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Winston Hanks

Philosophy 403
Dr. Dilek Huseyinzadegan

Final Paper

Moral politicians, or those politicians whose politics conform to a moral system
based on natural right, are indispensable to the formation and development of the
cosmopolitan world-whole envisioned by Immanuel Kant. This is because such politicians
allow a moral system based on right to serve as a guide for their politics, in contrast to
moralising politicans who allow their politics to shape their own moral system. Alongside
nature, the moral politician serves as the most important force in the creation of a
cosmopolitan society since his morality gives his politics the capacity to enact the specific
change necessary to develop a cosmopolitan world system. Because of the relationship of
their politics to their morality, moralising politicians are unable to bring about this change,
and instead only hinder the formation and development of a cosmopolitan society. History
is replete with examples of such moralizing politicians, including most notably Adolf Hitler
and Otto Eichmann. Their public lives demonstrate perfectly why their politics was unable
to be endowed with the same capacity to affect change as the moral politician, and thus
why they could only serve as an obstacle to formation of a cosmopolitan world system.
The primary reason why moral politicians are necessary for the creation and
development of a cosmopolitan society is that they the are able to use politics as the
primary vehicle through which proper change, of the kind able to eventually bring about a
cosmopolitan society, may occur. This is made possible because of the relationship
between the moral politicians morality and his politics. In the case of the moral politician,
his politics is always guided by his morality, which is based on right. In other words, his
morality is derived from the idea of Kants categorical imperative, which states that an
action should only be carried out if the actor would will his action to become a universal
law for all humankind. Hence, the moral politician carries out all actions -- including
political actions -- only insofar as they are in conformity with Kants categorical imperative.
In essence, the moral politician puts the good of humanity above all else, and uses this as
the guiding principle of his politics. Any act which he would not wish upon humanity as a
whole, either in the political or personal realm, is never carried out by such a politician. The
change affected by the moral politician can be understood as the necessary change needed
to develop a cosmopolitan society because the organization of such a society is the same as
that of the state which best approximates justice for all. Both the state and the
cosmopolitan society are organized on the concept of rightful duty; in other words, laws
are formulated and given based on the idea of the categorical imperative. So there is
demonstrable consistency between the moral politicians actions and the eventual
organization of law-giving institutions at the international level once a cosmopolitan
society is formed.
The moral politician is able to primarily affect such change through his role in
managing the conflict arising out of the tension between the social and asocial tendencies
of human beings. Such conflict, according to Kant, is a result of the dual nature of humans
themselves. In other words, it is a result of both the social and asocial tendencies that
humans naturally possess. For instance, Kant notes that humans feel a need to live within
society because they feel better able to develop their own natural capacities within the
state. Yet at the same time, they also have within themselves the inherently unsocial
characteristic of wanting to do everything their own way. Humans also simultaneously
resist this inclination in other people. It is precisely this resistance which, according to
Kant, awakens all mans powers and induces him to overcome his tendency to
laziness(44). As Kant points out, without such asocial tendencies, all human talents would
ultimately remain undeveloped since each person would do everything according to how
they personally felt, instead of working together with one another to compromise and find
solutions to meet their different wants and needs. Thus, the absence of such asocial
tendencies would mean that the ultimate end for which humans were created, or their
rational nature, would be left undeveloped and be nothing more than an unfulfilled
void(45). In addition, it would also mean that humans would never come together to form
state, something that Kant acknowledges would naturally happen if given enough time.
Kant writes that:
through the desire for honour, power or property, it drives him to
seek status among his fellows, whom he cannot bear yet cannot bear
to leave. Then the first true steps are taken from barbarism to culture,
which in fact consists in the social worthiness of man. All mans talents
are now gradually developed, his taste cultivated, and by a continual
process of enlightenment, a beginning is made towards establishing a
way of thinking which can with time transform the primitive natural
capacity for moral discrimination into definite practical principles; and
thus a pathologically enforced social union is transformed into a moral

Thus, through the continual process of enlightenment that such antagonism produces, the
natural sense of morality possessed by humans is in effect institutionalized through the
creation of the state. This process is precisely what is shaped by politics and so also by
extension politicians themselves. So it is through his politics that the moral politician helps
to oversee such conflict in such a way so as to have it serve as a means toward arriving at a
state which best approximates justice for all. As Kant concisely states:
it only remains for men to create a good organization for the state, a task
which is well within their capability, and to arrange it in such a way that
their self-seeking energies are opposed to one another, each thereby
neutralising or eliminating the destructive efforts of the rest(112).

Hence, it is the primary role of the moral politician to arrange the organization of the state
by harnessing the conflict arising from different human tendencies so as to minimize the
collective effect of the self-serving interests of humans. As Kant points out:
it is perfectly true that the will of all individual men to live in accordance
with principles of freedom within a lawful constitution (i.e. the distributi-
-ve unity of the will of all) is not sufficient for this purpose. Before so dif-
-ficult a problem can be solved, all men together (i.e. the collective unity
of the combined will) must desire to attain this goal (that of perpetual pe-
-ace brought through the creation of a cosmopolitan society); only then
can civil society exist as a single whole (117).

