Oh Come, Oh Come Immanuel….


02/05/2013 by syrbal-labrys

Immanuel Kant, that is. I’m not a-singing Christmas carols here. Jonathan Turley’s blog brought up the latest justification for killing Americans without due process, as stated by the Obama Administration. It filled me with despair. Not only despair about the thin cold gruel of “logic” being used by the Administration, but with the comments that seemed to miss the main points entirely.

It reminded me, this claim of Executive power to basically murder anyone the Chief Executive deems a “threat”…..of the philosophical reasoning of what it takes to stop war. Immanuel Kant, having watched the history of his own times unfold…including the American and the French Revolutions, in 1795, wrote “Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch.” One small statement jumped off the page at me:

“No State Shall, during War, Permit Such Acts of Hostility Which Would Make Mutual Confidence in the Subsequent Peace Impossible: Such Are the Employment of Assassins (percussores), Poisoners (venefici), Breach of Capitulation, and Incitement to Treason (perduellio) in the Opposing State”;

Oh, my, my, my, how the weeds of deceit have grown! America has consistently fomented rebellion (treason) within nations where we dislike the governments. And we certainly employ “assassins” even if we call them drones and smart bombs, or cruise missiles.

From my first reading of this piece, written so long ago and yet still cogent and unclouded in direction, I had to bow my head in shame and admit: my nation is a warmonger. A murdering assassin of a nation. Claiming for itself the “right” to make war where and when it likes. And then, yes, the sensation of doom overtakes me….because as it is paraphrased here:

“The notion of a Right to go to war, cannot be properly conceived as an element in the Right of Nations. […] If such a Right be conceivable at all it would amount, in fact, to this: that in the case of men who are so disposed it is quite right for them to destroy and devour each other, and thus to find Perpetual Peace only in the wide grave.”

Kant rather agreed with Plato, that a direct democracy can be no more than a mob….and often a murderous mob; and that a republic wherein righteous representatives have to consider the risks to all before going to war is the best form and only form of government that can promote peace. Long before the League of Nations made its abortive attempt to chain the dogs of war, and longer still before the United Nations proved that powder blue helmets are no guarantee of peace, Immanuel Kant postulated a necessity of a “state of nations” guided by reason to stop the savagery of war. He considers war the NATURAL state of man, and thus believes only the force of a rational government compact can stop it.

So yes, when the most well-armed nation on earth with a large standing Army takes for itself the right to pre-emptive strikes not only against other nations, but even against individuals ….even its own citizens; and when such a bulk of its citizens cannot see the necessity of giving up weapons of personal mass destruction (guns and extended magazine clips), I see little cause for hope. Our apocalypse is of our own irrational making, we forge our own chains and build nothing but caskets for our future.


7 thoughts on “Oh Come, Oh Come Immanuel….

  1. Daniel Becker says:

    War is a personal relationship. Anything one does to reduce the relationship to one of indifference, less personal, can only result in war being made more easily as the justification becomes less inclusive. This is the danger that drones represent. It is the ultimate removal of the personal relationship, a direction we humans have been moving in for centuries. Kant, it appears did not understand the role technological advancement plays in societies character.

    • syrbal says:

      War had a fair level of impersonality by Kant’s time; I doubt he did or would have any trouble understanding that possible aspect.

      And war is still pretty personal to those dying.

  2. […] Herlander-Walking reviews the justification for killing Americans and Kant make sense of it. […]

  3. Squathole says:

    Thanks for this marvelous commentary. I’ve read it twice, and will return to it for more.

  4. We do it, God help us, for the same lofty reason a dog licks his dick. Because he can.

    • syrbal says:

      Were I to postulate the idea of a functioning “God” I don’t think he/she would help us. Some would say he/she already DID…and look what we did with that help?

      Stupid we are, for we will keep “doing it” as long as we can….until we simply cannot. Till we get our asses well-waxed or bankrupt ourselves in murderous actions.

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The name of this blog, and my Dreamwidth blog, Herlander Refugee, is taken from a 1915 feminist novel "Herland". It makes my heart sing that modern women are experimenting with creation of a new "Herland"! Yes, comments are closed. Anyone who just MUST reach me can do so at syrbal6 at gmail dot com.

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