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The trouble with woke Etonians Embracing identity politics allows public schoolboys to avoid acknowledging real privilege

There's a row going on down near Slough. Photo by Tom Stoddart/Getty Images

There's a row going on down near Slough. Photo by Tom Stoddart/Getty Images


December 3, 2020   4 mins

I was an Eton rebel once, though not a very convinced or convincing one. Back in the early 1970s, alongside all our personal psychodramas, we rebels were driven (I think) by a sense of the absurdity of our self-consciously patrician institution, with all its flummery of language and clothing. In a pre-democratic era — with a quasi-hereditary ruling class that required training to run a country and an empire — it made some sense, but in the egalitarian, post-imperial age of the Beatles and Labour governments? It seemed ridiculous.

So our rebellion, to the extent that it wasn’t just about smoking grass and listening to the Grateful Dead, tended to be about class and class guilt. Like Malcolm McDowell in the 1968 public school revolution fantasy film if…., we were on the Left. We spoke with mockney accents; one of my friends became a skinhead and slipped away to Stamford Bridge every other Saturday.

Today’s elite public school radicalism is a very different animal. The schools no longer think of themselves as conservative institutions training a ruling class to preserve a national heritage — they are now academic forcing houses attracting and producing a global elite of the “brightest and best”. They think of themselves as academic meritocracies, albeit with a bias towards the affluent, and are often in the vanguard of the most fashionable pedagogical and social trends.

Contemporary race- and gender- based progressivism is therefore no threat at all to the people running the schools, indeed it is positively welcomed by them. One can observe this in the kerfuffle surrounding the Eton master who has been sacked for explaining, and at least partially defending, the concept of patriarchy — it was the Eton authorities who intervened, not an uprising of radical pupils, and some parents and pupils have actually been protesting against the sacking. But in my experience of speaking at London private day schools and knowing plenty of young people who have emerged from them in recent years, progressive groupthink is the norm.

I recently stumbled across an example of this in the alumni magazine of St Paul’s, another elite private school. It featured an interview with former pupil Jonah Freud, who has recently launched a petition to “Decolonise St Paul’s” that has been signed by more than 1,000 current and former students. The letter calls for “educating through a global, rather than eurocentric, curriculum” and “deconstructing the racist fabric of our society”. Jonah, who studied Race and Pop Music at the NYU Gallatin School of Individualised Study, is the son of Matthew Freud, grandson of Clement, himself the grandson of Sigmund. Interviewer Tom Adeyoola writes of the moment Freud was awakened:

“For someone already ‘woke’ it was something closer to home that compelled him to action in writing to St Paul’s; the similarity between the names of George Floyd and his older brother George Freud. In his own words, ‘I have never experienced anything of the fear that George Floyd’s family would have feared and the only reason for that is that I am white.'”

I don’t want to sound cynical about this; it is obviously a welcome development that young men and women, many of whom will graduate to important jobs in our society, have egalitarian instincts and are aware of their privileges. But what about the most important privilege of all: their parents’ wealth? It is rather morally convenient for them to believe passionately in every kind of equality except economic equality.

Perhaps at some unconscious level the elite progressive public school authorities and pupils feel they will get a free pass for their huge financial advantages, if only they shout loudly enough about how they are challenging all other kinds. And as the conformist young progressives agonise about their white privilege it is rather handy that this places them in the same boat as lower income white people in struggling post-industrial towns. If both groups are primarily privileged by their race, the heads of Eton and St Paul’s can with a clear conscience complain about anti-public school bias when Oxford and Cambridge colleges try to raise their quota of people from such low income backgrounds.

“If you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere,” said Theresa May in 2017. It was a clumsily expressed sentiment. But isn’t this exactly what she was talking about? A financial and educational elite, including significant sections of big business, who are increasingly disconnected from the feelings and interests of the rest of the country yet regard themselves as leading the struggle for human progress.

Shaun Bailey, the Tory London mayoral candidate, talks about tackling black disadvantage and widening access to the elite as a means of strengthening the national “team”. This is the kind of language that people of all races can happily support; but a worrying aspect of the BLM protests earlier in the year was how it divided the country, between a big section of the white elite — who embraced it enthusiastically — and the white provincial majority who seemed to be looking on with some scepticism.

Surely, if elite public schools do have any justification in a modern liberal democracy, it is precisely that the people who run them are teaching their privileged pupils to think clearly, honestly and independently about social (and other) problems, not egging them on to embrace the latest fashionable cause. As the greatest of 20th century Etonians, George Orwell, put it: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”


David Goodhart is the author of Head, Hand, Heart: The Struggle for Dignity and Status in the 21st Century. He is head of the Demography unit at the think tank Policy Exchange.

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Andrew Best
Andrew Best
3 years ago

More hand wringing liberal rubbish from a class that has every advantage that life can give them.
Trying being a poor working class man and boy struggling from day 1 with the upper orders now telling us we are privileged?
I despair for the future of working class people with this never ending claptrap from the supposed intelligent people who just want to placate some self loathing without actually making any difference to the rest of our country.
Apart from making our life’s harder and more divided then any time in my life.
Well done with your self flagellation do you feel better now?

James B
James B
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

I studied at Eton between 1976-1980 and totally agree with what you wrote, it is the pathetic politics of virtue-signalling and self-flagellation. I feel incredibly lucky, not embarrassed, to have studied there and find Eton’s attempts at ‘re-branding’ patronising and short-sighted. You’re right, it’s meaningless claptrap.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  James B

Sadly this whole farrago can be laid at the feet of the Provost, William Waldegrave, (Baron Waldegrave of North Hill).

Despite having a brain the size of a planet, and every advantage that money can buy, he has been infected with a severe, possibly terminal dose of wokeness.

In his attempt at self crucifixion, he is likely to destroy the reputation of one of England’s most revered institutions, and one that has stood for more than five centuries.

All the more remarkable since he was a former inmate.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Interesting use of the word “revered”. I wonder what percentage of the population reveres Eton, and what percentage see it as the quintessential symbol of a class-ridden country still ruled by the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

burp

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Something tells me they never let you on the school debating team Richard.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Tut, tut, Kevin, none of that Fenian talk here please!

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Just keep tugging your forelock Mark (or whatever it is you prefer to tug)

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

After 800 years of Saxon oppression surely you can do better than that Kevin?

Even your infamous namesake, who we hanged just over a century ago in Mountjoy, would be disappointed.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

I agree. But for a long as the state school system is devoid of all reason, rigour or discipline, private schools will thrive.

Geoff Cooper
Geoff Cooper
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Agreed. I went to both private and state schools. In many ways my state school was better (facilities, workshops etc.) except in those all important factors of discipline and rigour. The expectation that you must behave and you must work hard and do your best – or else!
State school pupils are let down by the lack of a rigorous and disciplined school culture and the discrimination of low expectations. The new ‘woke’ agenda only makes an already bad situation even worse still.

