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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

AN EXISTENTIAL WARNING

All of us are familiar with the famous poem, by Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

But the message it conveys, poignant and powerful as it may be, is in one way fundamentally false.  Yes, they [the Nazis] came for the Socialists, and for the Trade Unionists, and for the Jews.  They came, also, for the Homosexuals and for the Gypsies.  But they did not come for the Good Germans, the fine, upstanding Aryans with their arms outthrust in the Nazi salute and their sons enrolled in the Hitlerjugend.  For them it was all good, deeply satisfying, just what they had voted for, and it would have gone on being good if only the Nazis had not made the mistake of losing the war.

Now Donald Trump and his handlers are coming for the undocumented, they are coming for the transgendered, they are coming for the reporters, and soon they will come for the gays, for the women who dare to assert control over their own bodies, and for anyone who speaks against the government, who demonstrates against the Administration, who condemns the kleptocratic narcissist in the White House.

But they will not come for the true believers, the Trumpists, the haters, the misogynists, the homophobes, the xenophobes.  For them it is all good, deeply satisfying, just what they voted for. 
Let us not make the mistake of imagining that we are all in this together.  Irreducibly, ungetoverably, it is us against them, and every single person in America must answer the question of the old Union song:


Which side are you on?

4 comments:

David Palmeter said...

While Trump won’t come for his supporters, over time many of them are sure to leave Trump—with any luck, by the time of the 2018 elections

The jobs issue is going to kill him. Last night’s PBS Newshour had a segment on Erie, PA—former Democrats who voted for Trump because he said he could bring those good, blue-collar jobs back. The fact is, he can’t bring them back And he can’t bring mining jobs back to Appalachia because coal is no longer very competitive and getting less so every day.

When the realization comes to those voters that they’ve been had (and “had” they have been) some of them, at lease, will desert him.

The sad fact is that there is no good answer for these people or their shrinking communities. We’re in a bitter period of readjustment and those who can’t readjust are in for a difficult time, no matter who wins the next election.

Anonymous said...

Nice post fomenting fear

David said...

I just returned from a march to, and demonstration at, the office of Congressman Dave Reichert (R-in hiding). At least a thousand people attended, many with the creative signs we've come to expect from this new era of protest. My favorite chant: "Where's Dave? Dave's not here!"

Dave Reichert has been in office since 2004, but this year his district went for Clinton. His refusal to meet with constituents at a town hall is bringing him some much-deserved bad publicity, and with a decent challenger next time, 2018 will mark the end of career in the House.

Anonymous said...

The raving, racist reactionary William Vallicella has linked to your blog, which explains the idiotic and hostile comments above. I suggest you just delete them, so these sorry people go back to where they came from.