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Home Anger Privilege

Anger Privilege

If you want to know who has privilege in a society and who doesn’t, follow the anger.

There are people in this country who can safely express their anger. And those who can’t. If you’re
angry that Trump won, your anger is socially acceptable. If you were angry that Obama won, it wasn’t.

James Hodgkinson’s rage was socially acceptable. It continued to be socially acceptable until he crossed the line into murder. And he’s not alone. There’s Micah Xavier Johnson, the Black Lives Matter cop-killer in Dallas, and Gavin Long, the Black Lives Matter cop-killer in Baton Rouge. If you’re black and angry about the police, your anger is celebrated. If you’re white and angry about the Terror travel ban, the Paris Climate treaty, ObamaCare repeal or any leftist cause, you’re on the side of the angry angels.

But if you’re white and angry that your job is going to China or that you just missed being killed in a Muslim suicide bombing, your anger is unacceptable.

If you’re an angry leftist, your party leader, Tom Perez will scream and curse into a microphone, and your aspiring presidential candidate, Kirsten Gillibrand, will curse along, to channel the anger of the base. But if you’re an angry conservative, then Trump channeling your anger is “dangerous” because you aren’t allowed to be angry.

Not all anger is created equal. Some anger is privileged rage.

Good anger gets you a gig as a CNN commentator. Bad anger gets you hounded out of your job. Good anger isn’t described as anger at all. Instead it’s linguistically whitewashed as “passionate” or “courageous”. Bad anger however is “worrying” or “dangerous”. Angry left-wing protesters “call out”, angry right-wing protesters “threaten”. Good anger is left-wing. Bad anger is right-wing.

Socially acceptable displays of anger, from Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter riots to the anti-Trump marches to the furious campus protests, are invariably left-wing.

Left-wing anger over the elections of Bush and Trump was sanctified. Right-wing outrage over Obama’s victory was demonized. Now that left-wing anger led a Bernie Sanders volunteer to open fire at a Republican charity baseball practice outing. And the media reluctantly concedes that maybe both sides should moderate their rhetoric. Before listing examples that lean to the right like “Lock her up”.

Why were chants of “Lock her up” immoderate, but not Bush era cries of “Jail to the chief”? Why were Tea Party rallies “ominous” but the latest We Hate Trump march is “courageous”? Why is killing Trump on stage the hottest thing to hit Shakespeare while a rodeo clown who wore an Obama mask was hounded by everyone from the Lieutenant Governor of Missouri to the NAACP?

Not all anger is created equal. Anger, like everything else, is ideologically coded. Left-wing anger is good because its ideological foundations are good. Right-wing anger is bad because its ideology is bad.

It’s not the level of anger, its intensity or its threatening nature that makes it good or bad.

And that is why the left so easily slips into violence. All its ideological ends are good. Therefore its means, from mass starvation to gulags to riots and tyranny, must be good. If I slash your tires because of your Obama bumper sticker”, I’m a monster. But if you key my car because of my Trump bumper sticker, you’re fighting racism and fascism. Your tactics might be in error, but your viewpoint isn’t.

There are no universal standards of behavior. Civility, like everything else, is ideologically limited.

Intersectionality frowns on expecting civil behavior from “oppressed” protesters. Asking that shrieking campus crybully not to scream threats in your face is “tone policing”. An African-American millionaire’s child at Yale is fighting for her “existence”, unlike the Pennsylvania coal miner, the Baltimore police officer and the Christian florist whose existences really are threatened.

Tone policing is how the anger of privileged leftists is protected while the frustration of their victims is suppressed. The existence of tone policing as a specific term to protect displays of left-wing anger shows the collapse of civility into anger privilege. Civility has been replaced by a political entitlement to anger.

The left prides itself on an unearned moral superiority (“When they go low, we go high”) reinforced by its own echo chamber even as it has become incapable of controlling its angry outbursts. The national tantrum after Trump’s victory has all but shut down the government, turned every media outlet into a non-stop feed of conspiracy theories and set off protests that quickly escalated into street violence.

But Trump Derangement Syndrome is a symptom of a problem with the left that existed before he was born. The left is an angry movement. It is animated by an outraged self-righteousness whose moral superiority doubles as dehumanization. And its machinery of culture glamorizes its anger. The media dresses up the seething rage so that the left never has to look at its inner Hodgkinson in the mirror.

The left is as angry as ever. Campus riots and assassinations of Republican politicians are nothing new. What is changing is that its opponents are beginning to match its anger. The left still clings to the same anger it had when it was a theoretical movement with plans, but little impact on the country. The outrage at the left is no longer ideological. There are millions of people whose health care was destroyed by ObamaCare, whose First Amendment rights were taken away, whose land was seized, whose children were turned against them and whose livelihoods were destroyed.