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cooper

That and British society’s ‘aristocrat anxiety’ which means STEM subjects get devalued. Engineering, IT and even research science all have:
a) Better scholarship options for poor students
b) Better starting salaries
c) More jobs
d) More meritocratic culture where people get in and progress based on competence
than traditional professions like law or academia where a lot of it comes down to who you know or what class you come from. There was a reason the insult ‘Northern Chemist’ existed in Oxford in the 80’s. You can even end up earning more than many of your social ‘superiors’ with arts degrees.
But you never find that out at school.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ferrusian Gambit
rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Rees Mogg’s maternal grandfather was a lorry driver. There’s social mobility for you, and maybe where his entrepreneurial flair comes from.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

I’m confused, is it Jacob or his nanny that has the HGV licence?

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
3 years ago

Replace ‘social mobility’ with ‘hypergamy’ and I’d agree.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ferrusian Gambit
Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Kevin, if you are fortunate enough to have a son(s) you must do everything in your power to send him/them to Eton.

Not only will you get the best education money can buy, but also the inestimable benefits of the Old Etonian Association, an exclusive mafia that makes Sinn Fein look like Noddy. Additionally there is the joy of the Old Etonian Football Association (founded 1871).

However if you insist on sacrificing him/them on the altar of socialism, by sending them to the state system, you will be close to committing child abuse.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

As a matter of fact, and precisely because I went to boarding school, I sent my kids to state schools, unlike the socialist Diane Abbottom. The older one went to a fairly bog standard comp and got straight a’s all the way through followed by a very good Russell Group 1st. The younger one did pretty well too, but chose employment over university, which I thought was fair enough.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

They were both naturally talented and would have certainly thrived in any educational environment, even the bog standard comp, as you say.

What you really get from Eton is the benefit of that elite mafia. Just look at some of the smarter Chambers in the Middle or Inner Temple. Hardly a Wykehamist or Harrovian in sight, the same for some of the older Counting Houses in EC2, and some Regiments of Foot Guards.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

That’s excellent. I haven’t read a more pompous and entitled piece of class snobbery since I last picked up Jeeves. “the smarter Chambers” no less. Did you write it yourself or dictate it to the manservant? It’s great that some of you guys are still alive. It’s living history. By Jove!

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

I like the ” by Jove!”.
So may I take it that the Kevin kinder will not be applying to Eton? You will regret it.

Tami Misledus
Tami Misledus
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Born and brought up a member of the down-trodden classes, I would rather see the country ruled by Rees-Mogg than by Keir Starmer.
That is the Keir Starmer who “fought” terrorism from behind a desk, while throughout the country, mature men were abusing young girls without fear of prosecution..

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

The influence of 3 beloved daughters?

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

Probably, but my Chief of Staff informs me that the runes have been obvious for a very long time.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

The young girls in all too many educated families are more likely to inculcate wokeism into their elders than have it knocked out of them by said elders. Boomers make besotted parents and the young women have been messed up by having to prioritise careers over husbands and children..

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

Ah, fortunately mine turned out to be Valkyries!

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Fortunate indeed. One example of how young women compensate for toxic feminism is when they build careers mothering the men at Calais and beyond, insisting to the rest of us that they are children who must all be brought here to be looked after; or when they prevent the deportation of foreign criminals and terrorists. Their whole no borders extremism can be explained in terms of frustrated maternity.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

A case of Long Greenham Common Syndrome perhaps?

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago

That’s really quite insightful. I suspect a great deal of corporate wokery can be ascribed to CEO’s with teenage daughters.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  James B

The Church of England showed the way, all jolly good atheists together, who don’t believe in the concept of the national interest.

ard10027
ard10027
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

All of which may be true, but how then do you account for the fact that nobody – and I mean absolutely nobody – is making any effort to push back against woke thuggery other than a bunch of privileged rich kids in Berkshire? It really doesn’t say a lot for the vaunted “working class” you’ve just weaponized.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

Maybe the working class push back at election time?

Maybe they think they will be dismissed as primitive oiks if they speak up against wokery? Maybe they’re right and all.

Andrew Best
Andrew Best
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

Try speaking up as a working class man and see what happens.
Our lifes are on a cliff edge every day and one push and we are done.
Would you put it all on the line for no benefit in any way while your just trying to survive?
We dont have the luxury of dissent

ard10027
ard10027
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

Dissent isn’t a luxury.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

The article’s author is hardly to blame for the shortcomings of the institution he describes, even though he is himself an alumnus thereof.

X Y
X Y
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

What progressives, wokes, neo modernists do not like to talk about are the really important privileges : cognitive capacity and good looks. Eton boys typically have these in abundance even if they are from poor backgrounds.

David Cockayne
David Cockayne
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

Right. I’d love to see Jonah Freud and his fellow wokeoids come to my former Pit village and try doing a bit of ‘deconstrucing the racist fabric of our society’ in the local Miners’ Welfare. He can bring the eminent Baron Waldergrave with him as well if he likes.

angersbeagle
angersbeagle
3 years ago
Reply to  David Cockayne

Thats the thing about our “Revolutionaries”, they are very good at revolting and haranguing the general public, but a days work ?…….thats strictly for the plebs!

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

They are petrifed of the tumbrils rolling, as are the bankers and corporatists on both sides of the Atlantic who thought genuflecting would make it all go away. As with Blair and Cameron and the Scottish National Socialists, there is no appeasing these people. They want the lot.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

the SARS2 panic &incompetence hopefully mor ‘;;Ordinary” people will be Sceptical of Globalists &global warmists particularly.

bsema
bsema
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

White privilege is Pizzagate for the ‘educated’.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

Well said, yet again!

Glyn Reed
Glyn Reed
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

Well said Andrew.

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
3 years ago

Yes. All very well to jump on the bandwagon of BLM and divide the working class people along racial lines, when it is the colour of your money that really counts.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Karl Juhnke

That’s what IdPol is all about, innit?

Bill Eaton
Bill Eaton
3 years ago

Let’s look on the bright side. The more that the highly privileged, the wealthy and the powerful lecture the rest of us and tell us how privileged we are and how bad that makes us, then the more likely it becomes that the rest of us will exercise the only real power we have, at the ballot box, and elect into office a government that will reflect the views of the majority, often labelled the silent majority. This appeared to have happened almost a year ago, but events since then have proved that our hopes in this direction were, sadly, misplaced. It is quite possible that the next election is far enough away for a credible opposition to the current government to have time to emerge and gain traction. I doubt that I need to explain on here why I am sure that it will not be the Labour Party.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  Bill Eaton

“silent majority”

Homer’s phrase for ‘the dead’. Nixon (a more educated and intelligent man than often realized) was making a joke.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

Really?
Where precisely in Homer will you find the words ” silent majority”?

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Google exists.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

So you don’t actually know?
Which is hardly surprising as “Google” attribute it to Petronius, or do you know better?

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Was it not the awful Anagnostopoulos who introduced the term ‘Silent Majority’ into American political discourse? Along with ‘Nattering nabobs of discontent,’ etc. While it was his father who changed the family name to Agnew and the family religion to Episcopalianism, he was something of an autodidact who may well have come across and discussed the phrase en famille, whence little Spiro could have picked it up and carried it forward against the Noisy Minority.

s williams
s williams
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Nattering nabobs of negativity
Alliteration sir

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

Well you old bluffer, have you managed to find ĂÆ’ĂŽÂčĂâ€°Ăâ‚ŹĂŽÂ·ĂŽÂ»ĂŽÂź Ăâ‚ŹĂŽÂ»ĂŽÂ”ĂŽÂčĂŽÂżĂË†ĂŽÂ·Ăâ€ ĂŽÂŻĂŽÂ± in Homer yet? You have had four hours and more!

