If you are an Executive Platinum member or Premier Access member or a member of Delta's SkyMiles program or U.S. Airways Silver Preferred, American Airlines AAdvantage Elite, or any number of other such programs, you get, in some airports, to go through an accelerated security check and in almost all cases, you get preferred boarding privileges.
And not only is this preferential treatment given, but it doesn't seem to bother anybody. And that is actually what surprises me even more. After all, we're all supposed to be equal now, right?
Imagine, for example, if, say, males received such preferred privileges over females. Or if Christians received them over Muslims. Or, heaven forfend, if married couples got preferred treatment over single people. There would be immediate and vocal outrage.
Why is it that preferential treatment based on wealth (which is what frequent flyers and business travelers have that others don't) is considered acceptable and other kinds of preferential treatment are not?
James Kalb answers this question in his new book Against [Inclusiveness]: How the Diversity Regime is Flattening America and the West and What to Do About It. He explained what I see at the airport in the first two paragraphs of the book:
Liberals pick and choose their discriminations. Financial, bureaucratic, and academic distinctions are acceptable, while natural and traditional ones are not. You can choose a Yale man over a Harvard man--the schools are a bit different, so their products may differ--but not a Yale man over a Yale woman. Engineers can earn more than janitors, and Chinese-Americans than the Scoth-Irish, but if schools discipline blacks more than whites, that is a gap that must be closed.
The idea, it seems, is that there is something odd and irrelevant about distinctions such as sex, family, kinship, culture, and religion that makes it wrong for them to have material consequences, unless the consequences disrupt the effect of such distinctions in general. People seem to think the principle is obvious, so it is never explained, but the idea seems to be that the informal social hierarchies and the traditional patterns of conduct and belief that related to them have no legitimate functions. We should, it appears, carry on our lives exclusively through relationships that are either strictly private and idiosyncratic or contractual and bureaucratic.Kalb has the great gift of making sense out of the seemingly senseless. In The Tyranny of Liberalism and in this new book, he roots to the root liberal assumptions that govern their beliefs and behavior. He is a cultural anthropologist, a Margaret Mead--only with liberals instead of Samoans. Oh, and unlike Mead, he's actually right about the subjects he studies.
Read more here.