The angry left has gained a great deal of power. It has used that power to wreck lives. It is feverishly plotting to deprive nearly 63 million Americans of their vote by using its entrenched power in the government, the media and the non-profit sector. And it is too blinded by its own anger over the results of the election to realize the anger over its wholesale abuses of power and privileged tantrums.

But monopolies on anger only work in totalitarian states. In a free society, both sides are expected to control their anger and find terms on which to debate and settle issues. The left rejects civility and refuses to control its anger. The only settlement it will accept is absolute power. If an election doesn’t go its way, it will overturn the results. If someone offends it, he must be punished. Or there will be anger.

The angry left demands that everyone recognize the absolute righteousness of its anger as the basis for its power. This anger privilege, like tone policing, is often cast in terms of oppressed groups. But its anger isn’t in defiance of oppression, but in pursuit of oppression.

Anger privilege is used to silence opposition, to enforce illegal policies and to seize power. But the left’s monopolies on anger are cultural, not political. The entertainment industry and the media can enforce anger privilege norms through public shaming, but their smears can’t stop the consequences of the collapse of civility in public life. There are no monopolies on emotion.

When anger becomes the basis for political power, then it won’t stop with Howard Dean or Bernie Sanders. That’s what the left found out in the last election. Its phony pearl clutching was a reaction to the consequences of its destruction of civility. Its reaction to that show of anger by conservatives and independents was to escalate the conflict. Instead of being the opposition, the left became the “resistance”. Trump was simultaneously Hitler and a traitor. Republicans were evil beasts.

James Hodgkinson absorbed all this. The left fed his anger. And eventually he snapped.

Anger has to go somewhere.

The left likes to think that its anger is good anger because it’s angry over the plight of illegal aliens, Muslim terrorists, transgender bathrooms, the lack of abortion in South Carolina, the minimum wage at Taco Bell, budget cuts, tax cuts, police arrests, drone strikes and all the other ways in which reality differs from its utopia. But all that anger isn’t the road to a better world, but to hate and violence.

Millions of leftists, just like Hodgkinson, are told every day that Republicans are responsible for everything wrong with their lives, the country and the planet. Despite everything they do, all the petitions they sign, the marches they attend, the donations, the angry letters, the social media rants, Republicans continue to exist and even be elected to public office. Where does that anger go?

Either we have a political system based on existing laws and norms of civility. Or we have one based on coups and populist leftist anger. And there are already a whole bunch of those south of the border.

Leftist anger is a privileged bubble of entitlement that bursts every other election. Its choice is to try to understand the rest of the country or to intimidate, censor, oppress and eventually kill them.

James Hodgkinson took the latter course. His personal leftist revolution ended, as all leftist revolutions do, in blood and violence. The left can check its anger privilege and examine its entitlement.

Or his violence will be our future.


  1. Infidel21/6/17

    Quite a good point. I hadn't thought of that.

    Have to finish the rest of the article after I take a nap :)

  2. Infidel22/6/17

    Brilliant and insightful article.

  3. Fantastic. Thank you. I only wish media culpability had appeared sooner in the piece.

  4. Perfectly and convincingly said! If only the left wasn't blind to its faults or so quick to turn the tables and attack the messenger in order to avoid responsibility for their complicity.

  5. Anonymous22/6/17

    Great observations, Daniel. I suppose the aggression and rage of the Left is calculated to bully toward their boundless lust for power. Their rude push is incongruously accompanied by victim cards to lend a moral rectitude flavor.

    This sounds a lot like the behavior of the Global Islamic Jihad.

    Left and Islam both misread stoicism for weakness. They think their transgressions are without cost. Big mistake.


  6. "Good anger gets you a gig as a CNN commentator. Bad anger gets you hounded out of your job. Good anger ... is linguistically whitewashed as “passionate” or “courageous”. Bad anger however is “worrying” or “dangerous”. Angry left-wing protesters “call out”, angry right-wing protesters “threaten”. Good anger is left-wing. Bad anger is right-wing."

    Indeed. That is the left all over and always has been. "Do as I say, not as I do."

    When we do the same things they do, we are "dangerous." And yet it's the left that constantly spew hate speech against conservatives in general, Trump in particular. It's the left that impersonate Mother Guillotine at her bloodiest. It's the left that wistfully write "what if" articles about Trump assassination. It was a lefty that appeared on YouTube carrying a poster that said, Rape Melania, shortly after Trump's presidential victory. And it was a lefty who went on the shooting spree that very nearly ended Majority Whip Scalise's and Matt Mika's lives. But that's no "ominous" because it's only conservatives who are the dangerous ones.