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Bill Eaton

Davos the Billionaires lecturing US on how we must never board an Airplane or eat more than A Nut cutlet!

nick harman
nick harman
3 years ago

I went to a minor public school at around the same time.

It was genial place, relaxed, the not very bright pupils were helped to do as well as they could. The hearties played sports and people like me smoked spliffs behind the pav etc.

Today my old school seems a forcing house for the children of the reasonably rich, Chinese and Russians, any child that might lower the all important averages is disposed of.

I get creepy emails from the CEO (sorry headmaster) detailing how woke they are and will be. All photos feature a rainbow collection of pupils, but rarely a white one.

Every square inch has been used to cram more of those delicious fee paying pupils in.

My parents were not rich, they worked hard to pay those fees.

Mark Gourley
Mark Gourley
3 years ago
Reply to  nick harman

This sounds very much like my own old school, especially the woke emails. It wasn’t on the South Coast, by any chance?

Sue Blanchard
Sue Blanchard
3 years ago
Reply to  nick harman

Aha!! See how rich paying non-whites fit the diversity narrative!

tim_jee
tim_jee
3 years ago

The idea that no white person might suffer at the hands of the police the same way George Floyd did…is utter buffoonery. He’s clearly not seen the death of Tony Timpa..a white man, who died in very similar circumstances and all on film. Clearly Mr Timpa’s privilege wasn’t working that day.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  tim_jee

Let me add Duncan Lemp and Daniel Shaver to your list, the latter being quite possibly the single most egregious and gut-wrenching event one can imagine.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  tim_jee

Of course. This whole slant of “open season on black people” and “white police killing black people with impunity” is an utterly dishonest distortion.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  tim_jee

It would be utter buffoonery….if it was actually claimed by anyone. The straw men really come in for a beating on this site. There needs to be a protest

Straw Lives Matter!

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

so how come Timpa and others are never mentioned? The straw man is the pretense that black people are specifically targeted by law enforcement for no greater reason than being black.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

How about an anecdote? I used to have to drive up and down the New Jersey Turnpike every workday in order to get to and from work. I am somewhat compulsive counter, and one day I decided to count the number of people pulled over by the police according to race. I discovered that slightly more than 50% of them were Black. From time to time I also counted the apparent race of all the drivers in general and about 10% of them were Black. So Black drivers were definitely getting preferential treatment. After awhile I wrote a letter to the governor of New Jersey calling her attention to the discrepancy, and suggesting that it might lead to trouble in the future. Of course, nothing changed, until about a year later someone sued the State of New Jersey about the issue, with far more facts and observations than were obtained by my little hobby. They won their case, too, of course, but if any money was involved it was the taxpayers who were on the hook, not the governor or the police, so in the end everyone was happy. Of course this was in America; no doubt everything is better in the UK, or wherever you are.

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Here’s another anecdote, I’ve been pulled over three or four times in the USA, on one occasion the (white) cop seeming like he was itching to nick me. Another (Hispanic) cop was understanding of me driving down a street on the wrong side of the road on account that I was English and had a lapse of concentration. If you’ve never been to the States it’s hard to imagine how many cops you see all over the place 24/7. I’ve never been pulled over in the UK and the only time you see a cop in our small town is when they are lost. I suppose the point of my meandering is that anyone one in the UK who tries to paint British police in the same light as US police is an idiot in my opinion.

Blue Tev
Blue Tev
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

“if it was actually claimed by anyone”
Groucho marx: “Who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?”

The constant blm logos plastered everywhere from football telecasts to corporate emails, the constant wailing over individual cases of black men shot by police (typically drug addicted or selling, criminals, violently resisting arrest), the cries of black lives being supposedly unsafe because of police related deaths versus indifference towards the 1000 times higher black lives claimed by other black criminals, the demands to defund police”Š.

Do you think we are stupid or blind?

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Priamvada Gopal was rewarded with a Professorship for stating her opinion that white lives don’t matter.

Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

If “anyone” includes “the primary, high-profile example in the article under discussion”, let me point out that this is *precisely* what Freud said. Quoted verbatim in the article. “My family would never suffer the fear that George Floyd’s did, for one reason only: I am white.”

J A Thompson
J A Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  tim_jee

Or the Australian lady in America (name escapes me, sorry) shot dead by the police she had called for help. They did not even get out of their car to do it!

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  J A Thompson

We’re efficient over here about shooting.

Peter Ian Staker
Peter Ian Staker
3 years ago

Yes, it is annoying that certain privileged people have nothing better to do than take up the latest fashionable cause. This is just another indication of their privilege. Similar to the champagne socialists. To be more cynical, I would say spouting platitudes is a way to obtain money and power. Repeating propaganda may remove some of the middle class guilt but it isn’t going to change things for the oppressed that they pretend to understand. I would like to see some of these students taking up low paying jobs, working with the underprivileged, but I suspect many of them will go into banking and finance and this will be a passing phase or a conversational topic at dinner parties.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
3 years ago

Privilege is what the powerful wish to talk about so that they don’t have to think about Power.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

Explain.

Edit – 16 likes for a deep-sounding but incomprehensible comment. You are Jordan Peterson and I claim my 5 pounds.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

I’m working on this. It will take a while. Part of the problem is that, for me at any rate, composing decent texts requires significant revision, shortening, clarifying and the like which I can only do after a few walks in nature (or, better for me, time spent in a small boat on the sea). By that time, of course, nobody here may have any interest.

What would work better, and be faster, would be the opportunity to invite you all out to my favourite local pub, where we cannot meet now, and stand you all a round and then discuss and argue about this stuff. And this one you can file under ‘imppossible’ given our geographic distance from each other. (Incidentally, we tried a ‘bring your own pint to the zoom’ virtual pub meeting, and it didn’t work out at all. Completely the wrong atmosphere. I think that whatever sociologist or psychologist works out why this didn’t work will be onto something.)

Ha! You were editing your post as I wrote this. However, something to think about. Privilege is not the same thing as power, though of course those people who have plenty of the second tend to have plenty of the first.

steve eaton
steve eaton
3 years ago

More to the point I think is that the people with the power don’t mind getting called out on privilege as they can spread that “affliction” out to a majority of the population (at least in the US). They do not stand out.

Now power on the other hand truly is an elite inequity and the one thing that they care most about keeping. Nowhere to hide in the school of fish on that one. They will do everything in their power to keep the focus on the “privilege” in an effort to keep the torches and pitchforks from marching on the power.

This , in my opinion, why so many of the CEO’s are so quick to sign on to the wokeness.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

Ok you’re not Jordan Peterson. I think Steve below gets to where you mean. It’s more than they don’t want to have to talk about power than think about it. Having said that I’m not really sure who the shadowy “they” refers to, and I don’t use “woke” as a term of abuse. I like people who care about others.

