Author: Daren Jonescu

Disappointment and Wisdom

The number of people who will disappoint you in your life will vastly outstrip the number who will pleasantly surprise you. Worse yet, many of the former group will come from among the latter, which is particularly painful, as dashed hopes will sting most where hopes were highest. Nevertheless, this does not justify ceasing to seek the rare pleasant surprises. For even the...

Bad Poetry

Bill Gates, who has devoted much of his adult life to increasingly manipulative efforts to insinuate himself into the private life of every human being on the planet, has suddenly had the tables turned, and found his private life the subject of everyone else’s insinuations. This is poetic justice, to be sure, but not the kind of poetry a decent society would relish....

Contradiction and the Cultist

There is no human being more singularly identified with Donald Trump’s rise from kook fringe primary candidate to viable Republican frontrunner than Steve Bannon. In fact, one could make the case that no one is more responsible for that rise — or more to blame, depending on how you judge the matter — than Bannon. Bannon himself, however, quickly became somewhat estranged from...

The Enlightenment Against Reason: Two Cases

Plato presents his teacher, Socrates, as the foremost expert on love and the most erotic of all men, on the grounds that Eros is at base the longing for immortality, thus defining a natural hierarchy of human fulfillments, at the peak of which resides the search for eternal truths, i.e., philosophy. Aristotle, taking the cosmic view, explains the relationship between the world of...

Two Things to Wonder At

What was the democratic world fifteen months ago? Clearly, it was not what it appeared to be, even to the most hardened skeptics and cynics. It is one thing to believe, as the skeptics and cynics did at that time, that most men, if push came to shove, would choose comfort over freedom, and would succumb to promises of security at the expense...

On Needing a Drink

I recently wrote about Van Morrison’s courageous, legacy-endangering “No More Lockdown” songs, celebrating the sanctity of natural rights and condemning the tyrannical government expansions being imposed in the name of public health. I also explained that the only famous musician to answer Morrison’s call for allies in this daring project was Eric Clapton. Allow me to add one consequential note: Neither man drinks....

Culture vs. Self-Knowledge

The word “culture,” as used with reference to human societies or societal customs, has been one of the key theoretical constructs in late modernity’s assault on being. I never use it, except in the most casual conversational context, without the qualification that the term is artificial, names an idea that is not only ill-defined but perhaps indefinable, and runs counter to the basic...

Standing Alone

The true individual is not he who speaks with the voice of his generation, including his generation’s officially sanctioned “outsiders club,” but rather he who speaks against his generation, and especially against the officially sanctioned outsiders club. To stand with one’s group requires neither courage nor thought. To stand against one’s group requires substantial quantities of both. The true visionary is not he...

Going for Broke

Theory of deficit spending.– At a certain point, irredeemable debt starts to feel irredeemable. From that point, every tether is cut. It is too late to repair the damage by correcting the trend, so psychological limits disintegrate. When one feels that one is adding quantities to infinity, what is the difference between two trillion and four trillion? Or seventy-five trillion, for that matter?...

Van the Man

We live in a world in which character and courage are measured in increments of one, by which I mean that we encounter so little public virtue today that any instance which does appear stands out before our consciousness in startling contrast with the surrounding moral emptiness. There can be no doubt, at the first glimpse of such an anomaly, that we are...