Kant Cant

In libertarian circles, I all too often find myself defending Kant's reputation from the misguided attacks of Randians[1] who've never read him. Full discosure: It's not like I'm willing to torture myself by making Critique of Pure Reason regular bedtime reading either, but at least I've read enough secondary material not written by Rand or Peikoff to know what the hell I'm talking about; namely, I know that, pace Rand, Kant is not the devil.

However. Kantianism is pretty absurd. And it's absurd for all the same reasons Randianism is absurd.

I'm reminded of this all by a comment from Will in his thread on Mises, who himself (Mises, not Will) exhibited symptoms of Randianism from time to time when he wasn't trying to be super-extra wertfrei.

One of the worst things about Kant's influence is that Kantians like to take whatever it is they really care about and try to show how the structure of Reason itself demands whatever it is they like. Kantian welfare-statists seem to want to show that paying taxes is a command of Reason itself. Kantian libertarian economists seem to want to show that bad economics isn't just bad theory, but a violation of the transcendental conditions of the very possibility for practical rationality. Anyway, it's a silly game.


1 I use the word "Randian" and not "Objectivist" to distinguish those who think Rand was pretty swell from those who think that RAND WAS THE GREATEST PHILOSOPHER WHO EVER LIVED, PRAISE THE LORD, A=A, OMFG.

Share this

"I Think Rand Was Pretty

"I Think Rand Was Pretty Swell" is my new bumper sticker.

Very good point. I once read

Very good point. I once read a bit by Kant to realise that he was far from the devil as portrayed by Rand and the official O's, though there is plenty to criticise in his writings. He is probably best known for stating that we should always treat people as ends in themselves rather than as mere means, which seems pretty libertarian to me. :smitten:

In your usage of Randian and

In your usage of Randian and Objectivist which was which?