Crimes against humanity
Imagine that there is a man whom we will call petain and he is a high-ranking member of Robespierre’s team.
His job is to arrange the execution of the enemies of the state. And this he does quite effectively. He believes that this is evil, the orders and the acts are evil but he does it anyway. After the fall of the regime, he is arrested and charged with crimes against humanity: the moral law as a categorical imperative. At his trial, he defends himself using Kant. He says that he was doing his duty, duty for duties sake. And no matter what he could not as a good Kantian rebel against the state. And he quoted the long footnote in the metaphysics of morals. And
in what is enlightenment he quoted “thus it would be ruinous if an officer, receiving an order from his superiors,
wanted while on duty to engage openly un subtle reasoning about its appropriateness or utility; he must obey.”
And therefore, as a moral man as both subject and citizen, he was bound as a Kantian to incorporate the
categorical imperative as a moral principle as lawfulness within the principle of obedience to authority.
- Kant justified? Is there a defense of Kant which would deny the use or the apparent use here of a Kantian
- Can Kant account for the principles of Robespierre’s reign of virtue as evil, as either radical or diabolical evil? And if he cannot, may his argument logically do it for him? May his understanding transcends him as it