Kant in the News

 Posted by on 18 November 2004 at 4:50 pm  Kant
Nov 182004

When I heard that Dinesh D’Sousa had written a very Kantian op-ed for Opinion Journal from some Objectivist sources, I figured that the article merely had a Kantian flavor to it. Boy, was I ever wrong. The whole article is an explicit appeal to Kant’s tortured metaphysics and epistemology, all for the small task of rejecting Daniel Dennett’s stupid suggestion that atheistic materialists identify themselves as “brights.”

I would quote from the article for the purposes of illustration, but then I’d have to quote it all. So go read it if you want the gory details.

Far more amusing was British Home Secretary David Blunkett blaming Kant for the public’s skepticism about national identity cards. (Paul found it in the course of surfing for stories for GeekPress.)

Home Secretary David Blunkett said today that the German philosopher Immanuel Kant is to blame for scepticism about the government’s plans for a compulsory national identity card. He was speaking at a meeting at the Institute of Public Policy Research, restating his arguments in favour of the scheme.

The British public’s fear of ID cards is down to our “history of legitimate doubts about the intentions of the state, reinforced by what we saw in terms of communism and fascism over the last century”, Blunkett said. “It was writers like Kant who first took the view that there is something suspicious about government activity, and that if a government is up to something, it must be about removing freedoms.”

Nothing could be further from the truth, he argues. In fact, the ID card will pave the way for a more tolerant society, with greater social cohesion. It will be useful in the fight against racism, and won’t be a big-brother style surveillance tool, at all. It is now time to take on the sceptics, and those who argue that the government’s intentions cannot be taken at face value, he says.

Trust us. We’re nice.

If only Kant were such a good influence on public policy!

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