I want to deal with the view of Friedrich Nietzsche on "nihilism". From wikipedia "This is exactly why Nietzsche states that nihilism as "absolute valuelessness" or "nothing has meaning" is dangerous, or even "the danger of dangers": it is through valuation that people survive and endure the danger, pain and hardships they face in life. The complete destruction of all meaning and all values would lead to an existence of apathy and stillness, where positive actions, affirmative actions, would be replaced by a state of reaction and destruction. This is the prophecy of "der letzte Mensch", the last man, the most despicable man, devoid of values, incapable of self-realization through creation of his own good and evil, devoid of any "will to power" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihilism#Nietzsche
As such nihilism means for Nietzsche the rejection of creativity and of self-affirmation. This is how Emma Goldman thought of the mission of anarchism through nietzschetian (and Stirner´s) lens: "Friedrich Nietzsche and Max Stirner have hurled blow upon blow against the portals of Christianity, because they saw in it a pernicious slave morality, the denial of life, the destroyer of all the elements that make for strength and character. True, Nietzsche has opposed the slave-morality idea inherent in Christianity in behalf of a master morality for the privileged few. But I venture to suggest that his master idea had nothing to do with the vulgarity of station, caste, or wealth. Rather did it mean the masterful in human possibilities, the masterful in man that would help him to overcome old traditions and worn-out values, so that he may learn to become the creator of new and beautiful things."
"The Failure of Christianity"
"The most disheartening tendency common among readers is to tear out one sentence from a work, as a criterion of the writer’s ideas or personality. Friedrich Nietzsche, for instance, is decried as a hater of the weak because he believed in the Uebermensch. It does not occur to the shallow interpreters of that giant mind that this vision of the Uebermensch also called for a state of society which will not give birth to a race of weaklings and slaves."
"Anarchism and Other Essays"
So nihilism for Nietzsche was the sense of not being able to have a creative self-affirming live and a life of conformity, passivity and mediocrity. It is clear that for Goldman that anarchism is a position that goes againts this nihilism of the masses (the coming of "The Last Man") and as such it will oppose this nihilism and strives for a freed humanity through the liberation of the minds and bodies of individuals. From this position one could argue that right wingers and conservatives strive to affirm this nihilism and so "Both Nietzsche and Stirner saw in Christianity the leveler of the human race, the breaker of man’s will to dare and to do. They saw in every movement built on Christian morality and ethics attempts not at the emancipation from slavery, but for the perpetuation thereof. Hence they opposed these movements with might and main."
The Failure of Christianity
It is this reason why one could argue that Stirner and Nietzsche were humanists at heart even if we consider some affirmations by them on the subject. A self-described "nihilist" such as the individualist anarchist Renzo Novatore wanted also to affirm himself even if one lives surrounded by a social environment of conformity and passivity and wheter or not one thinks things can change:
"Our nihilism is not christian nihilism.
We do not deny life.
No! We are the great iconoclasts of the lie.
And all that is declared “sacred” is a lie.
We are the enemies of the “sacred”.
And to you a law is “sacred”; a society “sacred”; a moral “sacred”; an idea “sacred”!
But we — the masters and lovers of pitiless strength and strong willed beauty, of the ravishing idea — we, the iconoclasts of all that is consecrated — we laugh satanically, with a fine broad and mocking laughter."
"Toward the Creative Nothing"
it seems to me the use of the word "nihilism" points out to a particular "disbelief" in something. As such Novatore says "We want this tragic social dusk to give our “I” some calm and thrilling tinder of universal light. Because we are the nihilists of social phantoms." But a critical sceptic approach to things is part of freethought and of a humanist goal towards independent critical individuals.