Blue Tev
Blue Tev
3 years ago

What the”kerfuffle surrounding the Eton master who has been sacked” shows is exactly the opposite of your suggestion that progressive groupthink is the norm, and it’s refreshing that young boys are standing up for what they consider right and against the sexist vilification of their gender.

And why this constant whingeing about “privilege. ” There will always be some more fortunate, say lazy Middle East people sitting on oil reserves and enjoying a luxurious lifestyle without having to work or create anything, or blacks in the US enjoying far better lifestyles, benefits and media attention for perceived slights compared to blacks in Africa or enslaved in other regions.

What matters is access to upward mobility through education or hard work being open to all classes, and there is no problem on that count as Indian and Asian migrants show in every western country.

peterdebarra
peterdebarra
3 years ago
Reply to  Blue Tev

… the enormous black multi millionaire enclave on Martha’s Vineyard shows that access works ” but you won’t find the enclave dwellers on the island ferry of course .

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Blue Tev
Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago

Equality is and always will be a pipe dream. The sooner the world accepts this, the better. Also, can white people stop agonising over the sins of their ancestors, if you want to be put in chains just go to your local bdsm adventure site.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

So is world peace. Who should we launch an attack on tomorrow?

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

I mean Jim down the street’s been playing his music at an obnoxious level for a while now.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

So is world peace. Who should we launch an attack on tomorrow?

Many wars and conflicts have been started and waged specifically in the name of peace.

This is the problem: if you are willing to go to extreme lengths to achieve the outcome you want, you can end up in paradoxical situations where the cure is worse than the disease.

Imagine that you could get rid of wealth inequality overnight: tomorrow morning everyone in Britain will wake up with exactly the same wealth. Well, what about next year, when wealth has started to get differentiated again? Do you level the playing field again? Why not, if equality is your objective? But if you do, what possible incentive is there for anyone to look after and make wise use of their finances?

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

I’m not looking to achieve wealth equality. I’ve never said that I was. I am very strongly in favour of equality of opportunity and yes that should mean frequent evaluation and rebalancing to make sure it’s working.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

In which case I apologise for misrepresenting your position.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

I’d be glad to take up the advocacy of a communist position, if you’d like, but proof would have to be in the material world, and it’s very hard to find communistic societies that haven’t either remained small on the village or tribal level, or haven’t been attacked by the state they’re embedded in, like the Dukhobors in British Columbia. It looks like equality of any kind — opportunity or outcome — is more of a moral or aesthetic choice, than one based on, say, economic advantage or standard of living. I find the construction of equality of opportunity much more difficult than of outcome, however. For outcome, you just divvy up all the goods equally at the end of the day; for opportunity, however, in an otherwise competitive society you’d have to give everyone the same parents, relatives, neighbors, neighborhoods, schools — maybe even the same bodies. It would be pretty difficult!

On the other hand, inequality isn’t so great, either.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

If I find a communist who wants your help, I’ll let you know.

I’ve no interest in equality of outcome. Though I wonder how you’d manage that ‘just divvy up’ part.

Equality of opportunity imo is a goal that every civilized society should aspire to.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

There are actual instances of successful communism. The largest one I have read about were the aforementioned Dukhobors, who got along pretty well until attacked by governments in Russia and later in Canada. I don’t think equality of outcome in the sense of a communist distribution is an impossible problem. Equality of opportunity seems a lot harder, for the reasons I give above, and I didn’t even list all the problems. Also, one must ask ‘opportunity to do what’? A lot of capitalism, for instance, consists of taking advantage of people because they have less money, information, connections, or luck than oneself, does it not? How do you propose to equalize that? The winners will vigorously oppose any redistribution, regardless of how they won, and they will have more political power than the losers.

J A Thompson
J A Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

Loved that ‘old’ (sixties?) saying;
Fighting for peace is like f****ing for virginity!

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Logic fail. Your suggestion implies that V.Rajkhowa is arguing from
1. Equality is a pipe dream
to
2. Ergo, we should actively promote inequality.

He isn’t.

I recommend that you re-read your own comment above relating to Straw Men, and then have a good long look in the mirror.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Your ego is tripping over your ergo.

I imply he’s saying ‘ since equality is a pipe dream, we shouldn’t even bother trying to make society more equal’

We don’t apply that logic to other goals. Knowing that perfection isn’t possible doesn’t stop us from trying to improve.

Still don’t see that Straw man. Where is he again?

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Don’t always agree with you…but love “your ego is tripping over your ergo”.

steve eaton
steve eaton
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Aristotle: “The goal of war is peace; Of business, leisure.”

You on the other hand a knee jerking fool.

Peter McKenna
Peter McKenna
3 years ago

I have never experienced anything of the fear that George Floyd’s family would have feared and the only reason for that is that I am white.’

Have to wonder what they teach them at these ‘top’ private schools. In absolute terms, more white people have been shot dead by the US police than black people (370 vs 192) this year. Most of those come from working-class/blue collar households.

It would be more accurate if Mr Freud had said the only reason he’s never experienced anything of that fear is that he benefits from class privilege.

It is classic misdirection – from the very real material privilege that buys you what you like in life, including an expensive private education that keeps you from making contact with the lower orders…to a notional statistical ‘privilege’ that you can spread all over the less-privileged.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter McKenna

“more white people have been shot dead by the US police than black people (370 vs 192) this year”

African Americans are only 13pc of the population. They’re punching well above their weight in police bullets taken.

Having said that, I still think your ‘class privilege’ point is well made. It’s not either/or it’s both.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

African Americans are only 13pc of the population.
And they commit 50% of the homicides, usually killing other black people, so they are also ‘punching well above their weight.’ Police departments also include no shortage of black officers, command staff, and chiefs, particularly in bigger cities. Are they, too, targeting other black folks?

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

As I said, it’s not either/or. Poor people both commit most crime and are the victims of most crime. Black Americans are disproportionately represented among the poor. My point is the racial division is systemic. What’s yours?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Systemic is you’re pointing to a half-century of left wing policy that replaced the black father with govt. If you’re pointing to decades of purposely consigning inner city kids to the worst of schools by actively fighting initiatives like charter schools and choice. But no one who talks of ‘systemic’ issues wants to consider the obvious systemic factors. Blacks today are more free than at any time in our history and more likely to derive preferential treatment than discrimination. But that’s Shelby Steele talking, and what does an older black man know.

You can’t hand wave poverty and crime, then blame cops for some alleged animus toward black people. And it doesn’t help to treat black people as pets and mascots in need of whitesplaining as to what their problems are.

frances heywood
frances heywood
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Shelby Steele – very good. Also, Glenn Loury, John McWhorter, Coleman Hughes, Jason Riley, and many others – Black academics and cultural commentators who talk a great deal of sense about race and the police in the US.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Not forgetting the grandaddy of them all, the towering Thomas Sowell, a black academic who relentlessly slays the progressive left with a devastating combination of facts and ridicule.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Just making random assertions doesn’t make them true. When was the Left ever in govt for 50 years? Go count the years.
Who forces inner city kids into the worst schools? You think letting the occasional one out counts as success? “More preferential treatment than discrimination” is frankly ludicrous when you’ve started your life at the bottom of the pile. The poor and black don’t need to have their situation explained to them, it’s the Right (strangely always about 90pc white) that can’t seem to grasp the concept of systemic division and marginalisation.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

What random assertions? LBJ launched his great war on poverty in the mid 60s and the result has been a massive spike in single-parent birth across all groups but most pronounced in black communities, and a poverty rate that has hovered within the same range for 60 years.

