First, the 14th amendment often is often applied against the federal government or at least, the 5th amendment is considered its equivalent.. I'd expound on that further but it's irrelevant to the rationale of this particular answer. Moreover, my answer is still, nevertheless, "no".
Before I explain why, I would like to say that this is a good literal interpretation of the word privilege. I do so often prefer interpreting the document that way and I vaguely recall reading some compelling evidence to back that up. However, regardless, another thing that needs to be done during constitutional interpretation is seeing the Forrest despite the trees and read its provisions as whole units where applicable. If you want to take the 14th amendment to that degree of literalism, denying the abridgement of privileges contradicts the equality clause because privileges are inherently unequal by definition:
- A particular and peculiar benefit or advantage enjoyed by a person, company or society, beyond the common advantages of other citizens. A privilege may be a particular right granted by law or held by custom, or it may be an exemption from some burden to which others are subject. The nobles of Great Britain have the privilege of being triable by their peers only. Members of parliament and of our legislatures have the privilege of exemption from arrests in certain cases. The powers of a banking company are privileges granted by the legislature.
"He pleads the legal privilege of a Roman."
"The privilege of birthright was a double portion."
The American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster, published 1828
Also, if not only to prove that the literal meaning had not effectively changed since 1828 'till the ratification of the 14th amendment in 1868, I shall provide another definition:
- A peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor; a right or immunity not enjoyed by others or by all; special enjoyment of a good, or exemption from an evil or burden; a prerogative; advantage; franchise.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1913
Moreover, if we are all born equal as the Declaration of Independence claims, then the 14th amendment annuls all governmental authority because the favoritism of law, whether it is or is not justified, tips the scales in somebody's favor. Surely neither the intention, nor the effect was to implementation anarchy so such a literal interpretation must be dismissed. Thus the 14th amendment requires judicial reconciliation and the method the courts have chosen is that you get equivalent rights but only under equivalent circumstances. As my prior postulations demonstrate, this may be the only reasonable method of interpreting the amendment.
The courts apply three standards of scrutiny to determine whether the circumstances sufficiently justify overriding personal rights and although strict scrutiny (see: West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc.) comes close, none are presently considered insurmountable. A matter paramount to national security will almost always override it in the courts. Consider Korematsu vs. United States, 323 U.S. 214 which is an infamous example case which permitted Japanese citizens to be sent to internment camps during W.W. II . The case is an egregious surrender of "essential liberties" of the sort Benjamin Franklin might deplore in my own opinion, however as the case has not yet been overruled, that only serves to emphasize just how trivial this objection is in comparison
A matter that is paramount to national security is just what the presidential qualifications are to the framers, especially the natural born citizen clause.
Permit me to hint, whether it would not be wise & seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of Foreigners into the administration of our national Government; and to declare expresly that the Command in chief of the american army shall not be given to, nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen
A letter from John Jay to George Washington; Written July 5th, 1787
The idea here is that a person given the most supreme position of power in the government should have undivided loyalty to the nation and its people. The Natural Born Citizenship clause is there to help ensure that somebody who is a patriot from elsewhere to elsewhere does not abuse that power. The right of the people to be secure as a whole is surely more important than what is to be considered simply a privilege, rather than an essential right.