Friday, January 16, 2009

Kant's Moral Ethic and Categorical Imperative

Kant said that a person should never be used as a means. I agree. He also was known for his Catergorical Imperative, which states that we act in a way that we wish would become a universal. This is an important universal, as it is a re-phrasing of "the Golden Rule". And this is where I think atheists have a point in theodicity, as how can one understand an evil that uses another human being for "great ends"? Governments or those in power are the ones who are responsible for creating environments that are best for the individual, so that he is not used as a means, and can choose to act as the Categorical Imperative would have. The problem with the Categorical Imperative is twofold. Where the universal standard of treating another like we would want to be treated, there remains the problem of differences in preferences. Some like hones forthright conversation, while others prefer insinuation, and a gentle nudge in the right direction. How does one treat another in a universal way, when it boils down to individual preferences?

Some who argue for the position of the Categorical Imperative are pacifists, since they believe that all individuals are important, they think that conflict should be resolved only through diplomatic means. I don't believe that diplomacy is open in closed countries, where there is little or no outside influence, because of their prejuidice about the outside world or their lack of information. The military are useful to protect our interests so that our freedoms can be maintained, as apart from these freedoms, we are doomed to fall into the hands of tyrannical leaders, whose purposes are not for the individual, but for their own misconcieved ends. And these ends use any means for their purposes, even individuals.

Some would claim that "God is the Blessed Controller" of all things and passively submit to injustice, while others seek to give out this "advice" so their control is maintained, or because they fear for their life. There is no universal in these situations, but in our free society, we must stand for justice. Rosa Parks, Gandhi would have never accomplished their ends if it had not been for standing for justice, whether the personal right of a seat on a bus, or discrimnation. Justice never just happens, but is activism for social, political, moral "causes". This is why Martin Luther King, Jr. , whose birthday we celebrate, said that "where injustice was allowed anywhere, it was an enemy to justice everywhere". It is not wrong to seek justice, as this is merciful to those who live under injustice, and where unjust governments and rulers rule, others suffer.

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