A prominently displayed bulletin board at Appalachian State University has been taken over by campus collectivists in an effort to encourage certain students to “check their privilege” during their daily walk to class.
The board is displayed in the Plemmons Student Union building, which ASU calls “the centerpiece of the Appalachian campus.” The board contains various different posters that condemn white, male, cisgender, heterosexual, Christian, and able-bodied persons who are unaware of their inherent societal privilege.
This board isn’t the first of it’s kind at Appalachian State University. Just last year, students in the East Hall dormitory constructed a similar display that denounced students who belonged to certain demographic groups.
The bulletin board features fliers from a campaign started at the University of San Francisco which intended to draw attention to the perceived advantages that certain members of society inherently receive at birth. When I reported on this campaign in April 2016, I noted that students had complained that the campaign had divided students more than it had brought them together.
The reason for this conflict stems from the campaign’s adherence to collectivist philosophy – or the idea that society should prioritize communal over individual interests. As Jack Hunter pointed out in a provocative think piece on the shooting of five Dallas police officers, in a collectivist society, the worth of an individual is often judged solely on the subgroups to which he belongs. What the political right and left fail to realize, is that it is horribly unjust to rob individuals of their natural right to live freely, unmarred by judgments based on subgroups with whom they may or may not consciously have chosen to associate.
Privilege based on demographic associations is inherently a collectivist concept. The assumption that all members of certain demographic groups are better off than all members of others is what allows third-wave feminists from affluent upbringings to tell white males from poor and broken neighborhoods to “check their male privilege.” It’s what will allow Lebron James’ children enjoy a lower university admission standard than that of a poor white Cleveland teenager.
The common saying, “everyone you know is fighting a battle you know nothing about,” reminds us that the redistribution of perceived advantages often hurts those who actually need the most help. It’s time that privilege theory is revealed as a discriminatory collectivist doctrine that robs individuals of the opportunity to live their lives free from the perceived value society places upon them before they are born. Because the reality is that no race, gender, or creed has a monopoly on hardship or privilege.
Tom Ciccotta is a libertarian who writes about Free Speech and Intellectual Diversity for Breitbart. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org