About

Two friends at Georgetown’s government department pushed me to start this blog a couple years ago. The suggestion came during one of our marathon conversations, which usually last hours and leave empty coffee mugs and cocktail glasses in their wake. But they never go on long enough, and this site is a way to keep the conversation humming and open it to anyone who wants to pull up a chair.

The subjects covered are listed in the categories section on the sidebar; but the labels are just suggestive, because what I care about are overlaps and spaces between.

On a practical level, jrbenjamin.com is here to showcase my writing (which is sometimes published elsewhere) and some of the more forceful words that inform how I think and what I write. I’m not doing this for anyone in particular. There is no real audience for this blog, and I don’t do much to promote it on my own; I’m not targeting any specific demographic, political party, class, ideology, denomination, or “type” of person. I’m writing and posting for whoever wants to read what I write and post — it’s a tautology.

Jrbenjamin.com is an Amazon affiliate site: 50% of all profits from Amazon-linked sales go toward the DC-based nonprofit Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation, for which I serve as digital developer. All the remaining proceeds are used to maintain this site ad-free.

Reach out anytime. john[at]jrbenjamin.com.

89 thoughts on “About”

  1. It was great meeting you. Charming conversation, and a charming little blog here. I’ll be keeping up with you through it and hope to keep in touch.

    Stu

  2. Very interesting and thoughtful articles. I’ve enjoyed reading them back to the earliest ones.

  3. I love your writing… very fascinating stuff about very complex subjectmatter.

  4. Your writing shows a level of depth and insight that few people your age possess. I loved your speech about college. Keep up the great work.

  5. I really appreciate what you’re doing here. Keep it up…….

  6. Hi JR. Your writing is concise, intelligent, and enlightening. Best Wishes, The Foureyed Poet.

  7. Hi John,

    I started reading your site last night, and I can say that I really like (and am totally jealous about) how you can think and write. Though I have only read a few of your posts… I want to stick around for more. So you have a new audience member.

  8. Your posts are so great… many ideas I had never considered, names I had never heard, and words I had never seen. You have a confident way with words and a mind that is very creative.

    Where can I read more of your writing or see more of your photography? Send me an email to the address I messaged you, if possible.

    Keep up the fantastic work.

  9. You are truly an amazing writer. I am completely entranced. It is a good thing I stumbled upon your little corner of the web.

  10. “I’m writing and posting for whomever wants to read what I write and post.” You sure hit me right between the eyes with this line, and I immediately began to Follow your blog. Best, Harold, my trusty sidekick Mr. SLR Nikon and his brother Mr. Pen Pal.

  11. Amazing work here… I look forward to really diving into your blog. — Sebastian, São Paulo

  12. Interesting site!

    I loved your analysis of Milton’s “On His Blindness”: I had always loved the work, but wasn’t exactly sure what he was referencing in it. Thank you. Best of luck in the future.

  13. First and foremost, I’ve only read a couple of your posts, and they’re so enjoyable. This is one of my favorite websites on the internet.

    Your writing is so interesting and effortless. I’m totally jealous!! Well, I did philosophy in one of my units and thoroughly enjoyed it. If I could indulge myself, I would enroll in further courses. I love history and enjoyed Modern History in school but would have loved to have had the opportunity to study Ancient History as well.

    I will be exploring more of your posts and I will be following you; your mind is far sharper than just about anyone I’ve met.

  14. Scott Michael said:

    Found your site from a post of Robert George’s. Glad I did. Will come back often. Thanks.

  15. Robert George said:

    Dear John:

    Thanks for your comment at First Things and for transcribing and posting my remarks and Charles Krauthammer’s at the Bradley Symposium.

    After our panel discussion, I shared with Charles the response I would have made publicly, had I been given the opportunity. He replied that he had not considered that possible meaning of “happiness.” Bea Himmelfarb, whom Charles and I both enormously respect, confirmed that the term was used in the 18th century in precisely the way I said it was. Naturally, I was delighted to have so compelling a witness in favor of my case!

