Latest musings, analyses, and general madness

The Invisible Hand, Without Shame

That cynical men will exploit a human problem for their own petty advantage, without concern for ultimate outcomes beyond their own immediate gain, is obvious. This cynicism explains most of what is called “foreign policy,” most of what is called “medicine,” most of what is called “education,” most of what is called “entertainment,” and most of what is called “lawmaking.” But none of...

On Shrinking

The more uniform and repetitive the conversation, the more any alternative or outlying opinion sounds like irrational extremism.

The more everyone is encouraged to speak, the less most people have to say — and the less audible above the din is anyone who does have something to say….

On Privacy and Modernity

The desire to be heard vs. the desire to be understood.— Heraclitus spoke for all time: “One is worth ten thousand to me if he be the best.” “‘Like a dog,’ he said, it was as if the shame of it should outlive him.” Kafka thereby describes the condition of every one of us in the very late modern world, hounded, herded, and...

Liz Cheney (Almost) States the Obvious

In her opening statement at the January 6th hearings in the U.S. Congress, Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney, daughter of Dick “Deep State” Cheney, spelled out an interpretation of that day’s Capitol riot that, if it had crossed all the Ts and stated its unstated premises, would essentially have supported the interpretation I have offered here in Limbo all along. Put simply, all or...

Libertarians, Drugs, and Voting

Libertarians, in their twin obsessions with freedom understood as carte blanche to do anything one wants, and a desperate search for more votes, have increasingly defined themselves as the party of recreational drug use. There is nary an issue that a libertarian cannot eventually bring around to a discussion of basic individual liberties, and nary a discussion of basic individual liberties that will...

Putin vs. Russia

Vladimir Putin is not Russia, nor is he “the Russian people.” He is a ruthless dictator who murders or imprisons his most popular opponents and critics, propagandizes his subjects out of any clear alternative perspectives on life and the global political situation, and exploits the poverty and hopelessness that he himself has fostered to cajole the weak and desperate “masses” into viewing him...

A Few Certainties

You will not achieve much that you set out to accomplish in your life — but you will correct your intentions retroactively in order to persuade yourself that you did. The best things you do will never be the things you do for money, attention, or other tangible forms of reward. On the contrary, the best things you do will most often be...

Thought Police Update

Len Goodman, a BBC personality of some sort,┬ájoked during a discussion of various foods related to the Queen’s jubilee that he had once been hesitant to try curry, which his grandmother used to refer to as “foreign muck,” although he has since become an enthusiastic curry eater. In response to this utterly innocuous comment — the sort of comment that could only be...

Two Rules of Thumb Regarding the Aims of Government

Rulers, like the rest of us, always do what they believe is best for themselves. They may also, as per their actual mandate, do what is best for the society and citizenry; but this latter motive is not the norm, and is entirely contingent on their judgment, in any given situation, that what is best for the society and citizenry happens to coincide...

How To Reason Like A Loser

I just read a very sober and balanced assessment of the conceivable outcomes in Ukraine, written by one Andrew Latham, a very sober professor of International Relations and member of a very sober-sounding Washington think tank calling itself “Defense Priorities.” For “Defense” in that name, read “Surrender”; for “Priorities,” read “Rationalizations.” For Professor Latham’s short essay is a wonderful object lesson in that...