a really interesting article discussing the “distress of the privileged.” In summary, as society shifts power away from those who have it in favour of more equitable power distribution, those formerly of privilege feel persecuted. Whether or not this sense of persecution is more important than the plight of the under privileged is unimportant; the fact is that these feelings are real, and if the left fails to recognize them at all, it can be counterproductive to the goal of rebalancing power.

The privileged are still privileged enough to foment a counter-revolution, if their frustrated sense of entitlement hardens.

It’s a great article that touches on historical power inequalities, such as slavery in the United States or women’s sufferage, to current-day issues such as LGBTQ communities and The Tea Party.

The author’s conclusion is ultimately that empathy, even for those who we disagree with, is the best course of action. Not because it’s necessarily the right thing to do, but because it’s the best way to get what you want.


Posted on September 22, 2012