Palle Veje Rasmussen
Danish philosopher and high-school-teacher

Kant’s 300th birthday and “the perpetual peace”

Kant and Moses
Kant and Moses

On Kant’s 300th birthday, we should not only remember him for his contribution to philosophy, but also commit ourselves to the principles he emphasized. In the Gaza conflict, far too many innocent lives have been tools in a wider geopolitical struggle, which directly contradicts Kant’s ethical framework. Taking hostages goes against any rational moral legal system and abuses innocent lives as pawns in a political game, a clear violation of Kant’s maxim of treating people as ends in themselves.
The release of hostages would be a strong confession to the principles of human dignity and moral action that Kant stood for. It would send an undeniable signal that even in the midst of conflict, humanitarian considerations can and must come before strategic interests.

Applying Kant’s principles to the war in Gaza will call for an immediate ceasefire and for the establishment of negotiations that respect both parties’ sovereignty and human dignity. Such an act would not only be a tribute to Kant on his 300th birthday, but also a decisive step towards realizing his ideal of universal citizenship, where all people, regardless of nationality, are protected by universal rights and common morality. Modern ethics cannot be found in the books of Moses. It would mean that decision-makers on all sides of the conflict recognize that their actions must be made universal law, which in this case involves refraining from violence, hostage-taking, illegal settlements and working for peace.

On this momentous day when we honor Kant, let us also honor his vision of a world where conflicts are resolved through respect for universal morality and justice. A cease-fire in Gaza would not only be a necessary humanitarian act, but also a powerful manifestation of the ethical principles that Kant formulated.

About the Author
I’m a Danish philosopher, have been written a book about formation in the high school-education system.