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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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, May 17, 2011

REFLECTIONS ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AMERICAN SOCIALISM AND FRENCH SOCIALISM

I have been reading everything I can get my hands in the French press about the Strauss-Kahn affair. Now, you will understand that for me this is a time-consuming undertaking, with a certain number of trips to the French-English dictionary [I was, for example, quite unfamiliar with the French word for "handcuffs."] Here is an observation, for what it is worth. There has been a great deal of commentary in the socialist paper, Liberation, about how humiliating it is for Strauss-Kahn to be photographed in handcuffs, to be paraded before news photographers, to be treated, as it were, as a common criminal in the New York courtroom where he was arraigned [another unfamiliar French word.] There has been not much sympathy for him, I must acknowledge, despite the attempt by a few commentators to invoke the difference between prudish American mores and sophisticated French mores. But I have not read a single word suggesting that it might be humiliating for the victim in this affair to be sexually assaulted while simply doing her job, to have to report the events to her coworkers and employers. [She is said, by the way, to be Muslim. Just think for a minute about what that means.]

Now, say what you will about American socialists, a tiny and feeble band as we are. Presented with a confrontation between a white man and a black woman, between a rich, powerful person and a poor, powerless person, between a famous, prominent person and an insignificant person, between someone who earns a salary of half a million dollars a year and someone who probably is lucky to make thirteen dollars an hour, our instinct would be to take the side of the poor, black, powerless woman against the rich, powerful white man. We might be wrong to do so, of course, but that would, I think, be our instinct.

Not so in France, apparently, for all their sophisticated invocations of the latest versions of Marxism. I have to tell you, this thought has generated a little feeling of chauvinist pride in my breast.

2 comments:

Chris said...

John Stewart shrewdly and sardonically commented that the headline: Head of IMF fucks over African, could be looked at in more than one way.

Chris said...

And Ben Stein decides to take the side of the IMF abuser:

http://spectator.org/archives/2011/05/17/presumed-innocent-anyone