When was the Left ever in govt for 50 years?
Until 1994, the Dems had a decades-long Congressional majority. In numerous states and cities, the same party has been in charge for even longer, usually in the cities with substantial minority numbers.

Who forces inner city kids into the worst schools?
The people who run public education, the ones who actively fight against charter schools or choice or any other initiative that challenges the monopoly, the ones no one has ever accused of being right wing.

“More preferential treatment than discrimination” is frankly ludicrous when you’ve started your life at the bottom of the pile.
The child of a black lawyer gets preference over the child of a white truck driver. Then there is affirmative action, the diversity/inclusion racket, and a host of other programs that use discrimination as the ‘cure’ to discrimination.

There is but one culture in the US that actively celebrates its own denigration, and the few blacks who dare notice this are attacked for doing so. White enablers with their soft bigotry and head patting don’t do much to help; a huge swath of the BLM protest crowd is affluent white kids who talk about the evils of privilege but don’t appear to be giving away any of their own.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

For as long as you continue to ‘process’ poor kids of all colours through hopeless state schools that are run for the benefit of left-wing teaching unions, the vast majority of those kids, and their kids, and their kids, will remain poor.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I know many teachers. I’ve never met one, at state or private school, who wasn’t in it as a vocation.

‘Run for the benefit of left wing unions’ is a random collection of English words strung together. Utter gibberish.

In essence, your argument is that it serves the poor right for not sending their kids to Eton.

(F- for fail Mr Bailey. Must try harder).

Martin Price
Martin Price
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Just to provide balance Mr Ryan I too know several teachers and none are in it as a vocation.

Peter McKenna
Peter McKenna
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

African Americans are only 13pc of the population. They’re punching well above their weight in police bullets taken.

I did say in absolute terms: my point related to the assertion that being white offered protection from being killed by the police.

The phrase ‘white privilege’ is hardly devoid of meaning in a society that saw an enormous land-grab by Europeans augmented by the working of that land by slave labour. In such a context the free market consolidates that privilege from generation to generation. It is statistical privilege: poor white Americans don’t share that privilege. Freud OTOH has a deeply monied family tree.

Alison Houston
Alison Houston
3 years ago

https://youtu.be/-HvV40u-yEk

Here’s my poem on the subject, though written in the summer, before the Eton story.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Very nice. I have subscribed to your channel and look forward to more of your poetry. With regard to one line of the poem, it can be said with some certainty that the Floyd family is now very comfortably in the top 1% given the money that poured in for them.

Whatever, ‘Floyd George knew my father, my father knew Floyd George’, as the Kinnocks sing around the breakfast table.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Kind of a tough gig, though, in spite of the money.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Excellent.
Did I catch a glimpse of a lovely dog in the background? A Whippet or Saluki perhaps?

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

What I find more depressing than spontaneous outpourings of cynicism and nastiness, are ‘clever’ ones that have been carefully arranged so that they rhyme.

What about pondering the concept that maybe not everyone who attends BLM protests does so from a position of privilege and wealth? Or even that there could conceivably be a real injustice to protest? Not as much fun, I suppose.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

This presuppoees that ‘equality of outcome’ is ‘just. Most people of course have never stopped to define the concept of ‘justice’. What they see in their head is a picture of one large nasty man, with an evil leer, standing on the neck of another smaller man. Safe to to say this is, to say the least, somewhat of a simplification, as far as I’m concerned.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

I assume you’re replying to a previous comment.

I’ve never said or promoted ‘equality of outcome’. My own philosophy is to argue and vote for ‘equality of opportunity’

But if you want to find a loaded dice, then you watch the outcomes. If the same guys always win, then the question to be asked is ‘is it luck, skill or fix?’

Blue Tev
Blue Tev
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

If Indians and Asians turn out to have the best educational outcomes and university results, then the question to be asked is it “white racism”, or a combination of irresponsible missing black dads, black contempt towards education and social responsibility and massively higher than average black crime rates

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Blue Tev

The Chinese have been handicapped in America since the 19th century. It doesn’t work though. They just work all the harder.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago

They also stick together, especially along familial and tribal lines. A bunch of collectivists! And then there’s socialism with Chinese characteristics….

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Or even that there could conceivably be a real injustice to protest?
What is this injustice? The purported reason – that cops are racially targeting black people for execution – is false. The numbers clearly show that 75% of civilians killed by cops are NOT black. And while I realize that blacks are 13% of the US population, they also commit more than half the homicides, almost always killing other black people. How come those lives never matter?

If the argument is bad cops not being held accountable, I’m in. Because for every George Floyd, there’s a Tony Timpa. For every Breonna Taylor, a Duncan Lemp. Yet, I’d wager that few in the protest mob have ever heard of either Timpa or Lemp, and even fewer have any interest in learning who they were.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Nobody said white lives don’t matter. The missing word from BLM isn’t ‘Only’ at the start, it’s ‘Too’ at the end.
The injustice is a systemically divided society, with police violence being a painfully obvious indicator of who’s at the bottom of the pile.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

That is simply not true. You can’t have it both ways. When one population is involved in crime at an exponentially greater level than other populations, don’t act surprised that the more active group draws more attention. By the way, no one stops BLM from adding “too” except for BLM itself, which loses its collectivist mind when someone dares say all lives matter.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

They don’t need to add the ‘too’. Everyone who wants to, knows what it means. Actually, the police kill poor White people at about the same rate they kill poor Black people; in America at least, race generally signifies class location. So why don’t poor White people go into the streets when one of their number is unjustly harmed by the police? Because White indifference to the fate of White poor people is yet another success of IdPol. ‘We’re White, so it’s all all right!’

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Why don’t African Americans riot when one of them is killed by another? This is over 200 times more likely to happen than being killed by a policeman. Why don’t African Americans riot when an African American policeman is killed? Police are 18 times more likely to be killed by an African American than the other way round.

On deaths of Caucasians at the hands of the police, they are twice as frequent as for African Americans. I have forgotten the figure for deaths of Caucasians at the hands of African Americans but it was very high indeed, and still no riots.

steve eaton
steve eaton
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Or maybe it’s because like most black people killed by police, most white people killed by police are killed while perpetrating crimes, fleeing the scene of violent crimes, resisting arrest, and etc.

The poor white mother however is much more likely to sigh and say that she tried to teach him better instead of running down the street screaming about injustice in that somebody killed their beloved violent criminal son.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

What about pondering the concept that maybe not everyone who attends BLM protests does so from a position of privilege and wealth? Or even that there could conceivably be a real injustice to protest?

For BLM in the UK, what is the real injustice to protest?

Second, regarding privilege and wealth, why are the most vociferous social justice warriors found on the richest US university campuses?

Why are white liberals in the US more likely to think that racial injustice a serious problem than African Americans and Hispanics?

