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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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
LECTURE ONE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d__In2PQS60
LECTURE TWO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al7O2puvdDA

ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ONE THROUGH TEN ON IDEOLOGICAL CRITIQUE



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Friday, May 1, 2015

JONATHAN SWIFT HAD IT EASY


These are hard times for satirists.  The Onion is in danger of becoming just another condiment for cheeseburgers.  It is bad enough that scores of millions of Americans, led by a former candidate for the Vice Presidency, actually believe that in the not too distant future they will be taken up bodily to heaven, minus their tooth fillings, artificial hips, and hair implants, leaving the rest of us to deal with the End Times.  Now a sizable number of Texans have become convinced that the Federal Government is planning, under the guise of an Army training exercise, to seize control of the state and take away everyone's guns.  The Governor, mindful of the threat, has pledged to use the Texas National Guard to monitor the maneuvers to ascertain whether they pose a threat to the liberty of his constituents.

As Freud observed a good long time ago, what we profess to fear is often a useful clue to what we secretly desire.  I suspect that the hysteria in Texas is caused not be the belief that the rest of the country covets Texas, but by the fear that we actually don't very much like Texas and would be quite happy to see it go away. 

If Jonathan Swift were alive today and were to float a contemporary version of his modest proposal that the starving Irish eat their own children, I fear that the most vigorous response would come from vegans.

3 comments:

TheDudeDiogenes said...

A+ on the vegan quip!

Might you have anything to say about Sen. Sanders announcing his candidacy? (Perhaps on his chances of winning the nomination or how he might use the Obama ground game strategy or whether he might convince Sen. Warren to run with him?)

Brian W. Ogilvie said...

There was a wonderful response in the comments thread to a TPM article on the Texas business. I will quote it in full:

"Dear Texas,
"A nation does not have to 'take over' territory that is already part of that nation. So, there's that, and then there's the weird fact that you are worrying about the imminent onset of something that already happened 150 years ago. Space and time, Texas, space and time.
"Sincerely,
"Captain Obvious"

Source: http://forums.talkingpointsmemo.com/t/discussion-tx-gov-orders-nat-guard-to-monitor-possible-military-takeover-of-texas/19757/16

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Thanks for that, Brian [since we were colleagues, I allow myself the informality.] I rather suspect there are a number of people in Texas who have not yet quite reconciled themselves to the incorporation of Texas into the Union.