    Best wishes,

    Robert George

    • Professor George,

      I’m pretty surprised that Krauthammer would never have considered that possibility, given how confidently he responded to your initial comments. I liked both of your answers immensely — and I’m sure that there are many more dimensions to this issue of the founders’ conception of human nature — but I now see that you were right.

      (Gertrude Himmelfarb’s endorsement is enough for me; while interning at AEI for the past year, I dug up every archived piece of writing I could from her and Irving Kristol.)

      Again, thank you for the illuminating and highly enjoyable conversation at Bradley. I and everyone at my table left feeling more educated and enthusiastic about the topics discussed.

      I’m glad you found your way to my blog. I’ll be keeping up with your work, as usual, and I hope you’ll check back here from time to time.

  16. I must say that on your Churchill post, as quite the follower of Churchill, I have seen several variations to each of those stories you recount—with one being from Mrs. Astor, at the said dinner party with her reprimand of Churchill being “Sir, you are drunk” which Winston replies “That may be so madame, but in the morning I shall be sober and you shall still be ugly” —as there are other variations of the Attlee story, with it not even being Winston in the men’s room….his legends are monumental as was the man!

    –I look forward to reading more of your work—Grace and peace—Julie

  17. Your writing is excellent. Your blog is enjoyable on a consistent basis.

  18. hey, your posts look very interesting and i am going to enjoy spending some time with them – best, beth

  19. Wow!

    As others before me have said, your writing is excellent. I’m pleased to join you for the ride!

    Sharon

  20. Hi Jr, love the content of your site. I’ve been scrolling through it for the past hour, and will get to the rest when I find some time. cheers.

  21. Hi John great to come across your blog and writings which are really of interest to me. The painting above is also amazing – is this a portrait of you?

    • Thanks for stopping by. And yes, the above picture is of me. It’s actually a collage, done by the distinguished Texas artist Mary McCleary. She also happens to be my aunt, and she had me pose for the above work about ten years ago, when I was fourteen. You should check out more of her work:

      http://www.marymccleary.com/

      Here’s her Wikipedia page:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_McCleary

      I use the above portrait as my ‘about me’ image because this blog isn’t about me or my personal life. The collage is abstract, and as the title (“Jerusalem, Athens, Alexandria, Vienna, London”) suggests, the subtext of the work concerns the transience of civilizations. (MM had me paint my face in the way a savage would: a juxtaposition with the modish furniture in the background.)

      So the work is of me, but not about me. And this blog is the same: I want to make sure that attention is paid to conversations about important ideas and questions, rather than myself or my personal life.

      • Hi John – I actually had to stop work to look at your blog and your aunt’s work. I am completely wowed by both as they are a salient reminder to pay attention to what you are seeing – the first rule of being an artist ( I will have to do something on my blog on this – just beautiful.)

  22. Great blog idea! Nice to meet a student interested in exploring discussion.

  23. You’re such a talented writer and have a real eye for interesting patterns in history and philosophy. Your posts are always worth perusing. Well done!

  24. John,

    I loved your speech about college. Honestly, it’s one of the most moving things I have read in the 43 years I’ve been on this earth.

    Thank you.

  25. Your writing’s always great… The Bully Pulpit is one of the first sites I check when I open my laptop…

  26. For such a young man, you have an incredibly perceptive and articulate voice. I expect great things from you, both in this medium and in your life — keep it up.

  27. Hello John Benjamin,

    You have an interesting blog. I commend your initiative to create this space to assist others to ‘unwind from the web’. I wish your the best in your endeavours.

    Blessings from Taipei, Subhan ♥

  28. I’m delighted to stumble upon your work here. Yours is the kind of blog that reminds me why this medium is actually relevant… I look forward to the inspiration I will surely enjoy through your offerings.

  29. Bev Griff said:

    I love this site — keep up the fabulous work.

  30. Margie Brizzolari said:

    Fascinating stuff here, John… one of my favorite sites on the web.

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