It’s very hard not to get the feeling that this is a manifestation of some psychological insecurity, like guilt or shame.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

The injustice is a society divided along racial lines into rich and poor. You can say “white people are poor too”, but that doesn’t make racial division untrue or better. I lived for a long time in London and almost never saw a mixed race middle class couple. I was always struck when visiting Paris that it was something you’d see often. The psychological shame is real. The country should be ashamed of itself. The wealthy woke kids are the educated voice of a new generation, who I think are finally calling time on this. Good luck to them.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

The injustice is a society divided along racial lines into rich and poor.

Britain is a rich country. British people whose families have lived in Britain for a long time a) are likely to be white and b) have consequently accumulated some wealth, though wealth levels of course vary considerably.

Most of those who migrate to Britain come from countries that are much poorer. It is therefore utterly logical that they won’t have as much wealth as someone whose family has lived in Britain for generations. That is simply unavoidable.

That is the logical, understandable and natural starting point. But the starting point is only a starting point, and the situation is changing. The ethnic groups in the top average earnings brackets in the UK are now British Chinese and British Indians. As a result, these two ethnic groups are becoming wealthier, both in absolute terms and relative to white British people. (The Indian-origin Hinduja family, for example, are the second richest family in the UK.)

When these two groups overtake white British in terms of wealth as well as earnings, which will logically happen, will you say that white British people are suffering from racial injustice?

The country should be ashamed of itself.

All serious international sociological research has shown that the UK is one of the least racist countries in the world. You should be ashamed of yourself for trying to pretend otherwise.

The wealthy woke kids are the educated voice of a new generation, who I think are finally calling time on this.

What specific policies or actions have been proposed to end this perceived “injustice… [of] a society divided along racial lines into rich and poor”?

David George
David George
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Why assume that inequality is caused by injustice and is, therefore, something to be ashamed of.
There are obviously many reasons for inequality, some sort of injustice may have something to do with it but mostly it’s fully deserved. It’s just.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  David George

That may be your intuition or prejudcie, but it’s kind of hard to prove.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

Even in America there are harrowing descriptions of all “white” BLM mobs burning out Somali families. Vietnamese shopkeepers suffered the same fate. It is not justice these fiends are after but Maoism, the very antithesis of justice.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago

I’d like to see an analyze some of those descriptions. Got any cites?

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

I can’t post links on this site. But if you look up the subject on Youtube you will find a whole lot of examples, alas.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago

I searched using the search string ‘white BLM mobs burning out Somali families’ and got a lot of overheated rhetoric but no actual cases that fit the description. I’m interested in the event (if any) because it sounds like the work of agents-provocateurs, not necessarily professionals.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Why agents provocateurs? There must have been an awful lot of them if so. More likely that you are falling foul of Californian censorship – not so acute as on Twitter and Facebook, but nevertheless quite prevalent on Google and growing on Youtube.

Dr Anne Kelley
Dr Anne Kelley
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Wonderful poem which just about sums up the privileged hypocrisy of the rich young.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Brilliant.

Paul
Paul
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

You made me shiver. You could read a telephone directory and make it sensual.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
3 years ago

Is there any Black disadvantage at all these days in any part of the economic spectrum? Would Black parents who could afford to send their children to Eton be denied a place if the children passed the entrance exam? Would a middle class Black person be denied a middle management post he / she was qualified for? Would a poor black person who was prepared to work hard to improve his/her lot find it any more difficult than a similarly motivated poor white person? That might have been the case 20 + years ago, but it is not today. Indeed I would assert (because I have no data to back it up) that Black people of similar economic and social status are advantaged over their white counterparts these days.

So whilst it is true that Black people are disproportionately represented at the bottom rungs of society, that is because when the majority of their ancestors arrived in the country they were on the bottom rungs, unlike many Indian and Chinese immigrants who were much higher in their own countries and therefore started much higher up the ladder in this country.

It takes real effort to climb the social and economic ladder and most people only make 1 or 2 rungs per generation. Yes it was probably harder for Blacks at the bottom to climb the first few rungs when the Windrush generation arrived, and it is still very hard now, but that is not just true for Blacks but for everyone.

I detest the inherent racism in the term “white privilege” as well as its patent untruth. Judge people not by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. And you can replace “colour of skin” with all the other protected and unprotected characteristics that are totally irrelevant to whether a person can do their job or would be fun to socialise with.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

There are already Etonians of African heritage in the House of Commons, and not all young. The opportunity has been there some time. They are very popular with the public too.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
3 years ago

There were a few blacks at my middle to bottom tier independent school 35 years ago, there were many more Asians. Apart from the few white people who destroyed their lives through drugs, as far as I know all who went to school with me have done as well as you would expect people who came from a background that could afford independent education and then had independent education at such an establishment to do.

Whilst this is largely anecdotal evidence, it supports my view that middle class Blacks have not been disadvantaged in my lifetime.

Paul Salveson
Paul Salveson
3 years ago

A good piece – it’s bizarre that the Left seems more than ever beholden to the privileged elite. Previously Dave Goodhart has argued very well that being ‘from somewhere’ is an important part of a political identity, yet it is completely incomprehensible to many ‘left-wing’ thinkers, largely because they aren’t rooted anywhere. So the rise of the SNP bewilders them. Time that the English regions started to shout as well, getting away from an English politics that is totally London dominated (with a very high proportion of public school kids setting the agenda)

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago

Well, I applaud the 1200+ Eton boys who have written an excellent letter of protest and petition in defence of Will Knowland and free speech, that’s a good sign.

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
3 years ago

” It is rather morally convenient for them to believe passionately in every kind of equality except economic equality.”

Good point. It’s also worth noting it’s a lot cheaper to grant preferential treatment to a minority group than it is to confer the same benefits to the wider society.

There is a significant degree of pork barrel politics in today’s social justice movements.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

when is it worth noting that granting preferential treatment to any group is prettier term for discrimination, which I’m told is wrong.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

The wokerati deserve all the mocking and ridicule that normals can muster. At one point, perhaps they did attract the ‘best and brightest,’ though it was usually the ‘best and most connected.’ And the schools in the US, at least, have fallen from the notion of believing in academic meritocracy. Just ask the Asians who find themselves shut out in favor of lesser students who are essentially being set up for failure.

Surely, if elite public schools do have any justification in a modern liberal democracy, it is precisely that the people who run them are teaching their privileged pupils to think clearly, honestly and independently about social (and other) problems, not egging them on to embrace the latest fashionable cause.
It appears that the train has long since left that station. These places are decidedly illiberal, full of folks willing to instill group think that treats any deviation from the dogma as an act of heresy. They are the embodiment of a society that has the luxury of debating first-world problems but not the self-awareness to realize what it’s doing.

mark taha
mark taha
3 years ago

Like the tradition of public school Marxists – one of the few things Harold Wilson.and I have in Common is a dislike of that species!

David Shaw
David Shaw
3 years ago

Well written David. The Political Correct message coming out of Simon Henderson and some the leaders of our top institutions is sanctimonious hypocritical drivel. All that are in a privileged position(through elite schools) should thank their parents for spending vast amounts of money , accept that there is privilege, that there always will be and everyone, even the communists, want it. Then go on and make the utmost out of their own education and lives so as to make a positive difference to their country.
WOKE is cultural Marxism and a danger to not only the institutions but the very foundations of our Western Democracies and should be crushed NOW. Freedom of Speech is threatened and it is therefore paramount that our Political Leaders should start making it illegal to get in the way of it!

