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Maverick Philosopher

Footnotes to Plato from the foothills of the Superstition Mountains Motto: Study everything, join nothing. Selected for the The Times of London's 100 Best Blogs List (15 February 2009)

Updated: 2017-10-23T13:57:22-07:00


A Note on Vox Clamantis in Deserto


This just over the transom from London Ed: Pedantic, but I think you will secretly enjoy it. Matt. 3:3 quoting Isaiah 40:3. The Vulgate has Vox clamantis in deserto: parate viam Domini. [Right, I checked both quotations in my Biblia...

Kerouac at the End of the Road


A week or so and then I'll be through with Jacking off until next October. So bear with me, ragazzi. Here is a NYT piece from 1988 by Richard Hill that gets at the truth of Jack. Excerpts: He seemed...

Should There be University Courses on Beat Generation Authors?


From a longer essay: I've read my fair share of [William S. ] Burroughs and I concur [with Patrick Kurp] that his stuff is trash: Junkie, Naked Lunch, The Soft Machine, Exterminator. All in my library. But there is a...

What is Man?


He is an animal, but also a spirit -- and thus a riddle to himself. He reasons and speaks, he objectifies, he says 'I' and he means it. He does not parrot the word 'I' in the manner of a...

Saturday Night at the Oldies: Kerouac Goes Home in October


Jack Kerouac quit the mortal coil 48 years ago today, securing his release from the samsaric wheel of the quivering meat conception, and the granting of his wish: The wheel of the quivering meat conception . . . . ....

Mindless Hostility to David Benatar


A scurrilous attack piece in The American Spectator actually provides a bit of support for pessimism about the human condition. One ought to be disturbed by the inability of so many journalists to control their emotions and assess arguments in...

Can Belief in Man Substitute for Belief in God?


A slightly redacted re-post from 26 September 2009. .................................... The fact and extent of natural and moral evil make belief in a providential power difficult. But they also make belief in man and human progress difficult. There is the opium...

Cosmic Meaninglessness and the Theistic Gambit


This is the third in a series on David Benatar's The Human Predicament (Oxford UP, 2017). This entry covers pp. 35-45 of Chapter 3. The good news from Chapter 2 was that there is meaning at the terrestrial level. The...

Friday Cat Blogging! Black Cats Matter


On 'Devout'


One reads that so-and-so is a 'devout Catholic' or a 'devout Muslim.' How would the writer know? Devotion is an interior state inaccessible to observation from without. The practicing Catholic or observant Muslim, by contrast, can be seen to be...

How a Leftist Gains Perspective


Here: Yet even as [Lisa] Bloom was still coming to terms with the [Weinsteinian] events of the past month — she attended the post-Burning Man gathering L.A. Decompression over the weekend in an attempt to gain perspective— she seemed focused...

Ten Political-Economic Theses


Here are ten theses to which I subscribe in the critical way of the philosopher, not the dogmatic way of the ideologue. 1. There is nothing wrong with money. It is absolutely not the root of all evil. The most...

Franz Brentano on the Charge of Excessive Rigorism


On his Facebook Page, Vlastimil V. quotes Franz Brentano, approvingly, I think: It is certain that no man can entirely avoid error. Nevertheless, avoidable or not, every erroneous judgement is a judgement that ought not to have been made, a...

A Use for Ageing


Can I come to see myself as others see me? One way is by ageing: I become other than myself. The old man truly bent on self-knowledge can become as objective about his younger selves as he is about his...



Is it possible to take grace seriously these days? Well, I just arose from a good session on the black mat. For a few moments I touched upon interior silence and experienced its bliss. This is nothing I conjured up...

Aspiration Date


We each have an expiration date on which we will draw and expel our last breath. And there was a day on which we first drew breath. But more significant than either is one's spiritual aspiration date, the date, if...

Why Do Leftists Blame the Weapon Over the Wielder?


I spoke of . . . the bizarre liberal displacement of responsibility for crime onto inanimate objects, guns, as if the weapon, not the wielder, is the source of the evil for which the weapon can be only the instrument....

On the Supposed Political Equivalence of the Two Tribes


As I read Andrew Sullivan's recent tribalism essay, he is bravely attempting to maintain an equivalency thesis: roughly, the two tribes, the Left tribe and the Right tribe, are equally tribal and equally in the wrong. But in some places...

Andrew Sullivan on Tribalism


This is a very good article. There is plenty to disagree with, but I agree entirely with this excerpt: Or take the current promiscuous use of the term “white supremacist.” We used to know what that meant. It meant advocates...

Jewish Humor


Here: Rabbi Altmann and his secretary were sitting in a coffeehouse in Berlin in 1935. “Herr Altmann,” said his secretary, “I notice you’re reading Der Stürmer! I can’t understand why. A Nazi libel sheet! Are you some kind of masochist,...

What Do Gun Violence and Systemic Racism Have in Common?


Neither exist. (William Tingley calls me "the pithy Maverick." How are you doing these days, Bill?)

Why Maintain a Journal?


It was 47 years ago today that I first began keeping a regular journal under the motto, nulla dies sine linea, no day without a line. Before that, as a teenager, I kept some irregular journals. When I was 16...

On this Date in 1844


Friedrich Nietzsche was born on this date in 1844. He died on 25 August 1900. You must attend to him if you would understand our current spiritual/cultural situation. His great aphorism, "Some men are born posthumously" applies to him, and...

The Suicide of American Liberalism


Robert Tracinski: The far left, under the banner of Black Lives Matter, is protesting a campus speaker again. Who is it this time? Some neo-Nazi like Richard Spencer? An unscrupulous provocateur like Milo Yiannopoulos? Just a garden-variety scary conservative like...

Trump Nixes Outrageous Obamacare Birth Control Mandate


Here. Prominent Catholics such as Robert P. George and George Weigel who refused to vote for Trump made a massive error in judgment. I was right to lay into them in Catholics Must Support Trump.

Dennis Prager on Liberalism, Leftism, and Race


Dennis Prager insists on a distinction between leftism and liberalism. "The two have almost nothing in common," he tells us. He points to a number of differences. I will comment on just one: Race: This is perhaps the most obvious...

Creation, Existence, and Extreme Metaphysical Realism


This entry is a continuation of the ruminations in The Ultimate Paradox of Divine Creation. Recapitulation Divine creation ex nihilo is a spiritual/mental 'process' whereby an object of the divine consciousness is posited as non-object, as more than a merely...

Know Thyself


If you are not dismayed by your self-assessment, then it was not objective.

Race Obsession


The Beat Goes On: On the Road Turns 60


Here is a 50th anniversary NYT retrospect. I'll look for a 60th.

Who am I? Personal Identity versus Identity Politics


Preliminary note: what has been exercising me lately is the question whether there is a deep common root to the political identitarianism of the Left and the Right, and if there is, what this root is. Nihilism, perhaps? I wrote:...

Is Good Faith Dialogue Possible with Leftists?


Arguably not: Our “mainstream conservative” is a pathetic hostage to the Left. He somehow hasn’t yet realized that the Left is hell-bent on branding everything “racist” regardless of whether the label has any basis whatsoever in either reason or reality....

Will the Culture War Issue in Civil War?


John Davidson: [. . .] For all their shortcomings, conservatives at least have a limiting principle for politics. Most of them believe, for example, in the principles enshrined in the Constitution and maintain that no matter how bad things are,...

Never-Trumpers are a Disgustingly Impractical Bunch of Pseudo-Conservative Quislings


My man Hanson has too much class to be so blunt. Here is part of what he has to say in a very astute article from which you can infer my title: In sum, the NeverTrump lament seems to be...