Hennessy's View

Domine, non sum dignus

Chelsea, Meet Stoicism

Donald Trump’s triumph in the 2016 election drove Chelsea Handler into a depraved descent. Weed and depression. Psychiatrists. Broken. Not because of anything that happened to her. She didn’t lose her home. No one close to her died because of the election. Chelsea Handler lost her mind because reality violated her expectations. I’m pretty sure Ms. Handler doesn’t read Hennessy’s View, but you do. So, for you, I’ll tell you how to avoid losing your mind when reality violates your expectations. Read more →

What do Stoics and Catholics Have in Common?

Lots, actually. But one Stoic practice that’s central to Christianity seems pertinent on All Hallow’s Eve: memento mori. Remember your death. Remember, you will die. We all die. All the tech billionaires spending their fortunes trying to live forever will die. No matter how young and healthy you are, time is running through your hourglass. It will run out. And you probably won’t know when. For over a year I’ve carried a challenge coin that reminds me of my death: Read more →

How to Deal With Events

Governor Eric Greitens resigned. Friend of the lobbyists, Mike Parson, became Missouri’s governor. In the words of someone who knows the new governor well, Mike Parson will “sell everything that isn’t nailed down.” For those of us who believe in limited government that doesn’t put its thumb on the scale of achievement, it’s time to panic and despair, right? Wrong. It’s never time to panic or despair. And we know this from two of the greatest philosophers of all time, Epictetus Read more →

What Is Character?

Worry about your character, not your reputation. Reputation is what people think of you. Character is who you are. —John Wooden, legendary coach of basketball and character Everyone admits that President Trump cares more about his character than about his reputation. Only a man concerned with his character would tell the truth. Reputation is what people think of you. Character is who you are. The Stoics teach us that reputation is beyond our control. Read more →

What Was Good About Charlottesville

Charlottesville used to be a place. Now, it’s a thing. On Friday, Charlottesville was a city in Virginia. Today, Charlottesville is an event. A thing. In our hyper-emotional world of 2017, we are told to explore our emotions. Then act upon those emotions. Like poorly trained animals. Like half-wits. Like narcissists and spoiled brats. Like lower primates. Like the KKK and BLM and Antifa thugs who turned that place into a thing yesterday. Read more →

How to Ignore the News

“Will Trump survive this?” A friend of mine texted me yesterday. I had no idea what the “this” was. Later, I learned. Turns out, like most of the media’s breathless revelations about Trump’s supposed crimes, the story that people reacted to meant little. The anti-Trump media exploded with fake news, fake interpretations of real news, and speculation that supported their own angry fetishes. But any reasonable person would respond like my friend. Read more →

Free Forever Through Stoicism

“Some things we can control, some we can’t. We can control our attitudes, opinions, goals and desires – choices of our own. We can’t control health, wealth, fame or power – things we can’t have by choosing them.” —Epictetus Freedom begins with understanding what we control and we do not. Yet very few people even begin to consider this essential dichotomy. Even in the complete absence of “administration” as Tocqueville observed in early 19th century America, no one was free who failed to understand Epictetus’s control dichotomy: some things are under our control, some are not. Read more →

Greitens breathes life into our first principles

I am Catholic. I believe in and trust the magisterium of the church. Nothing distinguishes me from Protestants more profoundly than that concept: the magisterium, or the teaching authority, of the church. For me, the church is like Locke and Jefferson and Madison. They were learned men who read Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Cato, Epictetus, Epicurus, and other Greek and Roman philosophers, often in the original languages. Those philosophical and political founders interpreted and organized ancient philosophy for England and America. Read more →