Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
If you haven’t already, take a few minutes to listen to Jay Nordlinger’s Q & A interview with Heather Mac Donald regarding the sad state of affairs at Yale University and on the importance of humanities, when taught properly. Mac Donald also made a potent — and much-overlooked — point that having the opportunity and the means to study for four years at a residential college under the tutelage of dedicated scholars and teachers is the height of privilege. To make academic demands on such professors regarding matters of which you are (almost by definition) ignorant of is arrogance of the worst kind.
The irony of the matter is that it’s hard to imagine a group of people more obsessed with hunting-down privilege and more blind to their sense of entitlement than modern college students. Privilege has no moral content: It’s neither good nor bad, but simply something people have to varying degrees, and in varying ways. If one realizes that one is privileged, the proper response is to be grateful and humble and (ideally) see it as an obligation toward others. In contrast, entitlement — the belief that one is owed something (perhaps, a privilege) — is almost always toxic and the only valid response is to drop it immediately.
That the world is filled with injustice, suffering, and despair is nothing new (a fact that great literature can reinforce). That so many of us are so relatively free of such things should be seen as a privilege that — depending on your teleology — we’re either blessed or fortunate enough to have. None of us are entitled to it and we should act accordingly.Published in