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Friday, November 27, 2020

Immanuel Kant, Ludwig von Mises, and Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand and her “new intellectual” followers never read Immanuel Kant, and, it seems, they didn’t read Ludwig von Mises either. In the book called Omnipotent Governemnt, published in 1944, almost two decades before Rand and her “new intellectuals” started claiming that Kant was the fountainhead of the ideas which have led to nazism, Mises notes that it’s“nonsensical” to associate Kant with Nazism (and with Soviet Marxism). Here’s an excerpt from pages 140-141: “Kant’s moral teachings, and his concept of the categorical imperative, have nothing at all to do with Prussianism or with Nazism. The categorical imperative is not the philosophical equivalent of the regulations of the Prussian military code. It was not one of the merits of old Prussia that in a far-distant little town a man like Kant occupied a chair of philosophy. Frederick the Great did not care a whit for his great subject. He did not invite him to his philosophical breakfast table whose shining stars were the Frenchmen Voltaire and Alembert. The concern of his successor, Frederick William II, was to threaten Kant with dismissal if he were once more insolent enough to write about religious matters. Kant submitted. It is nonsensical to consider Kant a precursor of Nazism. Kant advocated eternal peace between nations.”

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