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Good piece. For these people, ‘Go woke, go broke’ never applies.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

Borrowing from Goodhart’s own terminology, one can’t help feeling that this is yet another example of the ‘anywheres’ diabolical distraction tactics designed to divide and rule the ‘somewheres’.

mark taha
mark taha
3 years ago

Is it a privilege? My day school experiences
made me opposed to boarding schools on principle- they’re unnecessary and unnatural and I can prove it. I also despise Political Correctness and wish the woke would go to.sleep!

Sue Blanchard
Sue Blanchard
3 years ago

If Eton was truly woke it would disband immediately, in recognition of (white) privilege.

If an Etonian (former or current) was truest woke, he would renounce his unearned social status and wealth and join the proletariat.

Neither scenario will happen. So now we have to witness the wokeism of an organization and organizational group, neither of which will fundamentally change but expect the less fortunate to feel their pain. Please. Spare us the insincere and meaningless virtue signaling.

If you are Eton/Etonian, truly care and want to share your good fortune – and yes – privilege, then share your wealth with charities and give back through charitable works. Otherwise, save me from your crocodile laments.

Paul Goodman
Paul Goodman
3 years ago
Reply to  Sue Blanchard

Kwasi Kwarteng has no unearned social status or wealth. Just clever and hardworking parents and his own intellect and industry.

John Private
John Private
3 years ago

‘… and the only reason for that is that I’m white…’
Well you’re wrong there young Freud. Look up the death of Tony Timpa.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago

“a sense of the absurdity of our self-consciously patrician institution, with all its flummery of language and clothing.”

Yes, how different from the egalitarian 60s revolutionaries, with their apparently compulsory Che tee-shirts, kaftans, catchphrases, joss-sticks and other paraphernalia.

Ben
Ben
3 years ago

I have no objection to these institutions so long as their alumni back up their words with actions. When Etonians start giving the lead in Milton Keynes and Merthyr Tydfil, Southampton and South Shields can we say we live in One Country. Jacob Rees-Mogg ventured north and graced Teeside with his presence. For a day. Before getting on a train and heading back to London. Come on OEs: step up. A nation awaits your leadership.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago

Writing as someone who had all these toy-town revolutionary characteristics at a minor private school back in the 1970s i can see how it happens. Our generation (mostly) grew up and out of it, but with the schools themselves now on board with their inmates this growing up process may no longer happen. If not then these young princes and princesses may achieve what generations of swivel eyed, hate filled leftists have hoped for, the total destruction of private education in the UK. This would be fine if there were a state sector to step in but there isn’t. So longer term the little princelings may have more to fear than a twitter storm, and if so it serves them right.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

I’d shut down the private schools in the morning. All of them. I’d also close all religious schools. I guess that makes me swivel eyed and hate filled.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Only if you want to destroy learning as an end in itself, damaging pedagogically good schools without first creating an alternative is not just swivel eyed hate, its the action of a madman.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

You’re right. The day after tomorrow. I’ll need a little time to shift all the resources around.

Peter McKenna
Peter McKenna
3 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

Private and selective schools don’t tend to be ‘pedagogically good’. Many settle for writing down and reading out – reproductive, rote and surface learning rather than facilitating critical analysis.

Selective schools can usually get away with this old-fashioned teaching because they rely on student academic ability and her/his home environment.

If they really were pedagogically good, they wouldn’t need to select. They could take in the lowest-achieving inner city kids and send them on their way to leadership roles.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter McKenna

Not my experience in direct hire of over 1000 staff in the last 30 years…. State schools produce erudite, articulate and numerate pupils as exceptions. Private and selective schools produce them as the norm. The schools’ pedagogical performance is a major part of the equation. The culture of the public sector/lowest denominator is the other. The few state school pupils who are able to operate at high levels of scientific and technical commmunication tell me they have often been persecuted for showing this ability. This is mostly by other pupils but directly and indirectly by the staff too.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

You have a point with regard to the religious schools, although all state schools now preach the religion of Woke, which may well be more damaging than most traditional religions.

As such, private schools are now the only schools that actually teach anything. The great shame is that they were on their way out until Labour’s wicked abolition of the grammar schools.

Blue Tev
Blue Tev
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Don’t forget private vacations, privately purchased cars and private housing.
All symbols of privilege.

What we need is complete state control over schools, housing, leisure so that we can ensure “equality’

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Blue Tev

That whooshing noise was the point going over your head.
The schools aren’t “symbols” of privilege, they are the privilege that pre-destines the chosen few.
Level the playing field from the start, and the kids who merit it can go on to have as many cars and holidays as they want.

Terry Mushroom
Terry Mushroom
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

I guess it does.

David Lonsdale
David Lonsdale
3 years ago

Some years back I was invited to take my state school daughters to a Careers evening at a Public School that was “reaching out” to local high achieving children. Passing a stand advertising a college of law I overheard a parent being told “By enrolling your son on this Course for only £35k he will be guaranteed the inside curve to a prominent position in the legal profession.” That stuck with me, irrespective of ability money gets you anything.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  David Lonsdale

I’m sure that parental wealth is a crucial indicator of the better genes necessary for being a top lawyer.

Fred Atkinstalk
Fred Atkinstalk
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Clever point.

Completely wrong, of course.

Jonathan Story
Jonathan Story
3 years ago

There is no problem with privilege as long as the way to and from privilege is open.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Story

Circular logic there Jonathan

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Also it’s not really privilege, since one of the primary privileges is the ability to hold on to your position and stuff, and pass them on to your family and friends.

Mike Spoors
Mike Spoors
3 years ago

We need to spare a thought for all these poor souls being educated in elite schools, forced into Oxbridge and then into upper echelons of the Civil Service, the City, Politics, Media and the Church. All this and now White Privelege to be burdened with as well. Still, it ensures that their will be a sufficiently large pool of recruits for the Guardian and the BBC so that we can at least be sure that whatever else the best people will be telling us what we can, but more importantly cannot, think say or write. As that old etonian might have said, We are all woke now, but some are more woke than others.

Peter Mott
Peter Mott
3 years ago

Also, more recently, the author of Head, Hand, Heart about the overvaluation of cleverness in our times.

David Foot
David Foot
3 years ago

What I find incredible here and in USA is that. Education seems to be colonized by Marxists and worse still.

Marxists like the “wokes” example Antifa and “Black Lives Marxists” are getting their money and support from big corporations and all those who are supposed to be clever and to thrive on merit and individualism and freedom of thought.
It is as if the lucky and powerful ones up there are out to cut their own throats. I fail to find any logic on either side of the Atlantic.
It also sounds as if USA which is the Renegade British Empire of the Americas because its kiddie indoctrination has been found out (Roosevelt etc) and everyone knows that USA is an Empire which slaughtered the free , massacred the brave and replaced them with Europeans, now they seem to be in the same situation in which “the Real Thing” the British Empire was in 1945, full of Marxists and without a McCarthy, it seems it might even split up. We shouldn’ t allow attacks on our Empire because it was the first ever to eliminate slavery and built the most successful and desirable nations ever.

