Ahlgren: The privilege of being woke

Instead of counting their blessings and making the most out of the great gift of living in America, woke progressives feel the need to be oppressed, or an ally of the so-called oppressed, in order to harness the power of moral authority.

What do pronouns, gender norms, “toxic masculinity,” white privilege, and political correctness have in common? They are topics that average Americans don’t care about. They are irrelevant in our daily lives. They are “issues” only the most privileged of countries have the unfortunate opportunity to discuss.

According to Pew Research, the current top five issues Americans are concerned with are the economy, health care, Supreme Court appointments, and the coronavirus — with foreign policy and gun policy closely trailing. To everyday Americans, these priorities are a matter of life and liberty. Yet, we are being bombarded by woke social issues that are merely a matter of privilege and comfort.

The onslaught of these ancillary issues is coming from countless directions. From those who spend their lives in government servitude mooching off the public dime while berating capitalism. From the self-proclaimed thought leaders in our education systems, mainstream media, and pop culture. Even from our supposed sources of truth like the scientific community, which has been highjacked by partisan players and used as a weapon to uphold a pre-determined narrative (the Brown University study on rapid onset gender dysphoria is a great example).

The institutions running our society are subscribing to the dogma of wokeness because, frankly, they have nothing better to do. The United States, and Western countries in general, are tainted by a little something called privilege. No, not the kind of privilege the left likes to parrot, like white privilege or male privilege. No, I’m talking about the privilege of prosperity. I’m talking about American privilege. This type of privilege knows no race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. This type of privilege only knows geography. When you are located in the freest, most prosperous nation in the world, then you, my friend, are privileged.

So, why do we insist on talking about woke social issues that no one actually spends their precious time thinking about? We’re bored. We’re prosperous, privileged, and itching for something to complain about. We live in an era of unprecedented wealth, access to goods, availability of medicine, mobility to move up in society, and liberty to change our circumstances.

In America, the poorest households have goods that only the wealthiest can afford in most nations. According to the Census Bureau, over a span of two years, only 3% of households below the poverty line stayed below the poverty line within that timeframe, meaning 97% of American households that were at one point living below the poverty line moved up into the middle class within two years. Simply put, we aren’t collectively struggling in America.

Time for some nuance: I didn’t say no one is permanently poor. I didn’t say we don’t have homeless or disenfranchised people. I didn’t say every person in the country is considered well-off by American standards. However, abject poverty and disenfranchisement in America are immense statistical minorities, not the norm. Even those below the poverty line are considered wealthy by global standards and enjoy luxuries like air conditioning, a TV, and a phone (according to survey data from the Department of Energy). Of course, there is always room to help the least of us, but to see any trace of extreme poverty in America and claim it is an overarching theme in our nation is dishonest and has no foothold in reality.

I ask again, why do we nonsensically talk about woke social issues that are of no real-world consequence to the average American? Everyone is equal under law. Our nation’s poverty line is 35 times the global average. America is one of the youngest countries yet has the longest standing constitution on earth, providing us extraordinary freedom and liberties. But we are overtaken by declarations of marginalization because the woke left who control the country’s major institutions can’t handle their own privilege. They feel guilty for the prosperity America provides instead of being grateful for it.

The uprising in critical race theory and the notion of systemic racism is another example of how this guilt and search for power has manifest itself. No one has been able to provide substantiated evidence of systemic racism besides pointing to statistical disparities among minorities — excluding Asians of course — and calling that “proof” in of itself.

Contrary to the idea of a racially decrepit America, black Americans are the most successful group of people of African descent in the world. More black families in the United States live in the middle and upper classes than in the low-income bracket. Nigerian Americans have an average income of $5,000 more than the nation’s annual average. If we are a systemically racist country, we are the worst systemically racist country in history.

Instead of counting their blessings and making the most out of the great gift of living in America, woke progressives feel the need to be oppressed, or an ally of the so-called oppressed, in order to harness the power of moral authority. They collect the virtue that comes with fighting against a perceived evil. In the absence of true systemic discrimination and widespread adversity, leftists have created their own faux obstacles to combat in order to fight their internal guilt that stems from their inherent fortune of being an American.

A family in Uganda living on $20 a day doesn’t care about transgender representation in movies or think about the number of women who choose to be in STEM fields. Citizens living under communist tyranny in China and Cuba don’t care about critical race theory or corporate virtue signaling; they’re too busy dreaming of living in a free capitalist society. Woke ideology only exists in prosperity and privilege.

White privilege, male privilege, wealthy privilege, cis-gender privilege, heterosexual privilege, able-bodied privilege — you get the idea — have nothing on egotistical, woke privilege. America isn’t perfect, no country is, but she has done more to alleviate the sins of her past than any other. She has seen more safety, freedom, prosperity, and success than any other. Spitting in the face of that isn’t “woke.” It’s privileged.