Given the importance of Hume, Bentham and Mill, among other utilitarians, in libertarian thinking, it surprises me sometimes that many libertarians express notions about freedom and private property that are formulated as if they are Kantian categorical imperatives. When libertarians say that freedom is an end on itself, they are making an absolute moral statement, and rejecting the utilitarian calculation. For me this is a good example of opportunistic Kantianism, since these same libertarians probably reject the majority of the teachings of Kant and his disciples. When libertarians use categorical imperatives, I see Kirk's justification for endangering the lives of his subordinates, even of members of his family, in a risky undertaking that has the salvation of good friend Spock as its ultimate goal. In other words, I see in libertarianism the same elements of opportunistic arbitrariness that are so common in other political philosophies.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
My latest OrdemLivre.org article (in Portuguese) is about Kirk's opportunistic Kantianism, Spock's utilitarianism, and some implications for libertarian thinking. Here's a translated extract: