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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Friday, May 26, 2017

A QUIET WORD

I have been increasingly distressed by the direction of American public affairs, and for the first time in my long life, I am fearful for the survival of such democracy as we have in this nation.  I do not want to argue about this, I am not interested in being told that I should have been this worried earlier, I simply want to say that for as long as I continue to live, I intend to continue to struggle for what I believe and for the people whom I identify as my comrades.  I honestly do not know whether we shall win out in the end, but the alternative, which is to decline into passivity, is unacceptable to me.

We are surrounded and confronted by such raw cruelty, brutality, greed, and -- yes, alas -- acquiescence that the struggle will be difficult and the outcome quite uncertain.

I will continue to blog about the public world, and also about the ideas that have been my companion and inspiration for a lifetime.  I welcome your presence, your comments, your commitment to shared goals and principles.

These are hard times.

5 comments:

howard b said...

Dear Professor:

Your gut instinct has greater refinement than my own. To me it seems like some evil experiment on learned helplessness on lab rats (like the experiments that won Seligmnan notoriety)- we are drifting and drifting- we do not want to assist Trump, but how do we resist, just by trying to keep our lives and institutions from failing, when we cannot resist effectively as individuals or even by taking to the streets or with institutions which are failing or not up to the task.
Sometimes I feel as pessimistic as you. It really does look bad at certain times of the day, I must say.This is virgin territory, so no body has a clue.
Even existence as if going about our lives as an act of defiance seems futile

s. wallerstein said...

I'd just add "passive complicity" to your mention of "acquiescence"


David said...

Professor Wolff,

As I've alluded to in previous comments, I started an ad hoc group to study how we could better integrate ethnic studies into our social studies curricula. We're now meeting weekly, and while we're mostly still brainstorming, I envision that eventually our discussions will be formalized into concrete proposals.

Part of my own self-study has included reading your Autobiography of an Ex-White Man: Learning a New Master Narrative for America. I found the book to be lively, insightful, entertaining, and inspiring. I highly recommend it to your blog readers, if they haven't read it already.

I don't wish to diminish the concerns you express in this post. In fact, I share them. However, I try to remind myself that many people in this country have faced much worse, and often they have faced it with courage and grace.

Tom Cathcart said...

A ray of hope: lt looks as if the Kushner backchannel story may have lit a fire under even the Republicans on the Senate Committee.

Jerry Fresia said...

I hope you realize that your blog is a place of refuge in this storm, despite the occasional squabbling. Your blend of scholarship and political commentary is rather unique.

In any case, Trump is likely not to serve out his full term. So I think it may be useful to broaden these discussions to include
a President Pence. I read, this morning, an alarming forecast, about his proclivities (http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/05/26/why-pence-might-be-even-worse-than-trump/).

I agree with you Tom. The Kushner backchannel, along with financial shenanigans, not to mention the obstruction of justice and the emoluments clause violations, may provide real substance to impeachment articles. Again, I'm not sure elevating Pence is anything to get excited about, however. Hopefully, Pence will get dragged down too.