Philosophy 403 Final Paper
Post on 29-Apr-2017
Winston Hanks11/29/13Philosophy 403Dr. Dilek Huseyinzadegan
Moral politicians, or those politicians whose politics conform to a moral system based on natural right, are indispensable to the formation and development of the cosmopolitan world-whole envisioned by Immanuel Kant. This is because such politicians allow a moral system based on right to serve as a guide for their politics, in contrast to moralising politicans who allow their politics to shape their own moral system. Alongside nature, the moral politician serves as the most important force in the creation of a cosmopolitan society since his morality gives his politics the capacity to enact the specific change necessary to develop a cosmopolitan world system. Because of the relationship of their politics to their morality, moralising politicians are unable to bring about this change, and instead only hinder the formation and development of a cosmopolitan society. History is replete with examples of such moralizing politicians, including most notably Adolf Hitler and Otto Eichmann. Their public lives demonstrate perfectly why their politics was unable to be endowed with the same capacity to affect change as the moral politician, and thus why they could only serve as an obstacle to formation of a cosmopolitan world system. The primary reason why moral politicians are necessary for the creation and development of a cosmopolitan society is that they the are able to use politics as the primary vehicle through which proper change, of the kind able to eventually bring about a cosmopolitan society, may occur. This is made possible because of the relationship between the moral politicians morality and his politics. In the case of the moral politician, his politics is always guided by his morality, which is based on right. In other words, his morality is derived from the idea of Kants categorical imperative, which states that an action should only be carried out if the actor would will his action to become a universal law for all humankind. Hence, the moral politician carries out all actions -- including political actions -- only insofar as they are in conformity with Kants categorical imperative. In essence, the moral politician puts the good of humanity above all else, and uses this as the guiding principle of his politics. Any act which he would not wish upon humanity as a whole, either in the political or personal realm, is never carried out by such a politician. The change affected by the moral politician can be understood as the necessary change needed to develop a cosmopolitan society because the organization of such a society is the same as that of the state which best approximates justice for all. Both the state and the cosmopolitan society are organized on the concept of rightful duty; in other words, laws are formulated and given based on the idea of the categorical imperative. So there is demonstrable consistency between the moral politicians actions and the eventual organization of law-giving institutions at the international level once a cosmopolitan society is formed. The moral politician is able to primarily affect such change through his role in managing the conflict arising out of the tension between the social and asocial tendencies of human beings. Such conflict, according to Kant, is a result of the dual nature of humans themselves. In other words, it is a result of both the social and asocial tendencies that humans naturally possess. For instance, Kant notes that humans feel a need to live within society because they feel better able to develop their own natural capacities within the state. Yet at the same time, they also have within themselves the inherently unsocial characteristic of wanting to do everything their own way. Humans also simultaneously resist this inclination in other people. It is precisely this resistance which, according to Kant, awakens all mans powers and induces him to overcome his tendency to laziness(44). As Kant points out, without such asocial tendencies, all human talents would ultimately remain undeveloped since each person would do everything according to how they personally felt, instead of working together with one another to compromise and find solutions to meet their different wants and needs. Thus, the absence of such asocial tendencies would mean that the ultimate end for which humans were created, or their rational nature, would be left undeveloped and be nothing more than an unfulfilled void(45). In addition, it would also mean that humans would never come together to form state, something that Kant acknowledges would naturally happen if given enough time. Kant writes that: through the desire for honour, power or property, it drives him to seek status among his fellows, whom he cannot bear yet cannot bear to leave. Then the first true steps are taken from barbarism to culture, which in fact consists in the social worthiness of man. All mans talents are now gradually developed, his taste cultivated, and by a continual process of enlightenment, a beginning is made towards establishing a way of thinking which can with time transform the primitive natural capacity for moral discrimination into definite practical principles; and thus a pathologically enforced social union is transformed into a moral whole(45).
Thus, through the continual process of enlightenment that such antagonism produces, the natural sense of morality possessed by humans is in effect institutionalized through the creation of the state. This process is precisely what is shaped by politics and so also by extension politicians themselves. So it is through his politics that the moral politician helps to oversee such conflict in such a way so as to have it serve as a means toward arriving at a state which best approximates justice for all. As Kant concisely states: it only remains for men to create a good organization for the state, a task which is well within their capability, and to arrange it in such a way that their self-seeking energies are opposed to one another, each thereby neutralising or eliminating the destructive efforts of the rest(112).
Hence, it is the primary role of the moral politician to arrange the organization of the state by harnessing the conflict arising from different human tendencies so as to minimize the collective effect of the self-serving interests of humans. As Kant points out: it is perfectly true that the will of all individual men to live in accordance with principles of freedom within a lawful constitution (i.e. the distributi- -ve unity of the will of all) is not sufficient for this purpose. Before so dif- -ficult a problem can be solved, all men together (i.e. the collective unity of the combined will) must desire to attain this goal (that of perpetual pe- -ace brought through the creation of a cosmopolitan society); only then can civil society exist as a single whole (117).
