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Remember when we used to hear “check your privilege” from progressives about literally anything? Not so strangely, those calls from the Left have gone silent, just at the moment when they’re advocating for policies that glaringly highlight their privilege.
The example that most animates me is school closures, overwhelmingly in urban areas handicapping an entire generation of kids with parents unable to homeschool, hire a tutor, or form a “pod” with other children. These kids are left behind, most of them permanently.
Perhaps most incredibly about the “check your privilege” crowd now turning into lockdown enthusiasts is their total refusal to see how their privilege is manifested in the behavior they encourage. Take this latest article in progressive Vox, imploring people to stop even going to the grocery store because of a new, more contagious COVID variant. Buried at the bottom they write,
Of course, not everyone has the privilege of social distancing. From the United Kingdom to Sweden to Canada, we have evidence that the virus preys on people employed in “essential service” jobs (bus drivers, nurses, factory workers), which don’t allow for telecommuting or paid sick leave; people in low-income neighborhoods; and people in “congregate housing” like shelters, prisons, and retirement homes.
People of color tend to be overrepresented in these groups — but there’s no biological reason they’re more likely to get sick and die from the virus. Simply put: They tend to work jobs that take them outside the home and into close contact with other people, live in crowded environments ideal for coronavirus contagion, or both.
This means that, even when social distancing orders are in place, because of an individual’s work or living circumstances, they may be less able to physically distance. If they test positive, they may not be able to isolate themselves from family members or co-workers.
The writer at least acknowledges the inherent privilege of “social distancing” but mentions it in the context of people exercising their privilege by paying low-income Americans to do their grocery shopping for them. Put simply: They are encouraging the poor to be used as viral human shields. There is something truly insidious about this, and unsurprisingly Vox has a big-government solution to the problem of the virus spreading among “essential workers.”
So policies like free testing, paid isolation, hazard pay, and paid sick leave are more important than ever — and the federal government also has a role to play in setting standards and carrying out inspections to ensure safety for workers.
The solution to low-income and essential Americans being put in harm’s way is to test them for free and let them stay home when they get sick? It hardly seems progressive to use one’s privilege in this way, but if nothing else, this moment in history has exposed how committed the Left is to the social justice ideal they’ve supposedly championed for decades.Published in