    But as Daniel said, it's ok because their hatred is (self)-righteous. For the left, hating conservatives and wishing their death is akin to hating Satan. You can't blame anyone for hating Satan, can you?

    This has become "the new normal." Yes, like Islamic terrorism, leftist terrorism has become something we have to learn to live with. Well, why not? CONSERVATIVES ALLOW(ED) IT TO HAPPEN.

    But ... we prissily recoil at the idea of protest marches and other peaceful manifestations against the left. "That is not who we are ... we are better than them."

    How nice for us. So the next time another deranged lefty opens fire at a baseball game and kills one of us, or worse, one of our loved ones, we can console ourselves with the pious conviction that "we are better than them." I very much doubt that was the idea behind the old Better Dead than Red, but I'm funny that way.

  7. Reciprocity
    If the leftist retard spazoids, had the slightest amount of common sense, that word should scare the living shit out of them. For god alone help them, if they harm Donnie, or worse. For the wave of pure, white-hot rage that will be unleashed is not something anyone wants to see. But it would happen. And there'd be NO stopping it until it expended itself. How many million RATS and their minions it would consume , is anyone's guess. Tread carefully, RATS

  8. D.D.Mao22/6/17

    So what do you do but attempt to bandage your bloodied psyches stoking more anger.

    Victimhood REALLY? Donald Trump with his rhetoric and demagoguery ran one of the most divisive campaigns both during the primaries and the general election and contributed to the vitriol hatred and division of the country. It was filled with ridiculing women, P.O.W.'s, Muslims, Latinos, The Pope, people with disabilities and Gold Star Families not to mention the adolescent name calling of his opponents. During the course of his rallies he stated that "I wish I could punch the protesters in the face", "Knock the crap out of the protesters would you?", "I would pay for any court cost that any supporter would accrue with their violent behavior while removing the protesters", and "If Hillary gets elected she would get to choose the next Supreme Court Justice and there isn't anything you can do about it. Except maybe the 2nd amendment people." All of which lead to a Federal judge in Kentucky to refusing to dismiss an assault case because he said "It's plausible Trump incited violence." The general campaign was then framed that if his opponent Hillary Clinton won the election the Republic would be in jeopardy of falling. Candidate Trump spent no small part of the campaign putting out the idea that the election is rigged......until he won of course and then he finds it objectionable that the Democrats think it was rigged. The country went from "Lock her up" to Lock him up" ! And most recently the idea we are facing a "Civil War" not only has been suggested by numerous pundits but supported with details of poisoning the water supply with chorea in major blue cities and truck bombing the N.Y. Times and Washington Post buildings were laid out in the comment section of an article entitled "Bleeding America" in the right wing web site "American Thinker." Is your answer to the rebellion you are advocating simply creating more Timothy McVeighs? Meanwhile Conservatives are outraged when a spokesman is refused the right to give a speech on a college campus but when faced with disagreement or even inadequate enthusiasm with their tribal views it's deemed to be seditious because their views alone are the patriotic ones and anyone with opposing views are traitors, cucks, or worst yet LIBERALS. And yet the right exhibits the belligerent legerdemain to insist it is the victim of hatred? This is asinine !

    As I said before lets not pirouette around the truth here. Charles Krauthammer got it right when he said actions like these are what caused the Rep. Scalise shooter. For all the information available with the internet we have slipped backwards into the age of UNENLIGHTENMENT where if you want to be relevant you must follow the tribe. Where civility, principles and the honest exchange of ideas come in a distant second to blindly following the herd. A herd so blindly loyal that it's arrogantly assumed by it's leader that "he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not lose any supporters." These old eyes have seen to many questionable motives over the years by our politico framed by to much questionable rhetoric for me to continue down that path.

  9. I spent much of the day thinking about the insanity of White Privilege and the poor oppressed who boss us whities around telling us to 'check our privilege.' If I were truly as privileged as they keep saying I am, I would tell them to shut their yaps and sit themselves down, because I am privileged and I don't need to listen to anything they say. The fact that they think I will just collapse and sit down, humiliated is proof that I have none. You are absolutely correct in that it is anger privilege they are really talking about.

  10. Soooo good Daniel. The truth is an offense, not a sin.

  11. Anonymous23/6/17

    I work at California Community College. A leftist history faculty member was receiving death threats in the form of notes left on the lectern. He filed a complaint with my office. While discussing the threat, the faculty member noted that he knew the student who was leaving the threats. He said that he was torn about reporting or disciplining the student because the student "was a progressive/leftist." Acceptable hate. Unbelievable.

