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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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Friday, May 13, 2016


First things first:  I have read Plato's dialogues, some of them many times, but I do not by any stretch of my imagination consider myself a serious student of his thought, so I am happy to bow to the superior wisdom of those who have objected to my offhand remarks about him.  As they say down here in North Carolina, but do not say where I was born, brought up, and lived most of my life, I do not have a dog in that hunt.

About Bernie:  I agree that he would not be nearly as effective a President as Clinton, and if it were not for her hawkishness, which will, I fear, get us into more wars, I would perhaps concede that we would do better with her in the White House and Bernie raising hell in the Senate.  But I am truly fearful of what military adventures she will launch.  As for domestic policy, neither she nor he will get anything done unless he can spearhead a movement to change the composition of the Congress.

I like the current boomlet for Warren as VP.  That might be the best of both worlds.

On another matter, I am getting a malicious pleasure from the audio recording that has just surfaced of Trump calling into a TV or radio station under a phony name pretending to be his director of public relations so that he can brag about himself.  The man is pathological, and apparently everything is recorded or filmed.  He may yet self-destruct.   I would take it as some evidence, however scant, for the existence of a benevolent God.


Matt said...

I agree with the worries about Clinton on foreign policy (although I think it's easy to underestimate how much Sanders might be pushed around by people with much more experience and background than he has). But this I am not so happy about:

I like the current boomlet for Warren as VP. That might be the best of both worlds.

VP is not a very important post, at least inherently. The last time there was a special election in MA (as there would be if Warren became VP) a Republican was elected, helping cause serious difficulties. There is no good reason to take strong, effective democratic senators out of the senate to put them in positions where they would have much less influence and power. It's much better for Warren to be a strong, effective senator.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I know, I know. The fact is at this point there are no good possible futures, but I am by nature an optimist and I find it difficult to live with nothing but bleakness.

Jerry Fresia said...

Warren would do little for Clinton other than make Clinton look bad. Besides, instead of going after Bernie
voters, Clinton is more likely to go after the Republican establishment types disenchanted with Trump.

Adelson may be dumping $100 million into the Trump campaign. So Clinton is likely to court the Koch Bros and she has
already begun conversations with the billionaires who wasted money on Jeb! My prediction is that she will pull an "Obama," which is to say she will pick a Dem or possibly a Repub who both appeals to establishment Repubs and who can help her win
swing states. Much has been said about Castro-D from TX. He is a "fresh face," would kill for the job, and may help with TX but in this year, she doesn't need someone to help with Latinos. Her pick will be an establishment-conservative who won't outshine her.

(BTW, did anyone see her interview with Chris Matthews who raised the issue of US assassinations during the cold war? Matthews listed, among others, Patrice Lumumba. Instead of saying that the assassination business was an unfortunate product of the Cold War, Clinton defiantly offered that had someone killed off Hitler, the world would have been better off.
So she equated, indirectly, Lumumba, a true African hero, with Hitler. Thank goodness my vote will be counted as from CA and I won't have to pull the lever for "that woman.")

formerly a wage slave said...

You commented in passing upon Plato, along the way to making important claims about Marx and your own work. I over-reacted, but not with evil intent. I do not doubt the importance of Marx, nor his novelty, nor the novelty and importance of your own work. However, to put it a bit in the jargon: I think you can assert ("prove") what you want without the example of Plato.

But just to make a plea (and this time, I hope, without unnecessary enthusiasm or --I am sorry to recall--annoyance) if you think about Plato's claim that the idea of The Good is something that motivates even animals, you will see how very different it is from moral principles as philosophers usually thing about them. It's not that we s h o u l d aim for The Good. We quite simply always do.

Whether that is correct, and whether or not it is coherent, defensible, etc., I do think it's quite different from principles as moral philosophers think about them.

I cannot resist one final comment. I was struck by an irony in your remark that Marx was not a moralist. It reminded me of a book,"Socratic Virtue" by Naomi Reshotko (like myself a student of Terry Penner). She claimed that Socrates was not a moral philosopher--a thesis which, I believe, our teacher had first made.

This makes me rather more sympathetic toward your remarks about Marx than I had made out. I am familiar with, and sympathetic to the idea that in addition to moral philosophy as standardly construed, there is room for something altogether different and legitimate by way of considering how we are to live together.

So, please, I apologize again for any unnecessary rancor. And I wish to thank you again for your blog. It has been stimulating in the best sense.

Anonymous said...

It's a horrible experience but you might want consider taking a week googling like mad and reading every story about Hillary Clinton published in any mainstream pre-internet national news source that you think of as roughly credible. (Very roughly, no doubt.)

A thorough slog in the Hillary Clinton story is a very surprising thing. We think we know all about her. But finding out the specific details has a cumulative effect that can lead to skepticism about her effectiveness and virtually everything else about her. Stumbling across some of these details has convinced me that if Sanders does 5% of what he says he wants to do, he will be a better president than she. He might be a better president if he does nothing but watch PBS for the next four years.

You are probably too sane to do such a thing. I wish I had been.