David Weston

Toby Young is wrong: most people don’t think virtue comes from victimhood

Toby Young claims that ‘being LGBT is now the height of respectability, while being a white “cishet” male is morally suspect.’ Toby, you’re wrong: virtue and respectability are not based on labels, and LGBT people have many more battles ahead.

I would like to present Exhibit A: David Attenborough.

Why this venerable presenter, you might ask? Well, Toby seems to think that in many parts of the ‘educated bourgeoisie’, virtue is determined by how many victimhood labels you wear. If we were to accept this as true, then it would indeed follow that the bottom rung of the virtue ladder would be filled with men, condemned to eternal suspicion through their inherent whiteness, maleness, heterosexuality, and so on.

If this were true, so-called elites would, for example, be scathing about a white, cis-gender, heterosexual man who was educated at a grammar school and attended Cambridge University. “How morally suspect”, they would exclaim!

Except that I’ve just described David Attenborough. Beloved by most of society, the great majority of us consider Attenborough a morally good figure because of the way he uses his privilege and influence to do good. He speaks for something which cannot defend itself – our natural environment.

What about a white, cis-gender, heterosexual man who attended a private school and whose father owned a 17th century country house in Shropshire? Presumably such a man would be instantly dismissed by left-wing academics and ‘woke’ youths as entirely undeserving of any moral praise?

Enter Exhibit B: Jeremy Corbyn, who exactly matches this description.

While he may not be my political cup of tea (I’m far too ‘centrist dad’ for that) there’s little doubt that his supporters are exactly the sort of people that Toby Young accuses of seeing virtue entirely through victimhood labels. And yet many of them think Corbyn hugely virtuous.

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