  12. Conservatives are but prisoners of their own diffidence. The moment you truly don't give a rat's ass what the left thinks, you have stolen the engine of their power. Rant on, brothers. You'd be surprised by how many actually agree with you. And never worry that you might offend the crazies.

  13. Anonymous23/6/17

    Leftists claim that socialism is the next stage in human evolution. No question about it. (try to explain to these people that any scientific theory carries its own built-in refutability…) Scientific in leftist lingo means irrefutable, their leaders are therefore infallible like HappyBarry. The rank and file leftists are angelical creatures, if it weren’t for those deplorables forcing them out of their way... by being alive.

  14. Mr. Greenfield - Thank you for this latest column. You have illustrated the key elements behind the latest outbreaks of politically inspired violence in America, and raised an issue that I hope will be thoughfully considered by our political leaders at all levels of geovernment.

    I suspect that much of their anger comes from the shock they feel from Hil-LIAR-y's loss of the presidency they truly believed she would win.

    Anger is said to be a 'second-level emotion', that is, it results from some other, underlying feeling(s) or is a reaction to some unwanted or negative event in someone's life. Perhaps their anger reflects the loss of the opportunity to inflict a wholesale transformation of America via their communist utopia. Perhaps they so expected to win, they feel they have been denied what was legitimately theirs. Who knows . . . I know that the specifics are not that important.

    However, their violence is of grave concern for our democracy. If the anarchists/communists who call themselves 'Antifa' come to believe they can inflict violence on their ideological opposition forever, without cost, the forces of the Left will only increase the level and frequency of their violent attacks.

    The answer to this challenge is for President Trump to call out the FBI to investigate the Anarcho-Fascists, with the full weight of the federal government behind them, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Secret Service, the Dept. of Homeland Security, the IRS, etc. to identify, locate, arrest and prosecute those involved in these coordinated attacks on the right.

    Many on the right are fearful that this portends a second Civil War - while some actively prepare to defend themselves from such an event, should it occur.

    Only a firm and wide-ranging initiative against the Anarcho-Fascists is likely to prevent this from devolving into even greater violence, bloodshed, and loss of lives, imo.


  15. Michael D Perloff23/6/17

    Crime lord John Gotti was known as the Teflon Don.

    To the mainstream media Barack Hussain Obama was the Teflon President who could do nothing wrong - not the disastrous Iran nuclear deal, not the lies of assurances that Obamacare wouldn't have a negative impact on anyone, nothing.

    Now, the same media presents Donald J Trump as a president who can do nothing right. Any vaguely positive articles will invariably contain mitigating commentary. And as per this article, the left perceives nothing wrong with their propaganda and bias.

  16. Anonymous24/6/17

    Progressives, in the beginning, used to be white female college students wanting premarital sex and they opened the door to the wolf of relativism. The people are tired and have turned their backs on them. Liberals are running on empty with the only support of the wackiest. For example, I don´t give Barry and wife a year before they file for divorce.

  17. Excellent exposé of the Left’s “moral high ground.”

    “James Hodgkinson’s rage was socially acceptable. It continued to be socially acceptable until he crossed the line into murder.” Except that more and more SJWs and celebrities are publicly saying it’s okay to cross the line into murder, especially of Trump and of any “alt-right” person or Trump supporters. Although no celebrity would commit the crime and have his multi-million mansion and income confiscated and he reduced to waiting on tables or ladling out food behind a prison mess hall chow line. No, no, it would be best for a nobody like Hodgkinson to commit the crime. Johnny Depp would never act out his “Pirates” role in real life. Too risky. It always turns out that those with the loudest mouths about “taking down” Trump are in fact all mouth and posturing and no conviction or appetite for “real life.”

  18. Anonymous25/6/17

    Great column, Mr. Greenfield.

    Is your 'comments' function working?


  19. AesopFan25/6/17

    Some similar concepts are the following, although I think Daniel is the first to use anger privilege.


    weaponized empathy

    privilege laundering

  20. Much of the above can be understood by realizing that the left holds that the ends justify the means. This is one reason why so many on the left are suspicious of Christianity - its moral code forbids this. But when the ends justify the means then it is entirely permissible to publicize rumors about President Trump and his appointees without any fact checking. And at its most extreme it's what makes it permissible to publicly fantasize assassinating him - and actually attempting to assassinate GOP Congressmen.

  21. a brilliant incisive article... one of the finest I've read lately... the implications for the future are dire.


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