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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

HAIL AND FAREWELL


I have been blogging regularly and at great length for ten years, with the occasional break for a safari or a trip to Paris.  I began in a bad mood.  Let me quote a paragraph from my post of October 4, 2009:

“The truth is that at seventy-five, I am simply weary of being constantly, gut-wrenchingly angry all the time. I started getting angry in the late Fall and early Spring of 1960-61, over the impending invasion of Cuba. I worked myself into a permanent frenzy over the threat of nuclear war. I got angrier about Civil Rights and the Viet Nam War. I exploded in rage at the outrageously discriminatory professional treatment of my first wife, which triggered my successful effort to get the American Philosophical Association to establish a standing committee on the status of women in the profession. I was livid about Nixon, furious about Reagan, contemptuous of the first Bush, appalled by the second Bush. As Lily von Shtupp [Madeline Kahn] sings in Mel Brooks' immortal movie, BLAZING SADDLES, I'm tired!”

And here I am, ten years later, beside myself at eighty-five, as I was at seventy-five, sixty-five, fifty-five, forty-five, thirty-five, and thirty [I was pretty laid back when I was twenty-five.]  Now, I am not a low energy guy, but it takes it out of you being mad for more than half a century.  When I was a boy, “late capitalism” was an analytic category.  Now it is a sad in-joke.  Bad as things were then [and they really were godawful if you were Black or female or gay or poor], I honestly thought they could get permanently better.  Seventy years later, I am not so sure.

It is well understood here in the retirement community where I live that it takes old folks longer to recover from injuries.  Usually, that is a reference to breaking a shoulder or a hip, but it is true for injuries to the spirit as well.

So I am going to take a little time off to heal.  I have already explained that I will be unable to blog for about a month, due to plumbing work in my building combined with a two week trip to Paris.  I am going to add a bit more time, and bid you all adieu until July 5th, when I shall be back from Paris and, I hope, an Eeyore no more but a Tigger reborn.

Before I go, I have one brief comment on a recent event.  Two days ago, Doris Day died.  The stories said she was ninety-seven.  My first reaction, when I read that, was “Wow!  How old she was.  Extraordinary!”  But then I reflected, the lady who lives across the hall and the lady who lives in the apartment under us are both ninety-six, and they are chipper, very witty, a bit slowed down to be sure.  I don’t see either of them leaving us any time soon, and next year they will both be ninety-seven.  That is old, but it is not that old.  Good lord, I may be blogging for another ten years.

See you after the Fourth.

23 comments:

s. wallerstein said...

It's hard to take vacations from oneself (the same capitalist and misogynist oppressive system is omnipresent), but if you've mastered that art, enjoy your vacations.

I hope to see you blogging for another ten years, if I last that long.

David Palmeter said...

Enjoy the break, but don't rule out coming back sooner. Some of us are going to feel a little lost without your blog, me among them. My remedy for Trumpitis is escape into the past. I've begun to read a lot about the American Revolution. No stress--I know how it ends. Forget politics. Enjoy Paris, and report to us when you get back of the interesting meals you've prepared and the coffees you've sipped at sidewalk cafes.

Anonymous said...

Yes, many of us hope you do blog for another ten years, at least!

Dean said...

Khan (von Shtupp) also sang, more emphatically, "Goddamnit, I'm exhausted." But then Johnny Lydon (aka Rotten) croons, "Anger is an energy." They both have a point.

Dean said...

^Kahn

Anonymous said...

I think compared to the average reader of this blog, I am fairly young - I was just starting out as an undergraduate when you started this blog. I suspect most people of my age and my persuasion never saw much reason for hope in our relatively short lives. But your blog has given me, if not hope, at least some comfort. I hope it goes on for at least another ten years.

jgkess@cfl.rr.com said...

What do you mean that you "may" be blogging for the next ten years? Ten years? I wish you many more than that. But whatever the case, I suspect even the after-life will have its inter-net---and, in that case, who knows, should you continue your blog, maybe even God will post a "Comment"!

Unknown said...

Please take it easy, look after yourself and find some relaxing escapism to mend.

I look forward to your return.

Nat

Charles Pigden said...

Have a good time. I look forward to your return.

JKR said...

Paris is refreshing. Enjoy it. We did. Our only culture shock was when we returned.

Gary B said...

I hope you and your wife have a great trip Professor great trip Professor, and I look forward to your return.

Gary

Danny said...

'When I was a boy, “late capitalism” was an analytic category. Now it is a sad in-joke.'

When you were a boy, there was a difference. ;)

T.H. said...

I am glad lefties like you are so marginalized and irrelevant. God bless Adam Smith, arche, the thin blue line, and the presidency of Donald Trump.

David Palmeter said...

The idea that Donald Trump is an intellectual/policy descendant of Adam Smith would likely have made Smith as proud as the University of Pennsylvania is with the fact that Donald Trump is a graduate.

s. wallerstein said...

Smith wrote not only the Wealth of Nations, but also the Theory of Moral Sentiments, which
bases morality on sympathy for others, and I can think of few persons (if you want to categorize Trump as a person, which can be debated) with less ability to sympathize with others than Trump.

In addition, Smith's economic thought, the idea of the invisible hand, was clearly progressive in the 18th century and is now just as clearly reactionary. Times change.

jgkess@cfl.rr.com said...

The work of the "Invisible Hand" presupposes a degree of economic transparency seldom achived---it's not as if transparency is some sort of ubiquitous metaphysical property essentially attendant on every economic transaction. Transparency must be enforced. Regulation of business practices, as well as the supervision of regulators, must be enforced. All of this is just a pretext for re-introducing my favorite quote from Adam Smith: "Seldom will two business men meet but in a conspiracy to cheat the public". Gertrude Himmelfarb, of all people, refers approvingly of this sentiment of Smith's.

Robert Boyle said...

I feel bad for young people who are being denied the benefit of the "peace dividend" promised in 1989 when the USA became the sole "superpower." As bad as things were, they got worse after 9/11. George W. got on TV and told Americans they'd have to sacrifice for the War on Terror. Sacrifice we did. But Trump is still feeding us terror. Someone should have told us terror comes from within. I feel bad for the young people, but I feel bad for the old people too. One of my favorite authors was Kurt Vonnegut. A great writer who was a WWII prisoner of war with a bad case of PTSD who found therapy in writing about his trauma. He became more and more hopeful, I thought. Until George W's invasion of Iraq. He died shortly thereafter. Terribly disappointed. So I hope that Trump is impeached or voted out of office both for the young people with life ahead of them and for the old people who hoped to see the world become a better place during their life time. -- your former student, Robert Boyle

Robert Boyle said...

On social media, they say, "Don't feed the trolls." Nevertheless, in response to one of the trolls on this blog, let me say that I read "Wealth of Nations" cover to cover. And I did it on a bus going to work. I didn't do it to please a professor or get a grade. What I found was that Smith hated profiteers. He thought the worker was owed a descent wage. I looked for reference to the fabled "invisible hand" in Wealth of Nations" and I did not find it.

J. Fleming said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J. Fleming said...

The only use of "invisible hand" found in The Wealth of Nations is in Book IV, Chapter II, "Of Restraints upon the Importation from foreign Countries of such Goods as can be produced at Home." The exact phrase is used just three times in Smith's writings.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_hand
I hope this helps.

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