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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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 23, 2012

THE TREYVON MARTIN CASE

I will not undertake to explain the facts of this case to those of you who are unfamiliar with it.   You can Google it to find out.  I simply want to say this:

The pundit commentary has been ignorant and historically blind.  This is not a hate crime.  It is a lynching, legally authorized by the laws of Florida, signed into law by that supposedly sound, sensible mature Republican, Jeb Bush.

I do not know how long it will be before the Black community concludes that it must take its defense into its own hands.  And they will be right.

5 comments:

Hume said...

So it is your opinion that Zimmerman "reasonably believed" that his life was in danger?

Robert Paul Wolff said...

What? I just said that Zimmerman lynched Martin. What on earth are you talking about?

Hume said...

If that is the case, then Zimmerman did not "reasonably believe" that his life was in danger (which I agree he likely did not). As a result, he should be prosecuted under Florida law *without* recourse to the self-defense statute. But if this is so, it undermines the claim that the killing was "legally authorized by the laws of Florida, signed into law by ... Jeb Bush." It was a wrongful killing, period, and it is not protected by the laws of Florida. I dont think you can have it both ways: that he lynched Martin AND that such lynching was legally permitted.

Hume said...

I should note, however, that I do believe your claim could be vindicated by showing that the practice of legal officials, citizens, etc., is such that this kind of behavior--lynching of unarmed individuals--actually *is* authorized by the legal system in question. I have in mind here something like a Hartian theory of a legal system and his discussions of a rule of recognition, where the social practice is such that the formal text of a statute is not determinative of the actual existence of a law in the given jurisdiction. This would require a showing of a system-wide practice that, as far as I know, does not seem to exist in Florida (or maybe this happens all the time, and I am ignorant of the empirical realities).

Robert Paul Wolff said...

In this case, the empirical realities, as you call them, matter. For a very long time, lynching was legally sanctioned. It was a long hard struggle to get the US Congress actually to pass an anti-lynching law. There were many cases in which the local law handed Black men over the lynch mobs. I chose my words carefully.