Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The entrenching of privilege

In The Ego Behind Anti-Welfarism Ed Butler has written an interesting article on they way "Australia is actively entrenching wealth and privilege, to its own long-term disadvantage":
This ego manifests itself in an archetype which no doubt we’re all familiar with. The successful child of privilege who ‘earned’ all of their success. Born into a probably white, reasonably comfortable family in a reasonably comfortable, perhaps even well-off, part of town.

Good school, stable family, probably a little socially conservative, almost certainly not a rebel. Good school led to good uni, and now they’re a solicitor, banker, accountant or management consultant.

It could be the kid born into privilege who is sent to the best schools, with a stable family, and has friends with equally happy households.

It could be the woman born into the family that owns the bulk of the Pilbara.

Of courseNo doubt they’ve worked hard to get where they are, but the ego arises in their belief that their success is entirely attributable to their hard work and smarts. It’s the logical fallacy made famous in The West Wing – ‘post hoc, ergo propter hoc’. In short, ‘A’ happened, then ‘B’ happened, hence ‘A’ must have caused ‘B’, ignoring the myriad ‘C’s’ that also contributed.

To quote a US President, they didn’t build it.
But once embedded, this mentality colours everything. Voters feel that those worse-off than them deserve minimal support, while any attempt to limit their own access to the public teat is merely tossing obstacles in the path of their hard-won successes.

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