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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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, February 6, 2016

A RESPONSE TO PLGOLD2792

Someone with the impenetrable webname plgold2792 makes the following request:  "would you mind pointing me in the direction of your other posts on why it makes an important difference to elect a Democrat rather than a Republican? I would welcome your analysis, considering that I myself am worried about this question: I like Jill Stein of the Green Party better than even Sanders, and am back and forth about how to proceed."  I cannot recall a post in which I argued this proposition, but I am happy to make some remarks about it here.  Since I cannot for the life of me tell whether plgold2792 is male or female [or even more than one person], I shall adopt the convention of assuming plgold2792 is female.  Nothing of significance turns on this assumption.
Why, she asks, does it make an important difference to elect a Democrat rather than a Republican?  In order to simplify and focus my remarks, I am going to assume that Clinton and Rubio are the nominees.  If Trump is the Republican nominee [which I still think is likely] the entire argument changes.  As far as foreign policy is concerned, there is nothing much to choose between the two.  Both will pursue a relatively hawkish version of the imperial project that has defined American foreign policy for the last sixty-five years.  Let me turn to domestic policy.  First of all, Clinton will appoint liberal Supreme Court justices and Circuit Courts of Appeal judges.  This will protect such rights to reproductive health as women now have, and may also reverse the efforts by the High Court to completely gut voting rights protections.  Rubio will appoint justices who continue the assault on union rights, on the plutocratization of American politics [if I may coin a phrase], and much else besides.  This, by itself, is enough to make the election of Clinton essential.
Clinton will not be able, with the House firmly in the control of the Republicans, to sponsor and sign any legislation, however timidly progressive, but she will be able to use the very considerable executive authority of the Presidency to make small but nevertheless significant advances in reasonably progressive policies [saving only the reining in of Wall Street, which she will pretend to do but will in fact not undertake at all.]  In particular, I would point out that Clinton would almost certainly continue Obama's efforts to advance the American and international response to global warming, a subject that I assume is important to plgold2792 inasmuch as she is drawn to the Green Party.
Rubio, on the other hand, would, if he won, probably hold control of the Senate as well, and then a flood of anti-environmental legislation would result, along with the revocation of Obama's executive actions.  The Congress would further restrict women's access to reproductive health, it would undo as much as it could of the Affordable Care Act, it would give massive tax breaks to the rich, and it would advance the agenda of multi-national capital at the expense of American workers.
All in all, this litany of horribles, in my opinion, justifies holding one's nose and voting for Clinton.


2 comments:

C Rossi said...

The argument of your former student and my former teacher Andrew Levine against Clinton and Clintonism and against "lesser-evilism."

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/05/smash-clintonism-why-democrats-not-republicans-are-the-problem/

Just getting back to mental life after an illness, and I am enjoying your delightful and challenging lectures on ideological critique.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

C. Rossi, delighted to hear from you and to learn that you are well. What a great rant from Andrew. Thank you. He is one of my favorite students. I did not know he was at IPS now.