Author: Daren Jonescu

Soft Despotism vs. The Cosmos

Last evening, I ate dinner with a student at a department store food court. At one point in the conversation, while talking about the kind of attitudes and responses that pass for “normal” today, I suddenly had an odd thought. Looking around the large, moderately crowded but “socially-distanced” court, I mused aloud, “If someone from the government walked in here right now and...

A Few Questions on Self-Enslavement

If you are a reasonably intelligent, somewhat politically ambitious man, and you see that the political class in your society is exploiting a crisis as a means of establishing extremely illiberal powers far beyond the legitimate necessities of the current crisis — powers of the sort that no state ever relinquishes once the precedent has been set and publicly accepted — then if...

Empedocles and Us

Empedocles is the only evolutionist whose theory impresses me in the least, because he is the only one who is rational enough not to imagine he is describing a rectilinear development, and expansive enough not to harbor any self-flattering hidden premise that he is living in an “advanced” stage of the process he describes. On the contrary, he saw all too clearly what...

The Systemic Stupidity of the Masses

Black Lives Matter. What does that even mean? You don’t know, so don’t bother trying to answer. You don’t know, because the phrase actually means exactly nothing, or at least nothing to do with the words that comprise the phrase. It is a slogan meant to sound brave and ideological precisely to obscure or deflect from its lack of any comprehensible significance in...

Democracy in Vignettes

On September 29th, 2001, less than three weeks after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, one of America’s tentative popular steps back to some semblance of normalcy was the return of Saturday Night Live (filmed, of course, in New York). In an attempt to earn the right to make silly jokes again, the show began, in typically modern maudlin fashion, with...

Friends and Distance: A Musing for An Age of Isolation

I have friends I have never met face to face whom I would trust with all my money. Meanwhile, very few of the “friends” I have made through the normal social accidents of my life have ever been more than useful or pleasant acquaintances in the end — “nice,” agreeable enough, but lacking the essential kinship of soul that is the essence of...

Classic Trump

If you were the biggest coward, fraud, and two-bit nothing in the entire history of your nation, and had somehow managed to flim-flam your way to the presidency (thereby revealing the demise of your nation), you would have to be gifted with some kind of genius at denying direct responsibility for…well, for your existence. Donald Trump is just such a “man,” and his...

What We Are Today

Carlyle wrote, “No pressure, no diamonds.” That is very true. We might also add the unstated implication of Carlyle’s epigram: “No pressure, dull carbon — which is to say graphite.” As modernity reduces the heat and pressure of existence, humanity produces fewer and fewer diamonds, instead becoming increasingly uniform and stable in softness, adherence, and conductivity. A useful writing implement or fuel cell;...

“The whole secret of life in two pages of print!”

Here is an enthusiastic rant about socialists by Razumihin, Dostoevsky’s crystallization of the good-natured man of common sense, in Crime and Punishment: I’ll show you their pamphlets. Everything with them is ‘the influence of environment,’ and nothing else. Their favourite phrase! From which it follows that, if society is normally organised, all crime will cease at once, since there will be nothing to...

Everything I will EVER have to say about the George Floyd thing

Let’s get this over with, shall we? I frankly have four million better things to do with my time and energy than spend them on a story that is filled to overflowing with so many of my least favorite things in modern political reality: social justice warriors, Donald Trump, race politics, international progressive activism, white guilt…you get the picture. But a dying nation’s...