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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

BACK FROM SAN FRANCISCO

I am back from San Francisco, just in time for 100 degree temperature here in Chapel Hill. I had planned to blog for a day or two about my grandchildren, and I may still do that, but there is something more important that needs to be talked about, namely, the status of Obama's health care reform proposals. I am really very angry about the commentary coming from the liberal side of the blogosphere and mainstream media. Let me explain why.

At the moment, all attention is focused on the thuggish efforts to disrupt town hall meetings held by Representatives and Senators, and on the bizarre, hysterical claims emanating from the right about death panels that will order the euthanization of old people. The commentaries are full of bleak projections and dire warnings and gloomy judgments that Obama has lost control of the debate, or has failed to show sufficient courage, or has betrayed his supporters.

All of these commentaries have one central underlying premise in common, and that premise is flat out wrong. The premise is that we are all passive observers, handicappers, prognosticators, that our role in all of this is to stand on the sidelines and give or take away points according to our evaluation of how Obama is doing. We might call this the Paula Abdul or American Idol conception of our role in politics.

Well, folks, that isn't how it is. From the day he declared for the presidency, Obama said as much. Remember that breathtakingly uplifting line, "We are the change that we have been waiting for"? What on earth did you think that meant? If WE are the change that we have been waiting for, then it is WE who must make the change that we want. It is not going to be given to us, done for us. Obama had the good sense to recognize that major changes in American domestic policy would be possible ONLY if vast numbers of Americans worked for those changes -- not merely voted for them on election day, and then went home to wait and see whether they happened, but WORKED for them every day, for as long as it took.

We now have a president who proposes dramatic change and uses the office of the presidency to work for it. That is what we voted for. This means that IF we do the work that is required to force our representatives in Congress to vote for that change, then he will happily sign the bills and implement the changes. It means that Obama will appoint men and women who will manage their agencies and departments so as to advance the changes we voted for.

Obama is doing his part, with greater success than anyone knowing American politics had any right to expect. The question before us now is NOT whether HE will succeed or fail, but whether WE will do our part, and provide him with the political support he needs to enact the changes that he called for and that we voted for.

Anyone who does not understand this simply does not understand how American politics works, or else is too passive, defeated, and depressed to pitch in and make things happen.

So, what to do? I have said it before, but I will say it again. Go to http://www.mybarackobama.com and find SOMETHING on the website to sign up for. if you really cannot figure out what to do, send me an email and I will make some suggestions.

Now let's all stop whining.

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