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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON THE THOUGHT OF KARL MARX. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for Robert Paul Wolff Marx."




Total Pageviews

Saturday, February 3, 2018

MEANSPIRITED THOUGHTS ON SUPER BOWL EVE

Some of you, no doubt, are familiar with the Grey Panthers, a group formed in 1970 to combat forced retirement which has gone on to bring progressive senior citizens together in support of a wide range of domestic and foreign policy issues.  Last Monday, after I returned home from delivering my first Marx lecture, Susie and I went to a meeting of the Carolina Meadows Democratic Club.  Carolina Meadows has 600 residents in Independent Living and roughly 150 in Assisted Living.  The CM Democratic Club claims 423 members [before Susie and I joined], and assuming not every Democrat here has taken the trouble to join, we Democrats would seem to be 2/3 or more of the CM residents.

The meeting very definitely had a Grey Panther feel.  There was a sea of grey hair, and plenty of canes, walkers, and hearing aids.  Thanks to some very imaginative gerrymandering, Carolina Meadows lies in Mark Walker’s bright red Congressional District, so there is not much hope, even in a wave year, of unseating him.  That leaves state house and senate seats and other local contests, which I shall do my best to assist.  But this is only February, so it will be a while before my agita can be translated into useful political action.  Meanwhile, I am left to stew and fret and anguish about the daily assaults on the elements of democratic political institutions.  Which brings me to my mean spiritedness.

I have hated the powerful, reactionary men and women who dominate our politics all of my adult life.  My contempt for them is a settled component of my personality, as familiar and unalterable as my facial tics.  I do not give either of them much thought because I have lived with them for more than seventy years.  But I have developed a new, and therefore especially vivid, detestation for the young princelings and princesses of the Trump entourage. The jeunesses dorées, as they were called in the ancien régime, of Trump world:  Ivanka Trump, Donald Jr., Jared Kushner – and Hope Hicks.  Privileged, smug, greedy, self-satisfied, ignorant, malevolent, possessed of a boundless and utterly unwarranted self-assurance, they preen and parade before us.  It would gravely underestimate their self-delusion to say of them that they had been born on third base and thought they had hit triples.

Donald Jr. and Jared are already in Bob Mueller’s crosshairs, and now Hope Hicks is about to have her turn.  It warms my heart [this is the mean-spirited part] to think that she may find herself indicted for conspiracy or lying to an FBI agent or Grand Jury or even, deo volente, for participation in a money-laundering scheme.  I desperately want them all to be brought low, for the smugness to be wiped from their faces, to see a hunted look in those lifeless eyes.  I would confess to schadenfreude if I felt the slightest schaden about my freude


It is cold outside, even here in North Carolina.  The prospect of their downfall enables me to sleep at night.

8 comments:

David Auerbach said...

A favorite word of mine, lodged there by The Magnificent Ambersons, is "comeuppance".

F Lengyel said...

These are people who cannot feel good about themselves unless they have taken advantage of others--to put it mildly. It's not the least bit mean spirited to wish for their comeuppance.

s. wallerstein said...

The only one of them whom I've ever listened to is Ivanka and I wouldn't call her "malevolent". She's too blind to be called "malevolent". She overflows with "good intentions" and she seems completely unaware that others may see her as "having been born on third base while believing that she hit a triple".

The others may be malevolent, but in general, people like them tend to be very very blind. They have developed incredible defense mechanisms which do not allow them to see how much damage their family (and their subclass) do. I say "subclass" because some rich people, for example, George Soros, make an effort to compensate the damage done by good works and seem much more aware of what's going in the world.

Donald J. Trump is openly malevolent, on the other hand.


Ed Barreras said...

Funny. I can never find myself being able to muster much of an emotional l response to the T***p spawn, including Hope whatsherface. They seem irrelevant and insubstantial to me, like when T***p finally implodes they’ll just shrivel up and blow away.

My ire is stirred much more by the likes of Paul Ryan, who’s a sickening embodiment of the Ayn Rand libertarian frat-boy mafioso ethos. (Recall his hot-mic comment about the GOP caucus being a “family” — it explains a lot of what’s going on, I think.) At least Jervanka et al could never pretend to be anything except the pampered children of privilege, whereas Ryan tries to portray himself as having lifted himself up from working-class roots when really he comes from a wealthy and well-connected family — and, of course, his path through life was greased by Social Security survivor benefits. Barf!

s. wallerstein said...

Ed Barreras,

I agree with you. The most sickening people I've run into online are Ayn Rand libertarians (probably also frat boys). I'm against the death penalty, but maybe we could send them to the gulag.

Jackson Cyril said...

Maybe they've studied their Hobbes! " The love of riches is greater than wisdom...For it is not as the Stoics say, that he who is wise is rich; but rather, it must be said that he who is rich is wise" (De Homine, XI, 8).

Ed Barreras said...

I know some good people who pledged fraternities. I was drawing on an ugly cultural stereotype — which it seems to me isn’t without basis in fact, and which Paul Ryan fits to a tee — but still, I apologize.

s. wallerstein said...

Ed Barreras,

As far as I can see, you didn't insult all frat boys (nor did I), but only frat boys who are Ayn Rand libertarians.

Half of the point of committing oneself to a political stance is being able to insult your
political adversaries with a good conscience.