Term Paper: Political Motive Should Be Allowed

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[. . .] The first states that "The Civil Constitution of every State shall be Republican." (Kant, 1998) There are two realist perspectives behind Kant's republicanism. The first propagates the moral philosophy and is therefore important in the discussion of realist theories or aspects as it states that the republican constitution is the only one that he believes "can be derived from the idea of an original contract, upon which all rightful legislation of a people must be founded." (Kant, 1998) The second realist aspect which is more important here acknowledges that under this type of constitution, the consent of an individual is required in decision making regarding war.

Kant takes the realist stance when he acknowledges that human nature will interfere in the process of morality if left to his own devices. Therefore if the constitution involves that person in decision making who is going to suffer in event of lack of perpetual peace, then it is more possible that peace would be allowed to surface. Since those who are most affected by the ravages of war, are most likely to ensure that it is avoided so that peace is established. Kant argues that in absence of such a constitution where "the subject is not citizen, and which is therefore not republican, it is the simplest thing in the world to go to war" (Kant, 1998) since it is not the head of state who suffers the miseries of war and can therefore make the decision to go to war.

The second article also takes the realist value when it recognizes the self-interest inherent to human nature as opposed to just the moralist stance. The Second Definitive Article asserts that "The Right of Nations shall be based on a Federation of Free States" (Kant, 1998). Kant begins by creating an analogy between the state of nature between individuals and that between states in order to explain the human need for serving self-interest and lack of human will to sacrifice it for another. In Kant's words, "Peoples who have grouped themselves into nation states may be judged in the same way as individual men living in a state of nature, independent of external laws; for they are a standing offence to one another by the very fact that they are neighbors" (Kant, 1998). Kant means to say that a federation of free states recognizes the human need for serving self-interest, therefore it allows a separate territory for different groups but one constitution which takes care of rights of everyone. "Each nation, for the sake of its own security, can and ought to demand of the others that they should enter along with it into a constitution, similar to the civil one, within which the rights of each could be secured" (Kant, 1998). However keeping the realist view, Kant rejects the idea of international state since he believes that nations cannot be "welded" together on the basis of separate identities and different self-interests. In Kant's words, "group of separate states... are not to be welded together as a unit" (Kant, 1998).


The school of classical realism believes that situations should be dealt as they are, from within, instead of twisting them to fit a different paradigm. However Kant's theories seem to be in direct contradiction with the school of classical realism. Kant's argument revolves around what should be rather than what is as opposed to the tenets of classical realism that tend to focus on what is and how changes can be brought about to that rather than on what ought to be. Furthermore the classical realist approach is to focus on the consequences of a political action to serve national interests rather than modifying them in accordance with the moral laws. Realism takes into the account, the fact that the world has forever operated on political prudence and it will continue to do so while attaching only a minimal importance to the moral laws. Therefore it is naive to believe that any nation would consider another state's national interest before itself even if it is more moralistic to do so. In Kant's six preliminary articles, this is exactly what he argues "ought" to be put into practice so that perpetual peace can be maintained. On the other hand, realists will argue that it is idealistic to assume that permanent peace can ever be achieved; hence working towards such a goal is only self-defeating. For instance, the first article states that "No conclusion of peace shall be considered valid as such if it was made with a secret reservation of the material for a future war." The fifth Article declares that "No state shall forcibly interfere in the constitution and government of another state" and the sixth states that "No state at war with another shall permit such acts of hostility as would make mutual confidence impossible during a future time of peace." These actions consist of hiring killers or violation of agreements or initiating treason in the enemy country. Though there is nothing wrong with these articles, there is definitely a certain amount of impracticality attached to the above ideas. Classical realists will argue on Kant's line of argument because political conduct usually is a function of maintaining self-interest through deceit. In conclusion, therefore, it can be said that Kant's views are very idealistic and hardly consistent with the views of classical… [END OF PREVIEW]

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