Latest musings, analyses, and general madness

Utopian Morality

In the past, communities were held together, and public morality maintained, by the personal sense of shame and obligation, the habituation of moderate emotional responses, the concern for family honor, and the desire to prove oneself worthy of the responsibilities of individual self-government. Today, in a quest to root out all moral aberrations and imperfections, societies employ school-indoctrinated slogans, omnipresent cameras, algorithmic monitors,...

Philosophic Detachment

A student who is about to move away from home to begin graduate studies in philosophy was ruminating about the value and significance of detaching oneself from relationships and sentimental entanglements which distort or limit independent thought. As a young man deeply interested in both Eastern and Western thought, he mentioned having recently heard a Buddhist monk explaining the spiritual benefits of cutting...

Long MAGA

I was all fired up this morning to write about Tucker Carlson’s latest shoeshine work for Vladimir Putin, a topic I addressed back in December, when it became obvious to me — admittedly I might have been late to the party, since I would never actually watch a Fox News show on purpose — that Carlson was an overt propagandist for Putin, and...

Rusted Out

Neil Young is attempting to put the final seal on any pretense that rock music was ever about “speaking truth to power” or any such nonsense — not a moment too soon in my opinion. He is threatening to pull all of his music off Spotify unless that online service removes podcasts that “spread misinformation” about Covid-19 vaccines, specifically focused on the most...

“Do we need to care about the environment?”

Leonardo DiCaprio, a fat globe-trotting baboon whose carbon footprint probably stands to yours or mine as the Earth stands to an anthill, claims that we have nine years to save the planet. John Kerry, a billionaire and fifty-year establishment pontificator who now looks like a wax figure of himself after ten minutes in a kiln, continues to assert that “We’re in trouble” —...

Activism, Progress, and Thought

A young man should speak only in the form of questions, at least in public, while issuing his opinionated outbursts in private, preferably alone. To be perfectly clear, this is not to say that he should form no opinions, but only that he should be discouraged in every possible way, including through a well-honed sense of secrecy, from expressing them to anyone, let...

Nietzsche, Materialism, and Progress

In his final sane treatise, The Anti-Christ, Nietzsche praises Descartes as the first philosopher with the audacity to describe animals as machines, i.e., as material mechanisms devoid of soul (ยง14). As the pioneer of this ingenious and ultra-modern idea, however, Descartes, so says Nietzsche, lacked the necessary critical distance from his religious-metaphysical inheritance to take the next step, namely to concede that man...

A Few Points of Order

The fact that I call my organization “I Love Puppies” does not prove that I love puppies, let alone that anything my organization does or advocates is actually good for puppies. Conversely, the fact that you disagree with or criticize my organization’s principles or proposals in no way proves that you hate puppies or wish to harm them. No group may be considered...

War Drums

The neo-conservative crowd in the backrooms of U.S. politics, which has always been a largely bipartisan faction, has recently found the Republican Party an inhospitable host, and has therefore shifted most of its weight over to the Democratic Party. Hence the Democrats, partly for opportunistic political reasons related to Donald Trump (who was a consistent and valuable Putin asset for five years, with...

Afraid To Ask

“If I have 80% understanding and 20% ignorance about a topic, then I think it will be easy to form questions about my ignorance, but in this case, I think I have 10% understanding and 90% ignorance, so it is not easy to even form a proper question, because I’m not sure if it is a good question to help my understanding.”