Monday, 9 December 2013


Could the UN benefit from I. Kant's ideas regarding perpetual peace and the emphasis on the rationalist approach of the Enlightenment? I see nothing wrong with at least having this as a point of departure, given that Kant is still regarded as one of the best thinkers in Western Civilization and for a good reason. However, the reality about the kind of world he envisioned, a world of political-moral ideal in a cosmopolitan setting is simply not possible today any more than it was in Kant's Prussia under "Enlightened Absolutism". Just because the pursuit of such grand ideals as he proposed may not possible does not mean that they ought not to be ideal goals. But with all kinds of caveats that they are not achievable.

Regarding the comments about how Fascism and Communism have roots in the Enlightenment, I think that Jean-Marie may have permitted the enthusiasm of political/ideological hyperbole to prevail not only over reason, but also historical accuracy. While it is true that Marxism does have its roots in the rationalist tradition of the Enlightenment, I would strongly disagree with the politically-motivated suspicious that Fascism is rooted in the Age of Reason.

Nineteenth century Romanticism is where we find the ideological roots of the "eclectic" ideology of Fascism that categorically rejects the rationalism of 18th century Enlightenment and celebrates the emotional/passionate/irrational aspect of human nature. It is simply a distortion of history to argue that the ideologies of Fascism and Communism, which some scholars have been lumping together under the label "totalitarianism" ever since the Truman administration, have their roots in the Age of Reason. Neo-Conservatives from the early 1980s to the present have returned to this early Cold War theory of lumping together Fascism and Marxism, for it is a way to argue in favor of bourgeois democracy under a capitalist political economy.

Now, it is true some thinkers have argued that Enlightenment thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau's philosophy contain the seeds of "precursor Fascist" ideas. This is a huge stretch and most scholars have rejected this position that has Cold War political assumptions behind it. Because Rousseau had one foot in the Age of Reason and another as a precursor to the age of Romanticism that followed, because he rejected Lockean liberalism, and because of some ideas regarding the nature of government (SOCIAL CONTRACT), this has given room to some to place him in the category of Fascist precursor, thus justifying the early Cold War theory of lumping together Communism and Fascism, given that scholars have argued Rousseau influenced Marx and Engels.

I understand that it is important to keep up that neo-Conservative propaganda in today's world of globalization under neo-liberal policies that Western governments, the IMF, World Bank, OECD, WTO, etc. are promoting on behalf of corporate capitalism. I wonder if Kant were alive today would he endorse the existing political economy and argue that under such a system it is possible to have perpetual peace and political-moral perfection that he sought for humanity

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