Satirical Counter-Argument to Kant
Our reading about Kant has suggested that thinking for yourself is necessary for enlightenment and gaining truth. But is there really such thing as the truth in the context of what Kant is referring to? I’m not talking about the truth like what year the civil war started; I’m talking about political truths such as how man should be ruled and other kinds of political debates. If you think about it, the “truth” has very rarely been constant and changes quite often. For example, in the bible and even up through a lot of the 19th century, slavery was considered a right and a good thing. Slaves were considered naturally inferior and to be utilized to their fullest by their master. The truth now is that every man is equal and slavery was an evil. So then, why do these truths change? You might think if you listen to Martin Luther King Jr. and follow the “golden rule” of treating others how you would like to be treated that you can achieve the ultimate “truth,” but we all know that the world isn’t a perfect place. My idea is that truths change based on how much someone is convinced they are true. In the end, truth ends up being whatever a political leader can convince people it is. If someone can convince people that their “truth” will help a lot of people live a better life, it is considered the “truthful” position.
This leads me to the question of whether being enlightened is even that good. Kant himself says that being lazy and not thinking for yourself is a lot easier than thinking for yourself when he says, “It is so easy to be immature.” Kant suggests you need to think for yourself to find out the truth. But, wouldn’t thinking for yourself likely cause debate and argument between people? And if there is no such thing as a political “truth,” then trying to think for yourself would actually be more harmful than helpful. The only time people should think for themselves is when the sovereign wants to disturb the peace between someone else or within the community. For example, no one should have supported Hitler because he caused violence and chaos and put many people’s lives at risk. Besides situations that might involve violence though, there is no reason to waste your time thinking for yourself.
So what kind of government should be in place? Well, there should be a Monarchy where the soveregin elects his successor. The sovereign has incentive to keep the peace and stay out of violence because the people will revolt or other nations will revolt against him if he is trying to start chaos. As long as the soveregin stays out of this scenario, he can essentially do whatever he wants because there is no such thing as an ultimate truth. Some may try to prove why one idea is better than another, but in the end nothing really matters and peace is more desirable than truth.
Life would clearly be much easier without thought. Who cares if we know the “truth” or not? Does it really matter in the end as long as we agree on something? The only person who would need even a remote consciousness is the sovereign. The people should just follow the sovereign for the sake of ease and security. What could possibly be a better life than this?