I could probably go on and on about examing bad critiques of Bernie, examine more of his other policies, how he compares with other candidates or Trump, etc. However, I am kinda exhausted of politics, at least domestic politics. It seems like an impossible uphill battle to point out contradictions, to dig up facts, or to show what things seem to be now are not so different than history. So I am going to end this blog post with something less intellectually and emotionally uncomfortable, something positive.
As Kant was doing his practical philosophy, he realized a problem that could occur in people who are engaged in political thought. If you examine what a state should do to conform to right, to be peaceful, and to be consistent with freedom, real life seems such a far shot away from it sometimes. What is worse, in the present, it could seem like there is no progress being made at all, or we are even going backwards! The philosopher and the historian both are affected by this the most.
The philosopher can see the progress being made in philosophical thought, for example, Kant theorized something like the UN 150 years before it was started! It took a portion of the world to experience state sponsored death machines (something Kant and no other thinker really even imagined a state could do) that slaughtered millions of people to realize we should not let this happen.
The historian is similar, in that, if people were aware of the moves being made by people, the economic situations, the policies by states, and how similar things are we might be more aware of old tactics being used anew. The historian could also see us regressing into more barbaric societies, losing progress we have spent so much time making. This might seem in the moment that things are going bad, that this might be “the fall of Rome”.
However, we should also “look at the bright side”, to use that ole proverb of wisdom. We have made considerable progress since Kant’s time! The moral issues and rights people think of as common place were not 250 years ago. The quality of life has gone up for a good part of the world drastically. I was horrified watching Seven Samurai at just how poor these people were, that they could not even afford to eat rice at the time. We cooperate on diseases, world trade, and theres an expectation that people follow the law generally.
Given all this though, it is still not certain that we are actually progressing. State sponsored genocide and death camps are still a threat. Nuclear warfare, state supression via the internet, mass surveillance, climate change, and other issues pop up that were not a problem in the 1700s. The solution to this is to have a “rational faith”, that, even though we do not and cannot know that things are progressing towards some perpetual peace, that our good actions and efforts do effect the world in a positive way, we should have faith that they do.
This is something that Warren said in the South Carolina debate. She said in a closing remark, way after the time was up, actually not sure it was even her turn, was this : Choose hope over fear. It is simple, but I think it encapsulates the progressives of Warren and Bernie versus everyone else. The moderates main point against the progressives is that you should fear the progressives being in office since they are so radical that it will get Trump re-elected. You should fear their medical plans and pre-K plans and college plans and housing plans as so radical and you should FEAR these socialists.
Even worse is Trump, he uses fear in almost everything. You should fear the Democrats, they are going to take your jobs, destroy the economy, destroy our sense of white America, destroy our reputation, destroy your small business. You should fear the immigrant. You should fear the government (not me says Trump though, you can trust me). Obama’s campaign could be said to be the last of the campaign’s built on unity, not divide. Trump deliberately ran on fear and hatred. Fear that everything we have is going to be taken from us, that we need to go back to what we remembered as a good country when we were younger.
Bernie and Warren both are asking us to choose hope. Hope that America can have a healthy population. Hope that America could be educated. Hope that wealth inequality is not so egregious. Hope that everyone can afford housing. Hope that people are payed a living wage. Hope that our planet is healthy and clean. Hope that humans can finally recover some of their dignity, that has been taken from us. Hope that we might not hate each other anymore.
You can look at these progressive candidates as people who choose hope over fear. They choose hope in a future that we can first of all be free and be happy.
This is the last in the Bernie series. I think I have said enough about my stances. I don’t think I am going to focus too much on domestic politics anymore either, in real life or on this website. My view on the time being is that a good government will be what is similar and conforms most to Kant’s theory of right. The language of Bernie and the progressives share this. These are not radical views either, lots of areas in Europe share this view as well. I think it is because any sense of public right is missing from our state. We only really understand private right, so something like unconditional poverty relief just comes off as communism, where actually I think and have argued that the state should do.
I think my main focus from now on will be just lowering the bar of what humanity is capable of. Americans are capable of very little moral responsibility and thought in general at the moment, it is very “what is in it for me” or nothing mentality, even when it is in their interests they would still be against it. However, there is something that is an even lower bar I think that we should achieve as a human species and is to stop the authoritarian regimes and the rise of further totalitarian regimes.
It would be a great achievement that maybe we could stop genocide from happening. In the graduate seminar class I am taking and in my independent study I am researching more into this theory and have been studying a lot of the existing events and literature on this topic already. It would be an astounding moral achievement in at least my lifetime if we can stop genocide. What this entails and how we get there, who knows.