Many are tempted by the thought that nothing ultimately matters, and in some this thought becomes an oppressive mood that paralyzes and renders life unlivable. Leo Tolstoy's "My Confession" is perhaps the best expression of this dark and oppressive nihilism. But the sense that nothing matters contains an insight which is as it were the silver lining of the dark cloud of nihilism.
The insight is that nothing finite is truly satisfactory, worthy of our ultimate concern, or finally real. It is an insight that serves as prophylaxis against the smug self-satisfaction of the worldling and his idolatry of the transient.
The nihilist is closer to God than he thinks, closer than the worldling, and closer than those for whom religion is a palliative and a convenience.
Here, by Steven Hayward, with a tip of the hat to an old friend, Ingvar Odegaard. My comment:
Whites who speak of 'white privilege' would do well to reflect as well on 'black privilege.' One of the 'privileges' of blacks these days, apparently, is the right to riot and loot when a decision of the criminal justice system goes against their prejudices.
There is a lot of talk these days about white privilege. I don't believe I have discussed this topic before.
1. White privilege is presumably a type of privilege. What is a privilege? This is the logically prior question. To know what white privilege is we must first know what privilege is. Let's consider some definitions.
D1. A privilege is a special entitlement or immunity granted to a particular person or group of persons by the government or some other corporate entity such as a university or a church on a conditional basis.
Driving on public roads is a privilege by this definition. It is not a right one has just in virtue of being a human being or a citizen. It is a privilege the state grants on condition that one satisfy and continue to satisfy certain requirements pertaining to age, eyesight, driving skill, etc. Being a privilege, the license to drive can be revoked. By contrast, the right to life and the right to free speech are neither conditional nor granted by the government. They can't be revoked. Please don't confuse a constitutionally protected right such as the right to free speech with a right granted by the government.
Faculty members have various privileges, a franking privilege, a library privilege, along with such perquisites as an office, a carrel, secretarial help, access to an an exclusive dining facility, etc. Immunities are also privileges, e.g., the immunity to prosecution granted to a miscreant who agrees to inform on his cohorts.
Now if (D1) captures what we mean by 'privilege,' then it it is hard to see how there could be white privilege. Are there certain special entitlements and immunities that all and only whites have in virtue of being white, entitlements and immunities granted on a conditional basis by the government and revocable by said government? No. But there is black privilege by (D1). It is called affirmative action.
So if we adopt (D1) we get the curious result that there is no white privilege, but there is black privilege! Those who speak of white privilege as of something real and something to be aware of and opposed must therefore have a different definition of privilege in mind, perhaps the following: