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M. Vincent van Mechelen

 THE PHILOSOPHER WHOSE NAME WILL FOREVER REMAIN ... 


Once upon a time, there was a law- and duty-mad philosopher of purely theocentric reason whose name will forever remain a four-letter word. He --sex being relevant here-- was and continued to be considered the greatest of modern thinkers by religious idealists and their parroting friends.

Here are a few things Mr K*nt, the man in question, ejaculated with regard to what he proclaimed the most serious moral issue:

"It is an unnatural vice, which by its form (the attitude embodied in it) seems to surpass even self-murder in its viciousness."
"The thought of it stirs up an aversion from this thought to such an extent that we consider it indecent even to call this vice by its proper name."
"It is an unnatural vice which degrades one's own person beneath the beasts."
"Such an unnatural use (and so misuse) of one's sexual power is a violation of duty to oneself and, indeed, one which is contrary to morality in the highest degree."
"The agent thus uses his sexual power for mere animal pleasure, without regard for its purpose."

What the hell was this philosopher, while, as usual, studiously staring at his church steeple, pontificating on? On masturbation; or, to be precise, single-handed masturbation by boys and men --'carnal self-defilement', as he and his lot had so keenly christened it! Mr K*nt, who, as far as we know, was 'never defiled with women' himself, may aptly be called "a jerk" on account of these heinous or hilarious ideas, altho this nonphilosophical label may come to some as an inconsistency of register and to others as a shock.

Nothing in the world being as immoral as masturbation in **nt, and extramarital sex being compared to cannibalism to boot, it is a legitimate question to ask what this lifeless theoretician thought about real killing. The answer is, not surprisingly, that it definitely was not killing as such which was this thinker's concern. Little did he care about the murder of live children whose parents were not legally married. The ethicist we are talking about claimed that a child born out of wedlock did not have any moral status whatsoever, and might be killed by its mother as she pleased, regardless of its health:

"A child born into the world outside marriage is outside the law and consequently it is also outside the protection of the law."

The following pronouncement refers to killing by the state and the murderer to be killed is obviously not a parent who has murdered 'er child only because it was 'illegitimate':

"Someone who has committed a murder must die. Even if a civil society were to dissolve itself by common agreement of all its members the last murderer remaining in prison must first be executed, so that the bloodguilt of his actions will not be fixed on the people because they failed to insist on carrying out the punishment".

Did not Mr K*nt teach that every man was to be regarded as an end in itself? Yes, he did. That is, 'every man of his kind'. Firstly, there are those who do not happen to be of the right species:

"Animals are not self-conscious and are there merely as a means to an end. That end is man. Our duties towards animals are merely duties towards humanity."

Secondly, there are those who do not happen to have his position in human society. Here Mr K*nt was a defender of unadulterated capitalism when he claimed that only people with property should be considered citizens, and that wage earners have no right to vote. (And by property he certainly did not mean what people morally own, as distinct from what they may, perhaps, legally own.) There are not only those who do not have Mr K*nt's weighty position in society, there are also those who do not have a position of such weight in the family:

"Children and adult people other than the Master of the House can be used as things, without infringing upon their personalities, as means to an end."

And, thirdly, there are those who happen to be girls or women. In **nt a woman is beautiful, regardless of her appearance, and that certainly needs no further angling for compliments, one would say. But, unfortunately, as elsewhere, **nt cannot be eaten in part here, the **nt story has to be swallowed whole. And the whole story is that woman may be beautiful, man is sublime in Mr K*nt's system (as sublime as --would you believe it?-- war). In the end anything philosophized and said is always meant to support the conclusion that:

"There is a natural superiority of man over woman, on which his right to be in command is based."

Woe to 'him' who creeps thru this critical philosopher's serpent-windings on the nonuse of persons as means and on the so-called 'equality' of men and women!

While according to Mr K*nt every man of a privileged class should be regarded as an end in himself, his 'categorical imperative' seems to be of a much nobler nature:

"Act only according to a maxim by which you can at the same time will that it shall become a general law."

We must not lie, because we could not want everyone to lie, especially not to us. And we must not steal, because we could not want everyone to steal, especially not what belongs to us. And we must not kill, because we could not want everyone to kill, especially not to kill us. So far, so good. But Mr K*nt also concludes that it is wrong to borrow money, because we could not want everyone to borrow money, as there would be no-one left to lend it. He does not conclude that he himself should never have become a philosopher, for no person in 'er right mind could want everyone to spend all 'er time philosophizing, at least not in the manner of a childless agent or nonagent of the K*ntian strain. So long as descriptions of conditions and actions are not categorized on the basis of their relevancy, the categorical imperative can be bent in any way the question-begger wishes.

Mr K*nt also advocated a federation of free states, bound together by a covenant forbidding that sublime thing, war, which seems to be a most respectable proposal in favor of that beautiful thing, peace. However, when he argued that the civil constitution of these states ought to be 'republican', he only meant that the executive and the legislative branches were to remain separate. In his eyes a perfect government was easiest to get under a monarchy, after which Mr K*nt's proposal boils down to a world federation of monarchies bound by an agreement in which free royal families solemnly promise, on behalf of their humble servants, never to cramp each other's styles.

Now, Mr K*nt may have been a little enlightened thinker writing in defense of exclusivist ideas and practises, but aren't there parts of philosophy which are hardly or not at all prone to such ideological bias? What did Mr K*nt say about logic, for instance?

"For about two-and-a-half thousand years logic has not gained much in extent, as indeed its nature forbids that it should. Ancient philosophy has omitted no essential point of the understanding; we have only to become more accurate, methodical and orderly."

Logic as it basically had always been for two-and-a-half millenniums would be final in this distinguished philosopher's opinion; as final as his own denominational creed had always been for virtually the same number of years. But we now know that the new developments in logic and denominationalism were only to start after **nt had gone the way of all flesh. He himself contributed nothing at all to logic, and nothing essentially new to denominationalism. Where he attacked unfounded theological speculations critically, he maintained unfounded monotheist preconceptions unquestioningly.

Woe be unto the philosopher who claims to have been awakened from his dogmatic slumbers, for his awakening may only be a fake! After some impressive juggling with genuine philosophy Mr K*nt was bound to reason himself back into the ideological straitjacket of theocentrist religion. What he conjures out of an empty hat will enchant every coreligionist:

"The existence of God, the freedom of the will, and the immortality of the soul are all necessary presuppositions of moral thought."
"God, freedom, and immortality are the three ideas of reason."
"Only Providence can insure justice, i.e. happiness proportional to virtue, and has evidently not insured it in this life. Therefore there is a God and a future life."

It comes as no surprise at all that Mr K*nt discovered that his own brand of miserotic and sexist, monarchist and capitalist monotheism was the only morally perfect denominational doctrine. It does come as a little bit of a surprise, however, that later philosophers who were not of that brand (such as agnostics and atheists) kept going off in a swoon for **nt as well. But alas, also philosophers are susceptible to contagious diseases. Once the conservative worship of a character has become common practise, it is also hard for them to keep themselves aloof from where the reaction is. To resist the temptation to have intercourse with philosophical beings who are honored or praised out of proportion because of their service to exclusivist, supernaturalist or other such institutions requires a tough constitution and, perhaps, some recourse to masturbation now and then.




©MVVM, 37-63 ASWW

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