Preferentialism Be My Light

It is no great observation that leftism is structured on fighting for “rights.” From its earliest inception as a viable political paradigm in the eighteenth century, leftists have always claimed to fight for the rights of one group or another, at first God-given but later inherent and implicitly given by Their Unmentionable Gods. Unlike the libertarians who limit themselves to “negative” rights, leftists have never particularly cared about whether the rights they fight for require infringement of other proclaimed rights or not — a stance that is perhaps philosophically justified within the logical framework of rights. Freeing themselves from this, however, has put leftists in the difficult position of finding that some of their preferred rights must by necessity infringe on the rights of others. One cannot, for example, have a right of property for all but simultaneously have a right of food for all, since one will eventually demand that the sanctity of the other be violated. In the end, someone’s rights must be infringed upon for leftists.

It is by necessity, therefore, that leftism as a whole has adopted the solution of preferentialism; that is, they have adopted (or devised) the moral framework that some are more deserving of having their rights guaranteed than others. In simpler terms, because everyone cannot be provided leftist rights equally, leftists pick groups of people to be their favorites; for whose rights they will fight and in whose name they will do their work (whether they want them to or not). This paradigm presents further problems in that it clearly and substantially violates that other pillar of leftism: equality. One cannot be equal to another and yet be less deserving of rights.

This further problem is solved in one of two ways (or possibly three*). The first and most common is that since the only legitimate basis for group discrimination in universalist leftism is that of moral guilt or evil (as this is determined purely by one’s free choices), the singled-out groups for whom rights are not prioritized (or even allowed) must be those who are guilty. To put it another way, the only groups deserving of rights are those who have had them “denied” in the past — in the leftist vernacular: those who have been “oppressed,” most often by whichever group is having its rights limited. This is perceived to achieve some sort of karmic balance, though of course this is a post-hoc rationalization rather than any sort of guiding principle. Of course, in introducing the concept of collective guilt this paradigm still perversely violates the principles of leftism by discriminating against people for things beyond their own free choices (such as being white, male, or any number of other things). Perhaps leftists like to pretend this is “opt-in” guilt and that by choosing to be a member of the persecuted groups one is committing evil, but this is merely speculation (and its immediate spawning thought of being forced into other identities is worthy of a separate post).

(As a side-note, more right-wing leftists, whom we are inclined to call ‘conservatives,’ tend to point this contradiction out, but never make ground because of their mistaken perception that leftist rights may be given to all and that an ‘oppressor’ group to be attacked mustn’t necessarily exist). Since the rights of the ‘oppressed’ tend to require more than their number to be fulfilled, most often it is ‘minorities’ in whichever country who are fingered for preferential treatment.)

The more common examples of this include the socialists (nominally) on behalf of the ‘working class,’ the antiracists (nominally) on behalf of nonwhites, feminists (nominally) on behalf of women, and numerous others. It is a curiosity worth noting, however, that a rather large number have taken the direct opposite position — perhaps in mere contrarianism, perhaps in viewing the attacks of the left as tipping the karmic scale the other way, perhaps in a view of history that has the scales come out differently, or for any number of other reasons. These people choose instead as their preferred groups whites, men, heterosexuals, and typically most of the other groups the rest of the left targets as enemies. Because of their diametric opposition to those on the mainstream left these groups are often erroneously labeled as ‘right-wing,’ though their morals and philosophical foundations are all quite leftist. They are also, for good or ill, growing more common as attacked leftists grow disillusioned not with their ideology but with its unsatisfactory implementation and shift towards a more Post-Trumpian political outlook.

The second way of solving this contradiction is limited to the non-universalist (might we call them limitists?) leftists who see it as much more elegant, practical, and moral to limit the scope of their leftism to a specific polity or ethnicity. In a way this could be viewed as merely choosing the ‘preference group’ based on personal circumstances (i.e. where one lives or with whom one identifies), something declared to be mere arbitrarity by the universalists who lack capacity to understand non-universalist thinking. To these leftists it is the ingroup who are deserving of The Spotlight, whether that be based on their race (or even just nationality), religion, political philosophy, or merely to whichever political entity they find themselves in. It is thus that only “Americans,” “Jews,” or “libertarians” (to give examples) are deserving of leftist rights, and that it is morally acceptable to infringe upon the rights of the outgroup in order to fulfill the rights of the ingroup, a position held by many more conservative or Trumpian ideologues.

(Since the philosophy is never properly codified nor disseminated and because of the disunity of leftist positions on it, contemporary leftism in most places utilizes a pyramid scheme model wherein everyone is nominally guaranteed their rights, and the system is kept from collapsing based on the bet that those having their rights fulfilled never quite overburden those having their rights denied. The similarities between this and fractional-reserve banking, wherein a bank bets that not everyone will withdraw their savings at once lest it collapse, are striking and obvious).

Of course, human greed also plays a significant factor. Many nominal leftists buy into the philosophy based on what it can give them, predicated entirely on them being a part of the group being afforded rights. Given that the guilt-model is the most common, this gives rise to the oft-commented-upon Oppression Olympics — the victim mentality wherein one seeks to prove that one’s group (and therefore oneself) is the most oppressed and thereby the most deserving of The Spotlight. This is a beguiling and seductive mindset, and it ensnares many, if not most, possessing the leftist mindset.

In truth, it all must be discarded. A mentality of victimhood and entitlement is no foundation for civilization and, in a universe where only death is assured, has no basis in reality. The mentality of entitlement is forever voracious and forever hungry; it demands that there always be some group from which one can receive one’s entitlements. A philosophy that demands that oppressor and oppressed always exist — that seeks merely to redistributed these roles — is no basis for justice, for compassion, or for truth, things supposedly held dear by leftists. It is a plan for instability and a plan for eternal rebellion. It is a plan for the infantile and the juvenile who cannot or will not provide for themselves. In the end, it is a plan for death.


* Another way to sort out the problem is by selectively choosing exactly who counts as “human” or a person, and in this way wriggle out of leftist contradictions by labeling the targeted group as not humans or people anyway. Since this goes quite against their rhetoric and indeed sounds quite horrifying it is not spoken of in such terms, but it is easily recognizable in terms of actions actually taken. This is one of the main roots of leftist dehumanization.

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