A while back we had an old friend of mine and her husband (who I don’t know all that well) as guests for a few days. Her Husband, let’s call him Leo, possesses a vast knowledge of trivia with out being able to apply his knowledge to useful deduction. Leo started one conversation with me about the importance of morality in societies. I told him that I thought that morality was mostly subjective. Leo didn’t seem to understand my statement and went on to say that all civilizations have come to an end because of a decline of a moral code. I said no, Civilizations come to an end because of disease or war. He went to the internet for help but couldn’t find proof so he conceded that I was right and moved on.
That moment stayed with me for a long time, and for seemingly no reason until I remembered Immanuel Kant. If Leo had been up on his philosophy he could have won the debate. Kant believed in the categorical imperative, the belief that civilizations must have a sense of “right” for the collective and ignore the sense of “good” serving yourself. The libertarian movement is flawed because it seeks to have people only serving their own interests. Corruption must be punished or everyone will become corrupt. People in a society must have a ability of pure reason that being understanding a situation without being told and not just practical reason which we draw on from our own experiences.
If we look at the state of the US today you can see many problems that Kant warned of. Corruption is rampant, people are self serving and are unable to grapple with experiences or systems of government that they have never experienced. According to Kant this is a moral corruption and will lead to the end of our modern times, and although I hate to admit it I was wrong in my debate with Leo, but that is ok, he thinks I won and he went back to his home in the US of A.