This was originally written as a footnote to an entry on Aquarionics.

I can't currently find a useful definition for what I refer to as the "Internet Liberal" definition of Privilege, though there are starting points. It's basically an abstraction of "White Privilege": and "Male Privilege":

The concept is this: For every attribute you have, people will make assumptions about who you are. It happens automatically, and this is something people will see in themselves and they will check. This is not what I'm talking about though.

For every attribute that you have, you will make assumptions, because that's how the world works for you.

I'm a white male, aged 25-34, living in a modern city. I can assume I'm not going to be arrested for not looking like I belong where I am, for example. I can assume the world works a number of ways purely because, in my experience, it does. That's my Privilege, with a capital P, and one of my duties as a member of society is to recognise when I'm arguing with someone based on it.

It is not entirely my responsibility to fix society, but it is important to recognise that the way the world works for you may change for other people in ways you cannot only not empathise with, but cannot imagine. You are not, incidentally, required to empathise, but to recognise.

Check your privilege.

(This article is not complete, and never will be. As I find better ways to express what I actually mean, I'll try to update this. In the meantime, if you feel that what I have said is insulting or unfair to you, I'd ask you to email me (nicholas at aquarionics dot com) with your thoughts, though please assume I have transcribed my brain incorrectly, rather than that I'm out to insult you).