Essay History Morals Other Peace Perpetual Politics

Essay History Morals Other Peace Perpetual Politics-48
Rulers will usually follow the dictates of prudence—where “prudence” means actions that will advance the interests of the rulers themselves—rather than respect the universal laws of justice, as demanded by the Categorical Imperative.Meanwhile, rulers will contemptuously dismiss those philosophers who argue that the principles of justice should be upheld in the arena of international relationships.

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Of the three forms of the state, that of democracy is, properly speaking, necessarily a despotism, because it establishes an executive power in which “all” decide, for or even against one who does not agree; that is, “all” who are not quite all, decide, and this is a contradiction of the general will with itself and with freedom (p. According to Kant, governments are morally obligated to pursue peace.

Here he drew a parallel between the proper domestic functions of governments and their international responsibilities.

For now I will merely note my strong disagreement with this pernicious idea.

Although many just-war philosophers, including Kant, had liberal tendencies and were motivated by a sincere desire to lessen the pretexts for war and to diminish its horrors, their treatment of states as sovereign moral entities generated enormous problems from a libertarian perspective.

Among the latter would be: having to fight, having to pay the costs of war from their own resources, having painfully to repair the devastation war leaves behind, and, to fill up the measure of evils, load themselves with a heavy national debt that would embitter peace itself and that can never be liquidated on account of constant wars in the is the easiest thing in the world to decide upon, because war does not require of the ruler…the least sacrifice of the pleasures of his table, the chase, his country houses, his court functions, and the like.

He may, therefore, resolve on war as on a pleasure party for the most trivial reasons, and with perfect indifference leave the justification which decency requires to the diplomatic corps who are ever ready to provide it (p. Kant stressed that we should not confuse a republican form of government with democracy.

In the first paragraph of “Perpetual Peace” Kant made the following observation: The practical politician assumes the attitude of looking down with great self-satisfaction on the political theorist as a pedant whose empty ideas in no way threaten the security of the state, inasmuch as the state must proceed on empirical principles; so the theorist is allowed to play his game without interference from the worldly-wise statesman. Lewis Beck, in It would be an understatement to say that Kant did not subscribe to Plato’s doctrine of the philosopher-king.

A typical ruler, corrupted by his desire to preserve and enhance his exercise of power, will never agree to have his judgment in matters of war overridden either by his own people or by other states.

This is a moral imperative, for the same reason that governments are necessary to preserve domestic peace.

A state of war will exist, whether nationally or internationally, until and unless individual moral persons, including sovereign states, submit to the binding resolutions of an overarching authority.


Comments Essay History Morals Other Peace Perpetual Politics


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