Sunday, July 27, 2003

Immanuel Kant's notion of "True Liberty" in a Secular State (4)

The second problematic issue with the Kantian notion of "true liberty" is the function of the state in this newly created power vacuum. In the secularism discourse, as mentioned before, the state is vested with an invisible power in order to bind all together. The mechanism through which the state accomplishes such a task is a subtle process through which the individual gradually and unconsciously internalizes the invisible power of the state. This, however, is contradictory to the original secularism promise of true freedom.
In this system, the state provides the necessary regulation for all the primary institutions in the society; therefore, the essential but secondary entity of the state emerges as a regulatory instrument to guarantee the smooth functioning of the society. The state is responsible to do so within the realm of law, which is supposedly detached from peculiarities of any groups and is rooted in the concept of universal moral law. As I discussed earlier, assuming such a role for the state was made and legitimized upon Kantian assumption of "pure law," which he introduces "as the supreme ground of all our maxims."
Kant argues that in order to recover and restore its purity "the law itself is to be incorporated into the power of choice, not merely bound to other incentives, nor indeed subordinated to them as conditions, but rather in its full purity, as the self-sufficient incentive of that power." He refers to the concept of habituation as a strategy to accomplish this task and states that virtue is "acquired little by little." Thus, power relation between the individual and the state becomes internalized. This transformation of the direct involvement of the state, as the sole instrument of practicing authority and power, to a system within which authority becomes internalized by way of institutions, including the educational system and factories, coincides with the transformation of religion from a prevalent power to an internalized spirituality.

(written by Navid)
(posted by farid)

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