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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Monday, December 14, 2009

JOE LIEBERMAN

It is a slow Monday morning, foggy here in Chapel Hill. I have a half hour before I take my four mile walk [I hate to start while it is still dark -- I cannot see where to put my feet], so I thought I would take a few minutes to explain why I hate Joe Lieberman so much.

It isn't really political, although right now he is threatening yet again to destroy the coalition for health care reform. Objectively speaking, Lieberman's voting record in Congress is reasonably liberal -- certainly vastly more so than the voting record of Sessions or Kyl or McCain or Hatch or any of the other Republican senators. No, the reason is personal, even though I have never met Lieberman, nor even seen him in person.

There is a certain kind of Jewish man for whom the phrase "passive aggressive" was coined. This is a sweet, slightly sad man with a wry smile about his lips, whose voice is soft and a trifle crooning, who will tell you to your face how much he cares for you and feels your pain, and then knife you in the back every chance he gets. He tends to marry a strong woman to whom he professes undying devotion, even as he shares unvoiced with his fellow men the secret that they are all afraid of their wives. He never exhibits strong passions of any sort -- not anger, not lust, not even real love. Each time he does a sneaky, vicious, underhanded, immoral thing, he gets a sad look on his face as though it were something being done to him, rather than something he has done. In effect, he lives his entire life in the passive rather than the active voice, acknowledging no responsibility for the pain he inflicts, and managing always to communicate that it is hurting him so much that his victim really ought to feel pity for him, rather than rage at what he has done. These passive aggressive Jewish men are, at bottom, bitter. Their supposed sweetness is all sham, made doubly intolerable by their inability ever to admit that it is a sham.

My family was full of men like this. My rage at them is visceral and deeply rooted. To keep from becoming that way, it was necessary for me to reject the unspoken offers of love and affection that came from them, because the price of that love was a willingness to be complicit in the shared lie that they were really decent honorable men. For those who recall my rant about the recent film, A Serious Man, the root of my revulsion was the presence in the movie of an entire community of such men.

Every time I watch Lieberman on television, and hear that sad little catch in his voice, see that sweet, sorrowful smile, I recognize him for the snake he is and want nothing more than -- in the words of the Old Testament that I am sure he carries with him always -- to crush him under my heel.

Well, that was fun. Now for my walk.

4 comments:

Ann said...

Hopefully President Obama will put Humpty Dumpty........er, hum, that is........the Senate Democratic deal on health care reform....back together in the meeting at the White House tomorrow....just in time for him to fly to Copenhagen to put climate change talks back together, as well, for an agreement there by the end of the week!

ajrosa said...

What a coincidence, I was thinking this very afternoon about Ol' Joe--wondering how he constantly gets re-elected, about the insurance companies that line his coffers, how he likes to hold Democrat initiatives hostage, his "flip-flopping" for sake of holding the spotlight, his Zionist, hawkish foreign policy views, his whinny sound bites promising to block even the most mediocre of reforms, and how much he has in common with several nut job, Waspish politicians from this great state of Oklahoma.

matthew said...

I was going over Lieberman's senseless nonsense about health care and almost immediately I knew I had to check out your blog. You didn't disappoint Dr. Wolff; I figured you'd be sharpening your claws on Lieberman's smug sense of self-worth. Happy disemboweling.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Alas, the bad news is that the White House has pressured Harry Reid to cave to Lieberman, and Lieberman has won. We shall see. Harkin wants to eliminate the filibuster, and perhaps that could carry, and transform the landscape. I am so dispirited that I can hardly bring myself to blog. This is not, right now, my favorite country.