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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Saturday, December 5, 2015

TERRORISTS

I don't like Chris Matthews.  He is a loud-mouth conversational bully whose idea of an interview is to ask a question and then answer it without allowing the person he is talking to to speak.  But he is not stupid, and on occasion he says something insightful.  Yesterday evening we were listening to his seven p.m. show, which, like everything else on television, was about the horrible events in San Bernardino.  He was puzzled, understandably so, by the behavior of this young couple with a six month old baby girl who dropped their daughter off at grandma's house and then went on, loaded with assault rifles, machine pistols, and pipe bombs, to murder as many people as they could.

Matthews mused, incredulous, that the first six months with a young baby you spend all of your time feeding her, changing diapers, holding her, soothing her, playing with her, getting up in the middle of the night when she cries.  How on earth could they just drop her at grandma's and go off to kill.

They wore masks.  Did they actually think they would unload their magazines, set their pipe bombs, drive away, pick up their daughter, and resume their lives?

I don't need to discuss the deeper meaning of all of this.  The human race has had a love affair with death for as far back as the written or archaeological records reach.  But I simply cannot think my way into the minds of these young parents. 

Needless to say, it has nothing in particular to do with Islam.

2 comments:

Wallace Stevens said...

According to the Globe and Mail, this was only one of an estimated 355 mass shootings in the U.S. this year. Incredible.

Motives may vary in this sad, near daily, toll. But I think that in this case we will find that it had something to do with Islam. I think that it is as wrong to say that this has nothing to do with Islam as it is to say that this IS Islam and all that Islam can be. Religions are open to widely varying interpretations, and there is a violent, uncompromising, intolerant interpretation of Islam, just as there is of other religions. I think that that is what we saw in San Bernardino, Paris, and on the part of ISIS more generally. I think that saying that this is not Islam, or not "true" Islam is like saying that the Crusades were not "true" Christianity. Christianity/Islam IS what Christians/Muslims do.

Wallace Stevens said...

Argghhh...my apologies Professor Wolff. After posting my comment, I read your comment again and I see that you said "nothing IN PARTICULAR to do with Islam," where I had understood "nothing to do with Islam." Yes, I agree, there is nothing unique to Islam about this. What I was reacting to, and have had on my mind recently, is the naïve claim that you hear that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam, or sometimes, nothing to do with "true" Islam. (In the latter case, since most of the people making this claim are not themselves Muslims, I have no idea how they are able to pronounce on what is "true" Islam or not.)

Anyway, you are right, this part of the imponderable, human mess, which, in this case may have been inspired by a certain interpretation of Islam, but could just as easily have been something else.