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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Thursday, November 26, 2015

THANKSGIVING DYSPEPSIA

Many commentators have written well and forcefully about the incipient fascism now gripping the Republican Party and the nation at large.  Take a look at Harold Meyerson's piece today in the Washington Post.  [The Post informs me that I have "read my limit of free articles" in the Post for this month and since I refuse to pay for the privilege, I cannot go back and copy the URL for a link in this post.]   Other authors have drawn suggestive comparisons between Trump and Francisco Franco or have called to mind the many shameful episodes in American history when the country succumbed to xenophobic lawlessness. 

I have become more and more persuaded that there are dangers here that in their potential for genuine harm outweigh the understandable and pleasurable schadenfreude we on the Left experience at the prospect of a Trump candidacy.  I have no idea what Trump actually believes, and quite possibly neither does he.  But then, I have no idea what Hitler really believed.  It is worth recalling that Nazism did not begin with a proposal for the Final Solution.  It swept through Weimar Germany, arguably the most sophisticated and intellectually advanced European country at that time, fueled by the resentment of the German people at the punitive provisions of the Versailles Treaty and their longing for lebensraum.  The resentments giving life to Trump's assault on American legal and moral norms are different, of course, but the sentiments are quite similar. 

Could Trump defeat Clinton in the general election?  Not as things now stand.  The polls are quite reassuring.  But imagine a Paris-like attack somewhere in America in September or October 2016. 

What is to be done?, to echo someone to whom I do not often look for inspiration.  We need to speak out, although that will have little or no impact on those whose thinly veiled fascist leanings are given legitimacy by Trump's campaign.  Beyond that, I fear that when the Primary season is done, if Trump has indeed captured the nomination [as I have argued, in a recent post, he well might], we will have no choice but to do everything we can, individually and collectively, to ensure a Clinton victory.  America can survive yet one more President in thrall to Wall Street.  I am not so sanguine that it can survive full-grown nativist fascism.

3 comments:

David said...

I live in the Seattle area, one of the few places in this country in which the political trend seems to be to the left, not the fascist right. For example, Kshama Sawant, of the Socialist Alternative, won reelection to the city council by ten points. In general, the city council is slowly moving left, though there is plenty of opposition from business interests. Our teacher's union conducted an overwhelmingly successful strike this fall, in which we joined with the parent community to force a business-oriented administration to make a host of concessions. The terms of political debate in the city have shifted in favor of workers' and tenants' rights, even if legislation is slow to follow after protracted debate. Some political commentators have described Seattle as a kind of liberal island in Washington's more conservative political geography. The contrast seems even more distinct when we consider Seattle's crawl to the left in the context of fascist America's resurgence.

What is to be done? I wish I had some words of wisdom from our little outpost on the Left Coast, but I do not. An all-too-common topic of conversation in our household is "what are we going to do if Trump is elected President?" To say that he probably won't be elected isn't very reassuring.

Thanks, J. said...

Why is Trump a fascist exactly?

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Here is a URL for a very useful discussion of the ways in which Trump is a fascist. Cut and paste.

http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/unprecedented-nightmare-donald-trump-hes-actually-fascist