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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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




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Saturday, April 21, 2018

TIGGER SNIFFS THE SPRING BREEZES AND REGAINS HIS SUNNY DISPOSITION


The secret to the NRA’s success, we are repeatedly told, is the fact that gun rights advocates are single issue voters, ready to set aside even economic self-interest in pursuit of their obsessive desire to own assault rifles.  Fair enough.  In a winner-take-all electoral system, single issue voting is one of the few ways to express cardinal rather than simply ordinal preference.  I have a dream, and here it is.  The only thing that can successfully counter a single-issue voting bloc is another single-issue voting bloc, especially a voting bloc that has not in the past voted at all but is now motivated to get out to the polls.  The high school students’ gun control movement has the potential to be just such a counter-weight to the gun rights activists.  Using social media, the students can communicate with an extremely broad segment of the 18-21 age population, historically the least likely to vote.  If they really do mobilize, the idea of voting, and voting only for pro-regulation candidates, could easily go viral, tilting even solidly red districts blue.  We shall see.

I do not speak, read, or write Korean, I have never been to the Korean Peninsula or even to Asia, and in the immortal words of Will Rogers, all I know is what I read in the papers, so take what follows with enough salt to satisfy a chef in a Chinese restaurant.  I got my start in political activism sixty years ago with the campaign for nuclear disarmament.  I wrote, spoke, marched, and protested in favor of getting rid of nuclear weapons, not merely limiting their possession to America, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain.  Well, we failed big time, and the world is now awash in small, medium, and large fission, fusion, and dirty bombs capable of being delivered by everything from an intercontinental ballistic missile to a suitcase.  By my count, there are at least nine countries that have workable nuclear weapons, the most recent of them being North Korea.  Only one nation has actually used nuclear weapons in war, namely America, which, I think we can agree, somewhat limits its moral authority in this matter, though not of course, its presumption of moral superiority.

At the moment, one of the most urgent dangers of catastrophic [even if not nuclear] war is America’s bipartisan insistence that North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons is “unacceptable” whereas Pakistan’s, India’s, Israel’s, Russia’s, France’s, Great Britain’s, and China’s is not.  [I leave to one side the possibility that Iran will develop nuclear weapons.]  If America launches a pre-emptive attack on North Korea’s nuclear weapons sites, a million or more men, women, and children could die in the resultant war.

There now seems to be a genuine possibility that Trump will agree to North Korea’s continued possession of nuclear weapons in return for their agreement to discontinue further development of more sophisticated delivery systems and the regularization of relations with South Korea.  This would be a triumph for North Korea, giving it everything it has sought for more than sixty years.  Trump would trumpet the agreement as proof of his spectacular deal-making, and in all likelihood John Bolton would resign in outrage.  One can but hope.

Meanwhile, Michael Cohen is going to be indicted.  It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.



4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wonder, would this significant development in NK be lamented as a "triumph for North Korea", if it were happening under Obama?

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I find this comment puzzling. I was not lamenting it, I was welcoming it, as I would have had Obama done it.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough - I just didn't read it that way.

Anonymous said...

The world cannot take a nuclear hit anywhere, not just in Korea. Evan an errant one lobbed into the Pacific would create unimaginable chaos. Not just in terms of environmental damage, but ensuring economic, political, and cultural shock waves will all but wipe out the uneasy equilibrium we now have. The only country that could come out ahead of all this turmoil would be Russia.