Phi Beta Cons

Thou Shalt Kill Thyself?

A video of a debate at Harvard University is circulating showing a black student calling on white students to commit suicide because of their “white privilege.” Only a small part of the whole debate is available, but one surmises that the preceding discussion had to do with the white students insisting in the face of the idea that “Black Lives Matter” that “All Lives Matter.” The black student, Miguel Felician, an activist from the University of West Georgia and a national prize winning debater, seems incensed at that thought, and asks, “Why do white people have the right to affirm their life.” He further declares that insisting that “all life has value is not good…since white life is based on black subjugation.” And he continues a little later, “There is no ethical reason that white people have the right to live,” and says that affirming black life means that “white death has to occur.” From what I can see, the suicide idea seems to come from the white students as a rhetorical challenge–since our lives have no value according to you, should we commit suicide? And instead of seeing the ridiculousness of his argument, Felician doesn’t drop a beat, yes, you should put your lives on the line and “affirm your suicide,” because, to spell it out in so many words, your lives are based on the enormity of the injustice of “white privilege.”

Well, we truly have passed into Nazi territory when young people think they have the right to deny a whole group of human beings the right to live, even if it were in a hypothetical, theoretical, devil’s-advocate vein, and, unfortunately, the heated way in which Felician speaks belies the idea that he is doing so only for the sake of argument. 

This is the kind of nihilistic thinking promoted by the postmodern relativistic education of today which posits that there is no objective truth, only concepts and configurations based on subjective experience. Even the most basic principles, such as the right to one’s own life, an a priori right invoked in the Declaration of Independence, and beyond any discussion or dispute, are being negated. 

It is interesting, though, that the black student does use a kind of logic. In fact, a logician might be able to construct a perfect syllogism based on the false premises that are promoted in higher and lower education today, such as the idea of “white privilege.” Since this idea really has no practical bearing on education and actually does nothing to help the black students to whom it is preached, not to mention the white students, it stays in the realm of theory and intellectual bullying. So roughly the syllogism might go something like, white privilege negates the value of black life, negating black life is evil, therefore those possessing white privilege, that is, ipso facto all whites, should be eliminated. As I say, that is rather rough, and there are a few leaps of logic in there, but this is evidently the kind of reasoning being prompted by the mindless concepts of today. 

One thinks of Siddhartha Gautama, the future Buddha under the bodhi tree undergoing his great trials before the moment of his full enlightenment. When the tempters get to their final challenge, and ask him what right he has to exist, the Buddha touches the ground–the earth itself testifies to his right to exist. That is, no one has to justify his right to live. Not open to debate.

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