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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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, November 30, 2012

AND AGAIN, IN PARIS

We have arrived, massively jet lagged but otherwise fine.  There is some interesting political news from Paris.  The center-right party of Sarkozy that lost the Presidential election to the socialist François Hollande [the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire, or UMP] is engaged in a fratricidal split in some ways similar to what is brewing in the Republican Party at home.  The conflict, according to Le Monde, is as much one of egos as of ideology. The two contestants for the leadership of the Party, Fillon and Copé, are supposed to represent the center-right [Fillon] and extreme right [Copé] wings, and there is talk of Fillon [who lost a recent vote] hiving off to form a new party, but nothing is clear at this point, save that the extreme right-wing Front National Party started forty years ago by Jean-Marie Le Pen and headed now by his daughter Marine, is surging in strength.  The  FN is usually described as fascist, and it is certainly the repository for strong anti-immigrant French sentiment, but if you read the long and detailed article on Marine Le Pen in Wikipedia, you will see that matters are rather complicated.  The FN is very much unlike our own right wing, both because it is fiercely secular, not religious, and because it opposes the globalized capitalist world economy that our own right-wingers seem mindlessly to embrace.

The other news, of course, is that Dominique Strauss-Kahn [DSK], whose sexual harassment of a hotel maid half a year ago cost him the directorship of the IMF and probably the French presidency, has now settled “amicably” the civil suit brought against him by the maid by paying her, according to reports, six million dollars of his wife’s fortune.  You may recall that I sided with her from the very outset, despite the belief of some of my French friends that he had been set up.  The tiny bit of evidence that convinced me was her claim that when he assaulted her and she resisted, he said “Don’t you know who I am?”  That struck me as not at all something an immigrant African woman working as a maid would make up, and exactly what a man like DSK would say.  I think the payment settles the question as to who was telling the truth.

Paris is cold and rainy, and despite that utterly beautiful.  Tonight I shall cook a simple meal of dorade royale fillets, haricots verts, and fingerling potatoes, with a Keyser baguette and a Beaume de Venise for me and a Sancerre blanc for Susie.  I am afraid it us totally impossible to feel sorry for myself.

6 comments:

Jim said...

Professor Wolff --

Everytime you describe your trips to Paris (which has been quite frequent on this blog), I always wish I could spend some time there -- if not make it my permanent residence. There is no doubt that in a number of different instances, you are certainly a privileged individual. Susie's Sancerre sounds nice, but I have always been partial to the crisp, steely Alsatian Pinot Blancs and Pinot Gris. I hope I am not out of line if I ask you to have a glass in my absence.

-- Jim

Jerry Fresia said...

The rise of far right parties in Europe, if not fascism, deserves careful monitoring as this recent article implores:

http://bit.ly/VaJl78

And speaking of wine, you never told us if you enjoyed that special wine on election night. Did you pop the cork after Ohio? No doubt you were in touch with Professor Tobias (will he be invited to one of those inaugural parties?)!

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Jim,I shall raise a glass! I have indeed led a privileged life, for no discernible reason other than dumb luck.

Jerry, I did indeed drink the $68 bottle of chateau neuf du pape, which was wonderful,although it took me two days. The last I heard, Tobias was giving a talk at Yale.

On a more serious note, I am nervously aware of the history of far right parties in Europe. What I really do not know is whether I should be equally worried about the rise of such movements in the U. S. There appear to be tens of millions of Americans deeply disaffected with current American society and desperate for some political expression of their despair, which could be a formula for a home-grown version of fascism.

Seth said...

"I am afraid it us totally impossible to feel sorry for myself."

And just as impossible for any of us to feel sorry for you. :) Bon appétit!

Thanks for the update on French nationalism. If the willfully stupid austerity policies remain in place for long, we should expect their popularity to grow.

W said...

There was an excellent article about the strange goings-on regarding DSK's 'incident' in the U.S. (in the Australian Financial Review I think.) There was definitely more to it than was generally reported but strangely most of it seemed to point to French secret services, possibly setting him up, as well as her recorded conversation with her imprisoned boyfriend (hence the recording.)

I'm sitting on the fence on this one as there's too much evidence for both arguments!

W said...

There was an excellent article about the strange goings-on regarding DSK's 'incident' in the U.S. (in the Australian Financial Review I think.) There was definitely more to it than was generally reported but strangely most of it seemed to point to French secret services, possibly setting him up, as well as her recorded conversation with her imprisoned boyfriend (hence the recording.)

I'm sitting on the fence on this one as there's too much evidence for both arguments!