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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Friday, March 19, 2010

AND NOW, TO SLIDE THE SAUSAGE MEAT INTO THE CASING AND TIE IT OFF

These last few days and hours of the health care reform struggle are absolutely fascinating, and deserve close attention. Nancy Pelosi and the White House have now reached the stage of calculating exactly which endangered House Democrats they can permit to vote NO. Retiring members must vote yes, because they have no political price to pay. Close attention is being paid to the details of each district in which a Member is standing for re-election. Does an endangered Dem have a large African American constituency [presumed to be a safer constituency than some others?] Does a Member already have a Yes vote on the earlier bill on his or her record, and hence cannot be expected to suffer much more from a Yes vote this time around? And so forth. It is mesmerizing to see the American political system work exactly as it was set up to work, with everyone sniffing the wind, calculating the odds, balancing constituency pressure against party loyalty.

It is going to work, the bill is going to pass, and Obama will suddenly go from being a potentially failed President to being the first President since Teddy Roosevelt to pull off health care reform.

Let me repeat what I said many blog posts ago. If you are trying to get three hundred plus million people to act as one, and you don't want to use brute force or terror, this is what governing looks like. We who are pure of heart and forever excluded from the the inner circles of power may decry the messiness and imperfection of it all. But the alternatives are all around us in the history of the past one hundred years, and they do not inspire confidence. The best strategy for those of us on the left is to work endlessly for small leftward adjustments in the resolution of the parallelogram of political forces, at least until and unless we are favored with a revolutionary moment.

I remind you of Paul Newman's classic advice to Robert Redford in THE STING, when Redford asks Newman how to play The Big Con against Doyle Lonnegan [the late great Robert Shaw.] Even if we win, it will not be enough, but it is all we are going to get, so we have to just walk away.

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