However, it is important to note that since and additional unifying cause must override the differences existing among all individuals within the state, and since no single individual can create it, the only way of making possible such an idea in practice is by force, or in other words, by law. This is where the moral politician plays the greatest role: in the formulation of such law. Only once this coercive authority of law is established may public right then be based on such authority. Yet the greatest problem confronting humanity, as Kant acknowledges, is that of establishing such a civil society which is able to administer justice in the greatest way possible. For Kant, the development of all natural capacities is the highest purpose of nature and can be accomplished only within a society. However, while such a society must be designed to allow for the greatest degree of human freedom to exist, it must also be designed to allow for, as Kant notes, the most precise specification and preservation of the limits of this freedom in order that it can co-exist with the freedom of others(45). In other words, society must enact laws which allow for a maximum degree of freedom while also taking steps to ensure that such freedom does not infringe on the freedom of other persons. Moral politicians must play a critical role in the development of these laws, in order for such a society to exist. Yet developing a solution to this problem is challenging. The primary issue is that if humans live among one another, they are animals who also need a master. So while humans may seek to enact laws limiting the freedom of others, they will always exempt themselves from having to obey such laws wherever they can. Thus, the highest authority which can create a system of universal justice for all must be just in itself, but yet also a human. That is, such an authority must be just by its very nature, and not be due to any external condition, such as laws given to it by a master. Of course, this is the ultimate difficulty since humans can never fully embody justice as they are imperfect. Luckily however, nature does not require that this state of affairs be fully implemented, but only that such a scenario be approximated to the greatest degree possible. But how can such a scenario be approximated? For Kant, the existence of a political state which most closely mirrors a perfect administration of justice is dependent on the development of law-governed relationship[s] with other states(47). That is, the existence of such a state is dependent on legal power legitimized through an international legal system. Such a relationship between states can be thought of simply as a bigger and more international or cosmopolitan version of the same political system which social antagonism led individual humans to develop among themselves. That is, it is dependent on the existence of an cosmopolitan political system which is brought about and functions in the exact same way as did the individual political system, but simply on a larger level. Assuming nature to be purposive (as Kant does), it uses the inherent unsociability of states just as it does with the unsociability of individual human beings namely, as a means towards arriving at a state which best approximates justice for all. Once this is achieved, Kant argues, a type of equilibrium can be reached among state relations at the international level, which can in turn allow for the existence of a cosmopolitan civil society which best approximates justice for each of its individual citizens. This can be made possible since citizens comprise and live within such states, which themselves reach a point where they are governed and assured security not based on the authority of an external master, but on the power derived from their federation of states. In this way, Kant is able to solve the problem of establishing a perfectly just civil society at the state level without having to rely on an external human, and hence imperfect, master. Instead of such laws given by a master, they are made possible by nature and ultimately derived from the international federation of states, which in turn does not need to be given laws by any external source since it can develop them within itself through the interactions between separate states. However, as Kant points out, moralising politicians (or political moralists) on the contrary do not embrace a system of morality based on natural right. Moreover, instead of their moral system acting as a guide for their politics, their politics and political opportunities guide their personal sense of morality. In fact, many political principles of such politicians are directly contrary to to right, yet are covered up under the assumption that humans are incapable of acting according to right because of their imperfect nature. Because of this, Kant argues, such politicians make real progress impossible. Hence, Kant writes that: But moralising politicians, for what they are worth, try to cover up political principles which are contrary to right, under the pretext that human nature is incapable of attaining the good which reason prescribes as an idea. They therefore make progress impossible, and eternalise the violation of right
Thus, because such politicians allow their politics to guide their morality, they are never able to aid in the formation of the society, and much less in the transition that a society makes from becoming a state to existing alongside other states in a cosmopolitan society. In effect, because the relationship of the moralising politicians politics to his morality, his politics is unable to conform to the structure of law-giving institutions at the level of a cosmopolitan society, which are based solely on right, and derived from the categorical imperative. This relationship is what stops his politics from being able to bring about the change given by the moral politician. The inability of politician moralists to affect the political change necessary for the formation and development of a cosmopolitan society can be seen through the examples of many persons throughout history. Once case is that of Otto Adolf Eichmann who served as a lieutenant colonel in the German Schutzstaffel (a German paramilitary organization active during the second world war) and acted as one of the major organizers of the holocaust. During his trial in Jerusalem after the war, Eichmann claimed that his actions were justified since he always acted according to Kants categorical imperative. However, he also admitted that once he was charged with carrying out the so-called final-solution to exterminate all of the Jews in Germany and had decided to accept such orders, that he was no longer acting according to the categorical imperative. Further, as Hannah Arendt notes in her Report on the Banality of Evil, Eichmann had distorted the categorical imperative to mean that one should act in such a way that the Fuhrer, if he knew your action, would approve of it(121). Hence, Eichmann had distorted Kants morality to suit his own end and the orders of his superiors. He did not let the morality of the categorical imperative guide his decisions, instead he did the opposite. The case of Adolf Hitler is also not dissimilar to that of Eichmann. Hitler was certainly an ideologue; however, his chief concern as leader of the Party was to enact his own political agenda at the time. There was no sense of morality that guided his politics. Instead, he let his politics dictate his sense of morality. This is evident from his formulation and endorsement of, among other policy initiatives, the final-solution as a means to create what he believed to be a more pure Aryan race.