Only The Sangfroid

Mark is of fair average intelligence, who is neither perverse, nor morbid or suspicious of mind, nor avid for scandal. He does live in an ivory tower.

These are his draft thoughts…

Footprints in the Sand… A Story of Privilege

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with my privilege.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
Most of the time there was one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed
that during the hard periods of my life,
when I wanted to get into
university, a job or a taxi,
or make rape jokes at a comedy night,
I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to my privilege,
“You don’t exist!
I have noticed that during
the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one
set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most,
you have not been there for me?”

My privilege replied,
“The times when you have
seen only one set of footprints,
is when I carried you.
And kicked sand in the eyes of the other kids.”

“Oh, that’s okay then,” I said. “Carry on.”
And he carried me home.

8 responses to “Footprints in the Sand… A Story of Privilege”

  1. lol no.

    I was just after your opinion. I know nothing about Rawls but I read those pieces this morning and they seemed to be kind-of, sort-of similar to your excellent poem about privilege.

    • I think Krugman’s piece misrepresents what’s going on in Rawls in order to make a smirk-worthy joke. Rawls’ project is to reconcile individuality with equality in the liberal framework using an almighty intuition pump (how people would act behind the veil of ignorance). One interesting critique of Rawls is that it further renders privilege invisible. Behind the veil of ignorance, you don’t know if you’re from an ethnic minority, a woman, queer, &c. But these are perspectives that matter. In effect, Rawls makes the straight, white male perspective the ‘default’ perspective but tempers it with: ‘But there’s a chance you might be from a minority so give some crumbs to them. OooooOOOOooOOOOoooOOOoooooOOOOOoooooh.’

      • The thing I took from Bernanke’s speech in particular was that it seemed so progressive. Basically if we want to strive for meritocracy (and he implies we should) then those with the most privilege need to do the most for others.. “share their luck with others”. Yet this is from a person with a background as a republican and who has given his entire life to the study and practice of economics, the belief in the rational.

        Perhaps I’m confused but I would think publicly, his argument holds sway with a large majority of people. That, a) meritocracy is on the whole beneficial, and b) if it is true that the ‘luckiest’ get ahead the furthest in a practical or demonstrated meritocracy (an assumption) then those people are require to share. But maybe I’m just projecting my own world view onto a society which in practice would disagree (as evidenced by the embrace of individualism across the developed world). Is this my veil of ignorance, or is this just all too meta?

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