USA and UK need to define themselves and to say we are who we are and we are where we are and here we stay, after all any BAME person in the UK or in USA is blessed and much better off than under the government of their brothers, that is why so many are here in our countries after running away from the governments of their brothers or their cult.
It would be madness to instigate those cultures in the successful lands of the
Anglo-Saxons and Celts and these ideas of Marx that we should force outcomes of X% of this and Y% of that when we should really be governed by merit, merit should be what we are about. Something is terribly wrong here and we are dead if we don’t fix it. In 2019 the Marxist / IRA were thrown at the leavers of power of England itself (The UK has already been broken up by the Marxists).
What is happening is incredible. Education needs protection before unprepared young people are coopted by the Marxists in to suicidal snowflakes.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago
Reply to  David Foot

The US is arguably the most racially diverse place on Earth. I was posting on a Quora question about why the US is terrible at accepting multiculturalism. One of the answers was about how France did it better and was so much more enlightened. France is 95 percent white. In the USA Asians alone are 6 percent of the US population and well behind Black and Hispanic populations. Plus the USA is 330 million people. LOL. The “woke” are insane. They have no grip on reality at all.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

I’m not sure that France is 95% white given that it is roughly 10% muslim. Of course, there are some white muslims, but very few. And, of course, there are not insignificant numbers of black Christians, and people of Vietnamese origin etc.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Roughly 3.5 percent black, 1.5 percent Asian. 10 percent North African. Mainly Berbers but some Arabs yes. These are mixed races so a bit tough to classify.

Blue Tev
Blue Tev
3 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

The way it works, the more open and tolerant you are, the more under attack you will be.

Whites, for all the faults of their ancestors, are the most tolerant today.
Hence…

Hugh Oxford
Hugh Oxford
3 years ago

Why do people find this at all surprising? Identity politics and wokery in general are a product and a weapon of the neoliberal globalist corporate elites – the only people with enough money to send their kids to Eton.

Eton are just following the money.

ian.davitt
ian.davitt
3 years ago

The Elite know how to preserve their wealth and power and will change with the times to do so (if necessary). So embracing post-modernist and cultural Marxist ideologies is a master stroke. No more social mobility from sink estates in Northern England, that would be ‘white privilege’.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  ian.davitt

Don’t despair, elites have an excellent track record of destroying themselves.

Four self styled elites were destroyed by the Great War, although three got off comparatively lightly, whilst the fourth was exterminated.

Adolph was ultimately destroyed, as was the wretched USSR, and all its odious siblings, save one.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago

The headline has one word too many: “The Trouble With Woke…” is enough.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago

As I’ve been saying for the last year or 2, the “woke” are in desperate need of a good night’s sleep.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago

“it is obviously a welcome development that young men and women, many of
whom will graduate to important jobs in our society, have egalitarian
instincts and are aware of their privileges.”

To me it is obviously an UNwelcome development. There is no-one on earth who actually believes in ‘equality’. Ask any woman.

Dave B
Dave B
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

Unless, as Professor Peterson, one advocates for equality of opportunity. Equality of outcome, agreed, ’tis a most unwelcome development for a myriad of reasons.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave B

There is ‘equality’, but it derives from each human as an individual being subjected to the same horrendous, exiguous terms of living and choosing. The idea that people in a ‘democratic’ country are prevented from exercising choice, because of their ‘social’ circumstances, which are actually trivial in import, is to me, quite false.

This does not of course apply to undemocratic ‘societies’, where ‘free choice’ does not exist in the same way.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Apparently Wykehamists now refer to themselves as Wokehamists.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
3 years ago

The remark about “the most important privilege of all: their parents’ wealth” is accurate and applies more widely to progressives: it’s far easier to cry mea culpa about things you can’t change, like sex and race. Doing so about things you can change- such as how wealthy you are- might lead people to expect you to do something about it.

I do wish this article wasn’t so sneering about the “latest fashionable cause” however. Dismissing a viewpoint because it’s popular is as bad as dismissing it because it’s unpopular. Eton would have done better to invite someone of equal stature and ability to this teacher to put the opposite position- a much better approach than sacking the man.

Teo
Teo
3 years ago

The public school caste will become victims of their own ritual purity- reduced to a self-loathing black humour cult.

Louise Henson
Louise Henson
3 years ago

Here endeth the self-flagellation. Ah! Manzanilla with olives and Manchego! Thank you, darling.

C S
C S
3 years ago
Reply to  Louise Henson

There’s nothing poncy about manzanilla with olives and manchego if you’re Spanish!

leznikm8
leznikm8
3 years ago

Spot on

Peter KE
Peter KE
3 years ago

The Eton and upper class privileges are because of wealth not whiteness. White privileged does not exist for the poor white.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
3 years ago

Yes. Let’s talk about Decolonization.

The point is that the Brits in their colonies governed by “indirect rule,” leaving the existing culture and politics intact. In India, obviously, this led to the Indian National Movement and the Decolonization of India.

But our lefty friends do not believe in “indirect rule.” They believe in bombing existing religion and culture and politics until the rubble bounces. There will be no Decolonization of lefty ruled communities, because there will be no “indigenous” religion or culture or politics left.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

Interesting how this palaver over free speech at Eton, occurred in the same week that another former member of staff, Mr Mathew Mowbray was convicted at Reading Assizes of eight counts of child sex offences against pupils.

No doubt the timing was purely coincidental?

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Eton currently is in a state of terminal Woke.
The Provost must resign forthwith, or all will be lost.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
3 years ago

The author is only half right. He understands the guilt side of wokeness: “Perhaps at some unconscious level the elite progressive public school authorities and pupils feel they will get a free pass for their huge financial advantages, if only they shout loudly enough about how they are challenging all other kinds.”
But he misses the other half, the hypocrisy. Wokeness is about creating an elite class entirely in line with Eton’s elitist history. To be an elite class requires an elite morality. Wokeness does this through the rhetorical device of demonising the lower classes and calling them immoral. All woke issues are fake: anti-racism, anti-homophobia, trans-rights, women’s rights, environmentalism; all fake issues that the elite fake concern for solely for the purpose of demonising others. Wokeism is entirely right wing, capitalistic and imperial. It pretends to be left wing and egalitarian because after WWII the right was stained by national socialism; wrongly, of course as national socialism was as much socialist as capitalist, if not more. But the stains were proclaimed to be right wing stains and have not been removed since. So it is not possible to proclaim capitalism as morally superior, thus they call themselves left wing. See them for what they are. Call them woke, call them out.

Tami Misledus
Tami Misledus
3 years ago

Not only Old Etonians.
By taking up the cause of the poor (not that he did that much to alleviate poverty himself), Marcus Rashford has directed attention away from his obscene wealth.

Tami Misledus
Tami Misledus
3 years ago

Not only Old Etonians.
By taking up the cause of refugees (not that he has done that much himself – and cause of the EU against the thick racist Brexiteers – Gary Lineker has directed attention away from his obscene wealth.