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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON THE THOUGHT OF KARL MARX. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for Robert Paul Wolff Marx."




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Monday, September 24, 2018

A PUZZLEMENT


There is something that has puzzled me for quite some time, and perhaps a reader with genuine legal knowledge can help me out.  It is established that the Trump campaign was approached with the offer of material from the Russian government detrimental to Hillary Clinton and her campaign, and that senior members of the campaign, including the campaign chair, agreed to meet for the purpose of discussing this offer.

Leave aside everything else, including whether the Russians actually possessed such material.  Why are those facts, as they stand, not evidence of a conspiracy between the Russians and the Trump campaign to affect the election?

I TOLD YOU SO

And so the evidence emerges of other Kavanaugh incidents, just as I [and the rest of the civilized world] predicted.  It is really worth reading this New Yorker story by Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow.  It seems that Kavanaugh's drunken and sexually aggressive behavior was well known to fellow Yalies and was the topic of contemporaneous email chatter.

Hardly a surprise.

Now the always eager Michael Avenatti announces that he has, as a client, yet a third woman with a Kavanaugh story to tell.

I think we may yet defeat Kavanaugh.  Whether McConnell can railroad through a substitute nominee before the new Congress is sworn in remains to be seen, but if he cannot, and if the Democrats can retake the Senate, then Chief Justice Roberts can preside over an eight-person court until 2020.

Fair is fair.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

THIS IS UNSPEAKABLE

Read this.  The world is unspeakable.

GETTING OLD

Once again, I found a five hour stint driving to the meetup place, canvassing, and driving home very tiring, but it was well worth it.  The candidate himself was there to start us off, as well as his mother, and his grade school teacher.  All politics is local.  Six weeks to go.

Meanwhile, I am beginning to believe that Kavanaugh will not make it to the High Court.  If we can take back the Senate, we can hold the seat open for two years until the 2020 election.

This is beginning to feel like the Sixties.  Social and political forces are moving underneath us in ways that are hard to predict.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

DOING MY BIT

I am off in a ninety minutes to spend five hours canvassing for Ryan Watts here in the NC 6th.  Actually, the canvassing will only take three hours, but I live at the eastern end of the 6th and we are doing our door-to-door in Greensboro, at the western end, so it will take me an hour to get  there and an hour to get home.

Meanwhile, all hell is breaking loose at the national level.  I think if Dr. Blasey Ford testifies on camera, Kavanaugh will go down.  As for Rosenstein, the fact that Trump has not summarily fired him says a good deal about how vulnerable Trump is.

With all of this going on, I am preparing to lecture on Tuesday about the ideological significance of linear homogeneous functions.  How weird is that?

Friday, September 21, 2018

A SERIOUS CONSIDERATION OF THE KAVANAGH MATTER


Enough of court packing fantasies.  Let me try to think through the probable consequences of Brett Kavanagh’s confirmation.

Very quickly after that confirmation, a case would come before the High Court that would result either in the overturning of Roe v. Wade or in a restriction of its application so severe as to constitute de facto reversal.  [At this point I proceed without any real legal knowledge, so the reader should be wary of my conclusions.]   This would not make abortion illegal in the United States.  It would simply leave in place and once again in force existing state anti-abortion laws.  In many states, encompassing, I believe, a majority of the population, abortion would be legal.  There would be some pro-abortion states [Massachusetts?] in which anti-abortion laws that had never been reversed but had simply been overruled by Roe would suddenly once again become state law, and would have to be removed by state legislative action.  There would be anti-abortion states where laws designed to make abortion impossibly difficult to obtain would be replaced by outright prohibitions.  The issue of abortion would become the determinative factor in struggles for control of state legislatures.  There would be an attempt in Congress to pass a federal prohibition on abortion, and although it would be expected to be upheld by the Supreme Court, it would, I believe, fail to get the necessary votes.

Thus on the issue of abortion, America would become two nations under one flag.

But that would not be the end of it.  Middle class and upper middle class women in anti-abortion states desiring an abortion would have the option of traveling to abortion-legal states, where they could obtain an abortion safely, legally, and privately from a health clinic.  This would of course include the wives and daughters of publicly anti-abortion male politicians.  The overturning of Roe would affect most immediately the tens of millions of women whose economic circumstances made such private medical trips prohibitive or whose understanding of the medical realities and available options was limited by their education and the nature of their medical care and insurance.

This would be a cruel, hypocritical, and in my judgment unsustainable state of affairs.  But I think it is almost certainly the state of affairs we would see come to pass if Kavanagh were confirmed.

Will he be confirmed?  I don’t know.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

THERMONUCLEAR OPTIONS

If Kavanagh is confirmed, the political fallout may cost the Republicans some House seats, and even control of the Senate.  But the possible consequences, not only for reproductive rights but also for the environment and any hope of a rebirth of unions would likely be catastrophic, for a good deal longer than I for one can hope to live.

There is an alternative, other than the States' Rights option discussed here a while back.  A simple majority in both houses plus the presidency is sufficient to alter the size of the court.  Congress has done this six or seven times in the past, although not in the 20th or 21st centuries.

The time has come to think about serious steps, of the sort that senior Democrats are quite obviously unwilling to consider.