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Sanity Zone 3-8-2013 Reducto Ad Absurdum

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Posted 03-08-2013 at 12:18 PM by xan

Emanuel Kant. No, seriously. Resist the urge to shut your brain off and walk with me a minute.

Two of Kant's contributions to moral philosophy are the "Theory of Perception" and the "Categorical Imperative." In short, perception is based on either direct experience of reality (analytic) or an inferred experience (synthetic) of reality. "All dogs are quadrapeds" vs. "All dogs are happy" are examples. The former is measurable and verifiable, while the latter is not necessarily an essence of the dog and is imputed by the observer based on the observer's bias. A categorical imperative stipulates that it is one's duty to observe moral purity in all circumstances, no matter what, as any violation is an affront to dignity. "Lying, even to spare the feelings of another, is morally impermissible." To quote the philosopher:

"Let Justice be done, though the world perish"

So we have been having a debate on taxes, especially since there's a huge deficit between the outlays and the receipts. The analytic perception is that there exists a deficit. The synthetic perception is that government is bad.

Some are using the categorical imperative as their moral high ground. Some say that taxes are theft (stealing is morally wrong), therefore no tax is morally justifiable. Resistance to this indignity, by any means, is justifiable. The synthetic perception of government being bad also feeds in to the perception that any government spending is also bad, and reinforces the "no tax" moral position.

However, those obstinate over taxes and spending are hypocritically and selectively applying their morality, yet seeking the same ultimate end, to disrupt and emasculate government. Government is good, only if it benefits them directly; any indirect benefit is not considered a justification for government. Because paying for these direct benefits is not considered theft, they are willing to pay those taxes.

So, government is good, and government is bad, taxes are good, and taxes are bad. But moral purity is more important than a sustainable society, so obstruction of the greater good due to synthetic perceptions of reality is also the morally defensible justification of creating harm to that society.

The Sequester debate has reduced the issue of taxation and the role of Government to a cartoon, "Children must starve, homes must burn, and injured veterans must suffer because a 1% tax to save them is institutionalized thievery."

Morals are expensive. Even Kant thinks so. Some think Kant was playing an incredibly elaborate joke on intellectual posers. Purity comes with a cost just as insidious and devastating as compromising on those morals. It is ironic that those funding the resistance would actually pay less in tax than it costs to maintain their shaky claim to the "high ground." I guess we're fighting to see who gets to claim the most moral purity at the destructive end of our society.

But then, irony is synthetic.
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