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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Thursday, February 2, 2017

LET US ALL TAKE A DEEP BREATH

OK, folks, I think the situation we are in is making us all a little crazy.  I am as ready to speculate on the physical condition of Trump and Bannon as anyone, but unfortunately none of us is in a position to turn that speculation into actionable intelligence [sorry, I have been binge watching Covert Affairs.]  Let me make a suggestion:  Let us try to keep the speculation, however enjoyable, separate from discussion of steps we can take to weaken or defeat Trump and the Republicans, and let us keep that in turn separate from broader analyses of the domestic or international situation.

I think it is now pretty clear [but obviously not at all certain] that Bannon has at least for the moment won any internal White House struggles taking place for Trump’s ear and mind [such as it is.]  The Muslim ban, the aggressive telephone calls with U. S. allies, the efforts to seize control of elements of the administrative bureaucracy, the shutting out of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other regular participants in security and military decision making, even the premature and disastrous Special Forces raid – none of this feels like the doing of Reince Priebus.  And the deliberate omission of any mention of the Jews in the statement commemorating the Holocaust certainly does not sound like something that an Orthodox Jew like son-in-law Kushner would push.

I cannot see any way for us and our millions of fellow agitators to influence those internal struggles, at least not directly.  But the pressure we have been putting on our elected “representatives” does seem to be stiffening the spines of the Democrats and giving pause to a few Republicans.  From which I draw the conclusion that right now, today, we should be calling Senators to push against the confirmation of DeVos, Sessions, and others.  Any victory, however small, is worth the effort, but I have another motive.  I want to see how Trump reacts the first time he is told “no” by Congress.  It is at least possible that he will violently overreact, and that could have a usefully destabilizing effect.


The longer game – much longer – is to do whatever we can to encourage viable candidates to stand for seats in state legislatures and the House, even in solidly Republican districts.  I think a year and more of Trump may create the possibility of a “wave” election driving from office otherwise safe Republicans, and should that happen, we need to have candidates willing to announce and run.  In short, we need a Howard Dean “fifty state strategy.”

9 comments:

Chris said...

Professor Wolff,
Deep philosophical question for you, perhaps the deepest ever asked: where and how the hell do you find these tv shows!!!


Okay now strategy. I do think it's absolutely important to turn a few republicans against Trump. If just 5-10 can be made to realize he really is a fascist threat to America, then they can work with the democrats to absolutely stall this guy. That said I don't know which republicans to start trying to turn other than my two senators here in GA, and one of them is definitely pro trump.

I. M. Flaud said...

Here's a letter to Trump from 152 professional scientific, engineering and education societies, national associations, and universities regarding the Jan 27th Executive Order on immigration and visas.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I have Amazon Prime and I search around on it for stuff to watch.

Chris said...

What's your all time desert island favorite tv show?
And for that matter novel?

s. wallerstein said...

This guy, who is not a leftist as far as I can see, says that Trump's honeymoon with the stock market will not last long because Trump's economic program will not work (from Wall St.'s point of view) nor will it create the promised jobs. It may be that we'll soon have Wall St. on our side too.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/feb/02/trump-honeymoon-stock-market-dow-jones

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Chris, all time favorite tv show [can you get tv on a desert islanbd?] would be Star Trek the Next Generation. Novel? Hmm. I only read novels once, but Pride and Prejudice might do it.

My favorite book would of course be How To Get Off a Desert Island.

s. wallerstein said...

You only read novels once? You've never even been tempted to reread a novel, maybe one you first read 50 years ago? I read and reread and reread a few novels and probably will reread them a few times more if I live long enough. You should take a poll to see if other readers of your blog only read novels once.

Chris said...

Wallerstein, I think I read several dozen novels a year. Far more than I do philosophy books. And some are rereads.

Anonymous said...

If our attention is being diverted to TV shows, what about The Good Place? It's a comedy set in the afterlife and featuring a deceased ethics professor who talks about not just classic figures like Plato but contemporaries such as T. M. Scanlon. There might be a philosophy grad on the writing staff.