The Dark Void at the Heart of Globalization

Are the Politics of Nihilism a Backlash Against the Enlightenment?

When I was a gloomy 16-year-old grasping to find some meaning in the world, my father gave me a tattered copy of social philosopher Michael Novak’s The Experience of Nothingness. Seriously.

There have been times over the past few decades when I’ve considered this “gift” a few yards short of insensitive and maybe even borderline teenager abuse. But I’m quite certain Dad’s intentions were no more malicious then than when he took me to see Annie Hall when I was 11.

The essence of Novak’s argument—and to some extent Woody Allen’s …

More In: nihilism