However, it is important to note that since and additional unifying cause must override
the differences existing among all individuals within the state, and since no single
individual can create it, the only way of making possible such an idea in practice is by force,
or in other words, by law. This is where the moral politician plays the greatest role: in the
formulation of such law. Only once this coercive authority of law is established may public
right then be based on such authority.
Yet the greatest problem confronting humanity, as Kant acknowledges, is that of
establishing such a civil society which is able to administer justice in the greatest way
possible. For Kant, the development of all natural capacities is the highest purpose of
nature and can be accomplished only within a society. However, while such a society must
be designed to allow for the greatest degree of human freedom to exist, it must also be
designed to allow for, as Kant notes, the most precise specification and preservation of the
limits of this freedom in order that it can co-exist with the freedom of others(45). In other
words, society must enact laws which allow for a maximum degree of freedom while also
taking steps to ensure that such freedom does not infringe on the freedom of other persons.
Moral politicians must play a critical role in the development of these laws, in order for
such a society to exist.
Yet developing a solution to this problem is challenging. The primary issue is that if
humans live among one another, they are animals who also need a master. So while
humans may seek to enact laws limiting the freedom of others, they will always exempt
themselves from having to obey such laws wherever they can. Thus, the highest authority
which can create a system of universal justice for all must be just in itself, but yet also a
human. That is, such an authority must be just by its very nature, and not be due to any
external condition, such as laws given to it by a master. Of course, this is the ultimate
difficulty since humans can never fully embody justice as they are imperfect. Luckily
however, nature does not require that this state of affairs be fully implemented, but only
that such a scenario be approximated to the greatest degree possible.
But how can such a scenario be approximated? For Kant, the existence of a political
state which most closely mirrors a perfect administration of justice is dependent on the
development of law-governed relationship[s] with other states(47). That is, the existence
of such a state is dependent on legal power legitimized through an international legal
system. Such a relationship between states can be thought of simply as a bigger and more
international or cosmopolitan version of the same political system which social
antagonism led individual humans to develop among themselves. That is, it is dependent on
the existence of an cosmopolitan political system which is brought about and functions in
the exact same way as did the individual political system, but simply on a larger level.
Assuming nature to be purposive (as Kant does), it uses the inherent unsociability of states
just as it does with the unsociability of individual human beings namely, as a means
towards arriving at a state which best approximates justice for all. Once this is achieved,
Kant argues, a type of equilibrium can be reached among state relations at the international
level, which can in turn allow for the existence of a cosmopolitan civil society which best
approximates justice for each of its individual citizens. This can be made possible since
citizens comprise and live within such states, which themselves reach a point where they
are governed and assured security not based on the authority of an external master, but on
the power derived from their federation of states. In this way, Kant is able to solve the
problem of establishing a perfectly just civil society at the state level without having to rely
on an external human, and hence imperfect, master. Instead of such laws given by a master,
they are made possible by nature and ultimately derived from the international federation
of states, which in turn does not need to be given laws by any external source since it can
develop them within itself through the interactions between separate states.
However, as Kant points out, moralising politicians (or political moralists) on the
contrary do not embrace a system of morality based on natural right. Moreover, instead of
their moral system acting as a guide for their politics, their politics and political
opportunities guide their personal sense of morality. In fact, many political principles of
such politicians are directly contrary to to right, yet are covered up under the assumption
that humans are incapable of acting according to right because of their imperfect nature.
Because of this, Kant argues, such politicians make real progress impossible.
Hence, Kant writes that:
But moralising politicians, for what they are worth, try to cover up
political principles which are contrary to right, under the pretext that
human nature is incapable of attaining the good which reason prescribes
as an idea. They therefore make progress impossible, and eternalise the
violation of right

Thus, because such politicians allow their politics to guide their morality, they are
never able to aid in the formation of the society, and much less in the transition that a
society makes from becoming a state to existing alongside other states in a cosmopolitan
society. In effect, because the relationship of the moralising politicians politics to his
morality, his politics is unable to conform to the structure of law-giving institutions at the
level of a cosmopolitan society, which are based solely on right, and derived from the
categorical imperative. This relationship is what stops his politics from being able to bring
about the change given by the moral politician.
The inability of politician moralists to affect the political change necessary for the
formation and development of a cosmopolitan society can be seen through the examples of
many persons throughout history. Once case is that of Otto Adolf Eichmann who served as
a lieutenant colonel in the German Schutzstaffel (a German paramilitary organization
active during the second world war) and acted as one of the major organizers of the
holocaust. During his trial in Jerusalem after the war, Eichmann claimed that his actions
were justified since he always acted according to Kants categorical imperative. However,
he also admitted that once he was charged with carrying out the so-called final-solution
to exterminate all of the Jews in Germany and had decided to accept such orders, that he
was no longer acting according to the categorical imperative. Further, as Hannah Arendt
notes in her Report on the Banality of Evil, Eichmann had distorted the categorical
imperative to mean that one should act in such a way that the Fuhrer, if he knew your
action, would approve of it(121). Hence, Eichmann had distorted Kants morality to suit
his own end and the orders of his superiors. He did not let the morality of the categorical
imperative guide his decisions, instead he did the opposite. The case of Adolf Hitler is also
not dissimilar to that of Eichmann. Hitler was certainly an ideologue; however, his chief
concern as leader of the Party was to enact his own political agenda at the time. There was
no sense of morality that guided his politics. Instead, he let his politics dictate his sense of
morality. This is evident from his formulation and endorsement of, among other policy
initiatives, the final-solution as a means to create what he believed to be a more pure
Aryan race.