Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Saturday, December 3, 2016

BALM FOR THE SOUL

A reader sent me this link.  It won't mean much to my younger readers, but the oldsters like me will tear up as we listen to it.  This is a time when we need to recall our better angels.

BUNGLER IN CHIEF

There are only two plausible explanations for Trump's chat with the President of Taiwan.  Either one of the many despicable people around him conned him into it, or he stumbled into it all on his own.  Either way, it is obvious that he did not have a clue what the foreign affairs implications were, and he does not have around him someone who did know and could be relied on to tell him.  And this is seven weeks before he actually becomes President!  I have been focused on Trump's cupidity and brutal hostility to large swaths of the American public and on the sheer evil of his closest advisers, so perhaps I may be forgiven for having overlooked his mind-numbing incompetence.  I am not only ashamed to be an American, I am also embarrassed.

As I said to my wife yesterday evening when we were sitting at the counter in our favorite restaurant eating happy hour half-priced oysters, I am struggling to achieve some semblance of inner balance and equanimity in the face of this on-rushing disaster.  I am more determined than ever to live long enough to see things take a turn for the better, even if I must soldier on into my nineties.

Friday, December 2, 2016

HELP!

I created a group in Gmail for all the peoole who say they want me to contact them, and now I cannot figure out how to add them to the group or how to send a message to the whole group once I have.  Somebody?

A STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLE, OR A CRY OF DESPAIR, AS THE CASE MAY BE

Little by little, I am creeping forward with this cockamamie plan I have conceived to foster a nation-wide network of activists.  Why on earth am I doing this?  The simple answer is, Because I feel just awful, and doing something, anything, eases the pain.  That is not a very elevated motive, I admit, but then, that is pretty much why God gave his only begotten Son to save Mankind, and look how that turned out.

At the moment, I have opened a Gmail account and learned, thanks to Google, how to create a distribution list.  Baby steps …

There is one very important point I need to clarify, and that is the real reason for this post.  My goal is to encourage some people all over America to form their own local action groups targeting local elections and ballot initiatives.  It is very definitely not my aim to enforce any particular ideological agenda, no matter how strongly I may support it.  For example, I am on record [with the DNC via a phone call] as supporting Keith Ellison for Chair of the DNC, but there are many Democrats who support other candidates.  So far as I am concerned, that is just fine.  The same goes for any of a number of hotly contested policy issues.  My role, if I have any, is to encourage and maybe facilitate folks in various places to get in touch with one another and start agitating, organizing, identifying candidates for local or state offices, and in this way maybe to move the political center of the country a little bit leftward.  I am absolutely certain that most of the people I manage to get in touch with will have politics to the right of mine.  That has been true all my life.  In my eyes, a Blue Dog Democrat is better than any Republican, a moderate Democrat is better than a Blue Dog Democrat, a progressive Democrat is better than a moderate Democrat, and a Socialist is better than a Democrat of any sort.  If there are folks out there who will only consider working to elect certified radicals, fine.  I will do what I can to help them.  If there are other folks who will only work to elect safe, comforting moderate Democrats, fine, I will help them too.  Of one thing I am sure:  If I am successful beyond my wildest dreams, the result will still fall far short of what I really want.  If I cannot come to terms with that, then I have no business getting involved in politics.  As Paul Newman says to Robert Redford in The Sting as he is explaining how to work the Big Con on Robert Shaw:  “When you are all done, you won’t get everything you want, but it is all you will get, so you will have to take it and walk away” [or words to that effect.]


I am in such despair that at this point I would be delighted to see Clinton miraculously replace Trump as our next President, even though when I thought that was actually going to happen, my heart was heavy at the prospect.  That tells you how deep the s**t is that we are in.

LET US LEARN FROM HISTORY

Out of curiosity, I went looking for information about how the news media reported on Hitler following his rise to power.  I found this extraordinarily chilling essay, written, I believe, just a year ago by a scholar whose speciality is Holocaust Studies.  Coincidentally, this morning I caught a few minutes of Morning Joe [a show I used to watch regularly and can no longer stand] during which Scarborough and Brzezinski mocked those who call Trump a fascist  [they were, I am happy to say, quite clearly extremely defensive, indicating that the criticism they have been getting is hitting home.]

One troubling point.  The author of the essay, Dr. Rafael Medoff, spends somew time detailing the shameful actions, or inactions, of one of my childhood heroes, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

It is well worth the few minutes it will take to read this essay.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

BABY STEPS

OK, I now have a gmail account.  My gmail address is  rpwolff750@gmail.com

Next baby step:  How do I create a list of people who express an interest in being part of a network of activists?  Eventually, I want their contact info, including zip codes, so that [if this ever gets off the ground] I can sort them by area, and try to get all the people in a geographic area in touch with one another, not just through me, so that they can as a group decide how and what they want to do.

If this thing does get going, I can function as the central fund raiser, maybe using PayPal [despite its questionable origins].  I have in mind trying to get people to commit to a small donation, five or ten dollars a month, the money to be used for whatever we decide we want to do.

In theory this should be easy, right?  In practice it will no doubt turn out to be hard.

But for now, I just want to take little baby steps.

PROGRESS?

Six or eight folks have responded to my proposal for an activist network, either on this blog or by email.  That is a start, but a long way from enough to actually do something.  It is early days, and still almost two months until inauguration.   Since I am making this up as I go along, I will take it slow.  I am still trying to get my head around the report that Trump is considering Sarah Palin for head of the Veterans' Administration.  If that doesn't get a rise out of McCain, nothing will.

If we judge Trump by what he does, not by what he says, then this is shaping up to be an extreme right wing plutocratic administration, hostile to workers, hostile to women, hostile to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, envronmental issues, hostile to Latinos, hostile to Muslims, committed to outlawing abortion, and Lord knows what else.  The only thing we know it is in favor of is money in Trump's pocket.