I grew up in the wealthiest county in America. Doesn’t mean we were filthy rich (upper middle class), but I never lacked for anything that could be paid for in cash.
Most of my friends from junior high on came from extremely wealthy and/or influential families. Hardly any of it was “old” money — most of my friends had at least one parent or grandparent who came from a working-class family. Some of their parents immigrated here (legally) from impoverished nations. One even came here as a refugee.
Parents generally want their children to have the best things in life. These parents were no exception.
My friends were denied nothing. Many of them were given cellphones and credit cards before they were old enough to drive. 16th birthday present? New car was standard.
Most of my friends went off to expensive private colleges. Few of them lasted beyond the first couple of semesters.
The ones who did manage to finish college all have masters degrees in either social work or education. Make of that what you will.
Those who left school generally remained unemployed throughout their twenties, still living off of (but not with) their parents. Their parents paid their rent, their bills, and (unwittingly) for their drugs. A few of them were gifted townhouses or fancy condos.
They couldn’t find jobs because they never bothered to look. They advocated for universal healthcare because they knew it was only a matter of time before they’d be kicked off of their parents’ plans.
The girls got involved with left-wing activism early on because it was trendy to call yourself a feminist. The guys got involved much later (around the time of Occupy Wall Street) once they realized prestige couldn’t be siphoned off as easily as cash.
We were the kids who were told we could be whatever we wanted to in life — regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. We believed it, and we filled our heads with such wonderful dreams.
The part they left out was that those dreams wouldn’t simply be handed to us by some surrogate parental entity — we’d have to work towards them, and success is never a guarantee in life.
My friends aren’t stupid. A lot of them are highly-intelligent people. I think deep down they realize where they messed up, only the sense of shame is more than they can bear.
And so they fall back on their intelligence — see themselves as the enlightened, intellectual elite — as if IQ alone were something to be proud of. (I have far greater respect for a mentally-challenged individual who can hold down a job than I have for a worthless genius.)
Disagree with them and you are ignorant. Or bigoted. Or simply blinded by your own privilege (or by a lack thereof).
It’s far easier to blame one’s own failures on an oppressive, capitalistic, patriarchal system than it is to re-examine one’s own life choices. And it’s far easier to smear someone you disagree with as racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. than it is to address their ideas directly — particularly on issues of economics.
Which is why everyone right-of-left these days is automatically racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. — regardless of their race, sex, sexual orientation, etc.