Weberian marxism

John Landon nemonemini at
Tue Jun 26 04:57:37 MDT 2001

As a final note here, we have, of course, the question
of 'German Ideology' with respect to German
philosophy, and the implications of that. That
troubles many. But I would say, considering Kant, that
the issue doesn't really impinge on the question of
seeing the historical sequence leading up to Marxism.
This view of Kantians is true enough if you actually
deal with them!  You will agree with Marx in his
German Ideology. But this is no reason to be unaware
of the landmine terrain of the complicated Hegelian
myth that takes off almost at once and in direct
contrast to Kant's starting point. In fact, Kantian
political views are a red herring here.  Kantian
classical liberalism was revolutionary in its
generation, as Kant seems frozen in 1789, and
equivocal on revolutionary thinking. But he was
equivocal and never wavered in his committment, beside
the oddities of his written statements. Beyond that,
the crucial point is that Kant's political philosophy
is not derivable from his critical system, which, as
Riley points out in "Kant's Political Philosophy"
contains the almost radically utopian ethical stance,
as Marx himself noted. Here Kant is an enigmatic
series of contradictions, for his thinking is at once
part of the conservatizing of the Neo-Kantians, but
revolutionary at the core, for it foresees the
incomplete nature of the historical process of civil
evolution. The point is to not be thrown off the
historical study of the sequence of thinking that lead
up to Hegel, who is quite confusing in isolation.
 Also important is Kant's  little work on history,
Idea for a Universal History, as the starting point
for Hegel, and anyone else with a theory of history.
But here Kant is different, for he does not endorse
the snare of the 'end of history' nexus in Hegel, now
the reigning ideology a la Fukuyama.
Kant's idea of the perfect civil constitution in that
text forsees implicitly the grim future beyond the
stabilizing bourgeois revolution that was the object
of idealist hopes in the generation in which he lived.
In any case, the issue is to not let the Hegelian
mesmerization take hold, and a study of Kant's
starting point,without falling into the quagmire
complexity of his system (unless you wish to try it!)
is actually sufficient.
Anyway, socialists of the future have to be more than
philosophers.  What that means I don't know, maybe
metaphilosophers. But to select, and select from the
selection, and then again---no it won't work, as Hegel
slyly noted, you need a 'dialectic' to stop selecting
and start encompassing, master philosophy as a whole.
There we go again, Hegel's cunning monopoly. Don't be
Enough on Kant.

John Landon
Site for Eonic Effect

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