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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH ...

In 1968, I was so depressed by the choices offered me in the presidential election that I decided to take the advice of my more radical friends [in those days, I still had friends farther to the left than I am] and vote for Nixon, on the theory that things had to get even worse before they could get better.  When I entered the voting booth, however, my right arm rebelled, and would not pull the Republican lever, so I ended up voting for Humphrey.

After hearing the details of Clinton's AIPAC speech yesterday, I am again tempted by madness.  I shall not succumb, of course.  Hillary  Clinton has actually managed to be clearly not as bad as her almost certain Republican opponent.  But if she wins, as I am confident she will, we can look forward to what her campaign flacks are calling a "more muscular" foreign policy, which is to say endless military engagements everywhere.  Her choice of a Treasury Secretary and a Chair of her Council of Economic Advisers will leave two senior positions on Wall State vacant, thereby offering opportunities for upward mobility in the moneyed classes.

These are hard times.

12 comments:

Chris said...

Vote Green Party :)

My general assumption is that if Trump wins he would be impeached within minutes. No one in either party likes him, and he's bound to do something nebulous enough to get an impeachment bill moving.

Tom Cathcart said...

In this astonishing year, in which Bernie has proven that half the party is far to Hillary's left, I wouldn't bet a large amount of money on either her militarism or her selection of Wall Street types for her cabinet. Bernie has done something that even he probably didn't dare hope for when he started out--brought every decision she makes under intense scrutiny by a huge segment of her party and, incredibly, even by the press, who are always looking for a disagreement. Call me irrationally optimistic, but I think Bernie's contribution has been immense and will continue to be the gift that keeps on giving. The movement we hope for may in some ways already be here.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Tom, I have often described my myself as a Tigger in a world of Eeyores, but you make me look by a grouch by comparison. I am tremendously cheered by your take on things, and I shall adopt it wholeheartedly.

"Donald Trump and Tigger walk into a bar ..." The title for your next book. :)

Jordan said...

Prof. Wolff -- whence your newfound confidence in Clinton's prospects in a battle with Trump? I seem to remember that you had been quite worried in previous posts that Trump's attacking style might be problematic for Clinton.

Chris said...

Tom,
I have to fundamentally disagree with that line of argument, which is rather prominent in mainstream news. Just because Hillary is vocally moving left does not in anyway (not one bit!) indicate that she is politically going to operate to the left. Clinton is a liar, and prevaricates to garner more power. That's not really debatable. It's not hard to start listing dozens and dozens of lies, and dozens and dozens of flip-flops that are solely based in power and nor values and principles. Hillary Clinton vocally moving to the left is indicative strictly of her ability to lie and prevaricate, it offers no evidence that she will actually legislate leftward. Moreover, she has the second largest Super PAC (Jeb had the largest) of any candidate running, and is still taking money from the people she 'speaks' left of. She'll need that money again in 4 years, so she's not going to bite the hand that feeds.

So does Hillary speak more to the left? Yes. Will she govern more to the left? Doubtful. Is this a symbolic victory? I guess. But those don't matter so long as material change doesn't come about, and the same relations of production and legislation endure. And they will under Clinton. The gradual shift towards a right corporate nation continues, regardless of her comments.

Best,
CB

Chris said...

Professor Wolff did you catch what Sanders said about Israel-Palestine on CNN recently?

Tom Cathcart said...

Chris, I agree with you when it comes to principle. Where the hope lies, I think, is that the Clintons are politicians. Bill counted noses and moved rightward. Now it's a new moment, and I'm guessing Hillary will count noses and move leftward. We can call that unprincipled or we can call it democracy. I guess it's both, but I'll take it. Tom

Chris said...

The reason I don't share your optimism is that I think she needs that big donor money and that super pac money again in 4 years, so she cannot move leftward without cutting it off. Less counting noses, and more dollars?
Best,
CB

Tom Cathcart said...

Maybe, but I think that's going to be harder for her now that "captive of Wall Steet" is part of the political vocabulary.

Michael Llenos said...

Dr. Wolff,
Remember, President Bill Clinton pulled out of Somalia in just a mere 2 days of fighting. I expect the same caution and prudence from Hillary.

Jerry Fresia said...

To Tom and Chris;

All the reason more for Bernie to announce, at the appropriate time, that his campaign will continue after November, that a political revolution is possible and that he will dedicate his efforts to continue mobilization of the young. Now, I not optimistic about this but perhaps all his $27 financiers, who enjoy a modicum of access, can push Bernie in this direction. I believe the Sandinistas, and perhaps others, called this "governing from below."

Chris said...

Couldn't agree more. If Bernie is not the Democratic nominee I would either vote for him on some other platform or Jill Stein.
I hope he does what you suggest!