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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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

Thursday, June 7, 2018

HI JINKS ON A HIGH WIRE, WITHOUT A NET


Faithful readers of this blog are aware that I have made my long and reasonably successful career as a performance athlete, skating on thin ice.  I started, fifty-five years ago, by publishing an ambitious book on the Critique of Pure Reason, despite the fact that I could scarcely read German.  Having gotten away with this fraud, I went on to write two books and half a dozen articles about the thought of Karl Marx, even being so presumptuous as to offer a literary analysis of the language of the opening chapters of Das Kapital.  It is as though a wannabe literary theorist were to base a deep study of Dostoyevsky on the old translations of Constance Garnett.  Not content with this performance, I abruptly transferred to an Afro-American Studies department and assumed directorship of its cutting edge doctoral program.  You might plausibly describe me as the Wile E. Coyote of academia, blithely racing off cliffs, only to look down too late to discover that there is nothing holding me up.

Thus set in my ways, I started this blog, and last February 20th, on the basis of no knowledge whatsoever, I advanced a theory as to why Robert Mueller had chosen to indict an obscure young identity thief, Richard Pinedo, along with some Trump campaign bigwigs.  I got lucky, and enjoyed about fifteen seconds of fame as a consequence.  So here I go again.

This morning, while having a cup of coffee and listening to cable news before going on my walk, I heard extensive coverage of some appalling remarks made by Rudy Giuliani in Israel yesterday.  Giuliani went on for some time about the Stormy Daniels matter, stating that Melania Trump did not believe for a moment that Trump had had sex with Daniels and then proceeding to say, with much smirking and sneering, “Look at Trump’s three wives.  They are classy women.  Just look at Daniels.  I mean, really [smirk, smirk], can you imagine it?” and so forth.  This came on the same day that Trump wrote a bizarre long tweet repeating all the conspiracy theories someone or other had advanced to explain Melania’s month long absence from public view.  Giuliani went on to claim that after Trump’s cancellation of the summit with Kim Jong-un, Kim had been “on his hands and knees” begging for a summit, “which is just where you want him,” Giuliani said.

All of this was bizarre, even for Rudy.  The bloviators on Morning Joe tut-tutted and tsk-tsked but offered no coherent explanation for Rudy’s behavior.

Enter the thin ice skater.  As I prepare to leave for Paris tomorrow, where I will be without access to my blog, save to read comments, I herewith offer two explanations and a prediction.  If I am right, I shall return to cheers of the Cloud.  If I am wrong, by the time I return everyone will have forgotten.  Win-win.

First, Melania and Stormy.  I think [on the basis, you understand, of absolutely no evidence] that Melania is livid over the public humiliation caused by the endless public discussion of her husband’s affair with a porn star.  I think she has threatened to take her son and walk out of the marriage, invoking the clause in the pre-nup that gives her big bucks if Trump cheats.  [How do I know there is a pre-nup?  I don’t, of course.]  I think behind the scenes Trump and his inner circle have been desperately trying to dissuade her from this action, and Trump’s tweet plus Giuliani’s remarks are part of a deal struck to keep her in the marriage.

Now, Kim.  Giuliani’s language was pure Trump.  You recall his outrageous statement about Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.  In Trump’s narcissistic pre-adolescent brain, the ultimate victory is to have your enemy on his hands and knees begging.

Well, it is an absolute certainty that Kim heard of these statements by Giuliani within ten minutes of their being aired.  But thus far he has not responded.  Herewith my prediction:  Kim will say nothing.  The planning for the summit will proceed.  Trump and his entourage will board Air Force One with much hullabaloo and fly off to Singapore, where he will make a big show of deplaning.

And Kim will not show up.  Trump will be left high and dry, stood up, humiliated, made to look the fool with the whole world watching.  At this point, my crystal ball grows cloudy.  Perhaps Kim will show up after an excruciating delay.  Perhaps he simply will not show up.  Either way, Trump loses.

Well, I am now so far over the edge of the cliff that there is nowhere to go but down, so I shall return to packing and tweaking my Belgian talk.  I wonder whether I am right.

11 comments:

s. wallerstein said...

You'll probably win your first bet, about Trump, Melania and the pre-nup, but I wager that Kim will show up, punctually and politely.


Have a good trip to France and I'm sure that your talk on Marx in Brussels will go well.

Ed Barreras said...

Does someone you trust, perhaps one of your sons, have access to your blog password? Maybe you can email them stuff to post for you. Seems like a small favor... Unless you’d rather treat Paris as a vacation.

s. wallerstein said...

Ed Barreras,

That's a great idea!

Michael Llenos said...

Exodus 22:28 reads:
Thou shall not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.

The Analects of Confucius 2:3 says:
If you govern the people by laws, and keep them in order by penalties, they will avoid the penalties, yet lose their sense of shame. But if you govern them by your moral excellence, and keep them in order by your dutiful conduct, they will retain their sense of shame, and also live up to this standard.

In this post-modern era, I do not know which is harder to obey, citizens obeying the first rule or Democratic leaders obeying all of the latter rule.

Now it's just about a politician's base these days. And forget about everyone else... If you can ally yourself with the base you need, you're gold if they win. If not, it's horrible and depressing...

Of course, people who are not included in the present leader's base feel like they have no obligation to obey the mitzvah of Exodus 22:28. And I believe, perhaps, that is the wrong attitude to have...

The official rallying cry of citizens saying 'No taxation without representation' has turned into the ruler's unofficial rallying cry of 'No representation without base support.'

Michael Llenos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Llenos said...

In Dick Morris' Power Plays (2003), he writes about the successful or unsuccessful uses of new technologies used by FDR, John F. Kennedy, Nixon, and LBJ to obtain political objectives. The new technologies mentioned were: radio, television, and negative ads.

Does anybody have a guess as to how President Trump's political use of Twitter will be historically seen in the future? I mean, come on, he's still using Twitter politically, so it must have some advantage for his political cause? Even if it is just to steady his nerves for the next day's bombardment.

I think Dick Morris is getting ready an updated version of his Power Plays--which he will probably not publish until President Trump's time in the Whitehouse is completed.

Jerry Fresia said...

Off topic but useful information regarding a topic the Professor feels strongly about...and,possibly, a way for us to
protest:

from the blog of Juliet Schor, a PhD economist of note from the UMass, Amherst econ dept:

This is Phebe Novakovic. She's CEO of General Dynamics, which has a lucrative contract w/ Office of Refugee Resettlement, the dept. enforcing Trump's policy of detaining children away from their parents. Her email address, from a public source, is

pnovakovic@generaldynamics.com

blogoogle571 said...

Good idea. I just sent one. Maybe if they pile-up it will at least give her pause to consider that this might not be the best way to advance her company's reputation.

blogoogle571 said...

Here's a link to Dana Milbank's column in last Friday's Washington Post:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/this-is-the-way-of-the-cult/2018/06/15/9a9c9346-70ad-11e8-afd5-778aca903bbe_story.html?utm_term=.5d29b2fe31f4

We aren't completely helpless. He suggests one thing we can do:

"Give to groups such as the Florence Project, which provides legal aid and social services to immigrant families in Arizona, and Catholic Charities USA, which provides crucial help to immigrant families in the Rio Grande Valley."

David Palmeter said...

I don't like anonymous posts, but for some reason Google or someone has decided that my name will no longer be my chosen identity. Instead, I'm "blogoogle571." I think I've fixed it. We'll see. Dave Palmeter

David Palmeter said...

It worked!