In the Critique of Practical Reason (1788), or the second critique, Kant argued that there is a universal moral law that applies to everyone and tells us what we ought to do, regardless of what we want. This law reveals to us that we have free will, and it gives us reason to believe that there is a benevolent God and that there is an afterlife.
Of course, the first critique had demonstrated we can never know that we are free, that there is a God, or that there is an afterlife. Thus, in Kant's words, "I had to suspend knowledge, in order to make room for faith."
The Intellectual Devotional excerpt
Coming into this week, the big stories are Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks and gasoline prices; both have had a meteoric climb, one we cheer the other we sneer. In some ways both defy the laws of common understanding, especially gasoline prices. Because of a myriad of factors including a weak economy, urbanization, and higher tolls, people aren't driving as much so it would make sense if gasoline was moving lower. Sure, crude oil is higher, and after the brilliantly sinister move by Iran to cut off the United Kingdom and France, crude will move even higher. Yet, there are other factors for higher gas including state and federal taxes, a lack of refinancers and draconian rules on formulations.
There should be outrage in the streets, but the media has provided cover that has thus far mitigated the impact. Of course, if you don't have a job to drive to, then that also offsets the pain.
It's a psyche game to be sure, but at some point happy headlines in the New York Times cannot offset just how much more expensive it is to live life-—in the midst of a recovery. These days our entire existence is a constant bombardment of ideas and propaganda designed to make us demand mediocrity and cheer even less. But the other side of that equation is those doing the bombarding. Those that would play the psyche game would have to lack certain truths that typically rule everyone else, or they would have to ignore those rules in order to push an agenda.
When Kant argues that there is a universal moral law that applies to everyone and tells us what we ought to do, I feel in our present economic setting it means promoting pro-growth, pro-business, and pro-success policies. It would mean more drilling, less taxes, no harsh rhetoric, and building the Keystone pipeline. But the moral law we're supposed to adhere to regardless of what we want has been tossed out the window and so, too, the notion of practical reason. Instead of having more domestic supply of fossil fuels including crude, we have spent the last three year