The popular success of liberalism is owed perhaps to its securing the right of every man to be indifferent and shamelessly vulgar — such of whom it has had the good sense of flattery to call tolerant and free.
Thursday, 29 May 2008
Wednesday, 14 May 2008
Many call it the exercise of the intellect; but in ear-shot and sight of all their high-flown talk, of their verbosity that goes nowhere, of their ceaseless rearrangement of things, of their profound alienation and insecurity, even of their self-loathing that becomes at times a shameless self-regarding that is yet never so penetrating as to reveal to them how much they regard themselves — looking at it all, one might find for it another name: madness.
Thursday, 1 May 2008
To have had all the advantages of a wealthy upbringing but to have repudiated them in order to appear authentic — well, for the man who has proceeded in this way, success in some regard was bound to be easy: he was authentically contemptible from the beginning.
Thursday, 24 April 2008
Wednesday, 26 March 2008
It is pleasing in adolescence to be cynical, declaring, say, that love is simply a chemical imbalance. With adulthood comes a greater sobriety and an appreciation of the complexity of life, such that one is given to suspect that adolescent cynicism is partly the result of a chemical imbalance.
One could write a book which might send every man who read it mad. It would have to be so persuasive in tone and argument as to strip him of the defences of his character and reveal to him without consolation the terrible possibilities of his predicament: the ephemerality and finitude of his being, without autonomy, overwhelmed by the vastness of the world. It could be a best-seller, but only if it were bound in a bright cover with pictures on it.
Wednesday, 13 February 2008
Thursday, 31 January 2008
Those who beheaded Louis XVI of France for the sake of a democratic republic probably did not consider that so clear a lesson and so direct a solution to the abuse of power could not thereafter be made so easily. To say the least: beheading the people and their representatives is a more difficult — not to say, more bloody — proposition.
Some might say we are blessed by political moralism, in that for every matter about which one might feel guilty, there are a thousand unconscionable ways in which one might feel absolved — so long as one remains an adherent. Yet even if one were to succumb to this graceless convenience, guilt would find its own way, attaching itself at last to one’s own existence and advantages.