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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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




Total Pageviews

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A LION IN THE CAPITOL [SHAKESPEARE, JULIUS CAESAR ACT I SCENE 3]

One of the standard literary tropes for conveying a breach in the social order is a violation of the natural order -- a lion walking in the Capitol, in Julius Caesar, for example.  We are now witnessing a breach of the social order so violent, so unexpected, so incomprehensible that I fully expect to encounter lions lying down with lambs and peaches dropping from fig trees.  Deeply conservative Republicans have started attacking venture capitalism as Vulture Capitalism, taking large ad buys to tell piteous stories of ordinary men and women who lost their jobs as a consequence of the wealth-amassing actions of predatory investors.  I feel that to capitalize on this development, I must rush back into print my books on the thought of Karl Marx.  Surely, Lady Gaga will soon record The Internationale and The Wall Street Journal will launch a serialization of The Communist Manifesto.  If I had not tarnished my brand by announcing myself an anarchist as well as a Marxist, I could expect momentarily to be tapped for guest appearances on Fox News.

It is all very well to reply calmly that just as soon as the Republicans anoint Romney as their standard-bearer, they will cease this madness and return to celebrating "the free enterprise system," but as Dan Ackroyd can testify, it is not so easy to stuff the Pillsbury Doughboy back in his can once you have released him. 

I am going to resist the temptation to pontificate about these developments.  Maybe this is an unanticipated consequence of the Occupy Wall Street Movement;  perhaps the zeitgeist has finally aligned itself with the stars.  However that may be, the only thing to do in the short run is to relax and enjoy it.  You may not see its like again in your lifetime.

3 comments:

Debbylee said...

Always happy to read your views...love this.

Debbylee said...

Always happy to read your views...love this.

GTChristie said...

As I understand it, this is mostly Perry's tack and I attribute it to his personal stupidity. What he meant to do was undercut Romney's private-sector record in creating jobs by pointing out that takeover-and-turnaround projects usually entail layoffs. Instead he put his foot in his mouth by insinuating that takeover artists make their money by exploiting the workers. The interesting thing is, Perry has touched the third rail in the Republican party: he's highlighted the Establishment ("Old GOP") base that wants Romney in. He's old school business class and thus a reliable deregulator. Shining a light on that fact in an election year when Big Business is held as much to blame as Big Government for the mess we're in undercuts Romney's chances with the swing voters who 1) helped to vote in Obama and 2) primarily see the world through the lens of their recently raped 401Ks. In other words neither party correctly fathoms the ordinary American's complete contempt for power -- public or private, left or right. Reminding them of Romney's history of "right-sizing" companies is not the way to deflect criticism of Republicans for sleeping with Big Biz. So the idiot actually said something smart. In his stupid way. (I laughed when a reporter asked Perry what he reads, and his reply was 'F A Hayek' although I'm sure he's never read anything at all. And I groaned because the reporter was too slow to ask, "And what part of Hayek did you like, the part about abolishing central banks or the part about supporting a modicum of redistribution to keep the masses happy?" Missed opportunities like that explain how we elect these guys based on superficial horserace reporting in the media, and not on their intellectual merits: the reportage is part of the problem.