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When discussing politics in modern society, it seems a unshakeable fact that there has never been - nor will there ever be - a moral politician; one upon whom the people can rely to consider the ethics and morality of a decision before enacting it. It is a far cry from Immanuel Kant's more Enlightenment-era beliefs which couriers an optimistic ideal in the ability of people to use reason, knowledge, and the desire for progress to provide a rational methodology. Kant wrote in his essay 'Perpetual Peace' that, "a true system of politics cannot…take a single step without first paying tribute to morality" which he believes is not only inextricable from each other but also a necessity since "morality can cut through the knot which politics cannot …show more content…
Even more important to his beliefs is the deontological ethicswith which he uses to prescribe the exact type of morality that will be linked to politics; the universal moral imperatives he touts in Perpetual Peace where he writes, "political maxims adopted must not be influenced by the prospect of any benefit or happiness which might accrue to the state if it followed them" rather "they should be influenced only by the pure concept of rightful duty" . Therefore, by Kant's own argument, no law can exist whose only purpose is to further the state's goals, but rather must exist through a lens that considers the moral imperatives that deontology so passionately clings to. Even Kant, however, is not blind to the difficulty in this. As with the concept of politics and morality co-existing, Kant concedes that a state operating only on the basis of universal ethics is "far-fetched in theory" - perhaps even impossible - but not so impossible that society should not try. Kant's real-world application may only exist in his head at the moment, but he unapologetically believes that not only can a 'moral politician' exist but is an …show more content…
He uses the Peloponnesian War to emphasize power, hierarchy, and order in the world; this is a concept that not only rejects Kant's optimism but can be used to spit in the face of it. States, Thucydides' Realism would argue, do not have the motivation to consider deep, moral reasoning when decided whether or not to go to war since the motivations of power and self-interest are far too powerful to resist and the leaders so prioritize their place in society that any, and all, action is designed to maintain that position - even at the expense of the nation. Specifically, in the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides writes that the reasons for war was only the "growth of Athenian power" and the fear this inspired in the Spartans. At no point did morality, or the universal imperative, come into play when making the decision and at no point later did it come into play; consider the Mytilenian Debate where an Athenian argues that all the adults in Mytilene ought to be killed regardless of guilt as an example, to prove to their allies that any revolt will be put down - violently. The protest that arises in an appeal to morality is that, rather than "trying to terrify the opposition, [a good citizen] ought to prove his case in fair argument." And, in fact, Kant would argue that this moment is a prime example for when people attempt to act in a moral imperative

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