Latest musings, analyses, and general madness

Myths and Misunderstandings

We flatter those whom we describe as “burning the candle at both ends.” In truth, the people of whom we say this — or worse, who proudly think it of themselves — are typically burning the candle at neither end. They are merely gnawing away at their wax, anxiously chewing up their lives until they are reduced to wicks without fuel. Eventually, even...

Comments on CPAC 2021

I have too many things to do in whatever life I have left, and not enough life left to do all of them, to have wasted one second of my time watching this year’s Trump sore losers’ denial party that self-mockingly called itself “CPAC” (Conservative P….something, whatever). I am therefore unbesmirched enough to comment on this lost boys festival and its meaning. Donald...

Sentimental Man Expresses Himself

Oscar Wilde wrote that “a sentimentalist is simply one who desires to have the luxury of an emotion without paying for it.” Wilde’s century was rife with the luxury of unpaid-for emotion, which is the special indulgence of the comfortable class. Our own time, however, has elevated this romantic weakness for claiming unearned emotion to an artform — and then, as is typical...

Random Thoughts: Life, Death, the Living, the Dead

A student sent me a text message today consisting of the following questions: “Why is it important to try to think and find the existence of my soul? Why do you live?” Interestingly, the second question implies that the terms of the first question — thinking and finding the existence of the soul — are coextensive with the question of why I live....

Violence Against Women

The United States Congress, that wonderful bellwether of popular sentiment, or rather popular indoctrination, has passed a “sweeping” new LGBTQ rights bill — which is to say a bill that sweeps away millennia of human decency and common sense with the wave of one old bag’s pen. Aside from being yet another, and obviously superfluous, assault on the moral concepts of property rights...

Entertainers Need Attention

I was not an admirer of Rush Limbaugh. As I explained in a recent post, I think he, or rather the response to him in “conservative America,” has done much more harm than good to the cause of constitutional republicanism. But disagreeing with a man’s perspective, or questioning his legacy, is quite a bit different from peeing on his grave. Bette Midler, who...

Duty Ethics vs. Virtue Ethics

Doing as one is supposed to do (obeying rules or duties) is a substantially different thing from doing as one ought to do (acting virtuously). The former type of action is suitable for dependent children, the mentally deficient, or in general those who for some reason have either opted or been forced to relinquish their authority to decide for themselves, whether universally or...

It’s Mourning in America

The Bidens and the Harrises stood in dim light at sunset outside the White House, all wearing black masks, all bowing their heads, surrounded by votive candles, in a show of public mourning for the “500,000 dead” in America from Covid-19. Yes, it was yet another instance of modern sentimental man’s favorite ritual of feelgood self-identification: the moment of silence. And of course,...

Observations: Man Among the Animals

For all other animals, maturation involves growing into their bodies. For man alone, maturation involves growing out of his body. Those who deny the existence of truth are absolutely certain they are right. On the other hand, genuine believers in truth rarely claim to be certain of anything. The former hope to find their reason for living in their certainty. The latter find...

Learning and Teaching

In my recent “Reflections From A Great Distance,” I compared the thinking life to backing away from a mirror. Seeing yourself too close up exaggerates one’s perception of the immediate foreground of life, the accidental details of the moment — flaws, errors, pleasures, excitements, fears, frustrations, and all the rest of the transient and noisy. As you back away, those accidental details of...