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 years hearing about the great savior of alternative sources.
Dust in the Wind
I read this piece late last year that there are 14,000 abandoned wind mills in the United States. That is a staggering number but a testament of something poorly thought out, yet planned to enrich a few people at the expense of frightening the masses. It's not going to stop unless there is a direct rebuke by the public, and even then the agenda will carry so much weight it's not certain this administration will change course. (The new budget calls for $10,000 federal payments to buyers of the Volt and other electric cars, up from $7,500. The car has been rejected by the public and the typical buyer earns $170,000 a year which means people making $40,000 a year are subsidizing the rich—finally the White House has found a version of "trickle up" it can applaud).
Those wind mills abandoned include those in California: Altamont Pass, Tehachapin and San Gorgonio. In addition to killing American taxpayer dollars, these wind mills (that are still plugged in) are murderous to birds. According to Alameda County Community Development Agency, the Altamont Pass windmills kill 10,000 birds a year including:
110 Golden Eagles
380 Burrowing Owls
300 Red tailed Hawks
333 American Kestrels (Falcons)
I know so many laws that have been passed under the guise of helping but really have been aimed at harming; such is the case that more and more people have stopped their suspension of knowledge. The health care law strips away so many rights and will ration medical care. The Dodd-Frank law was designed to harm banks, not help customers, and it is working but we don't believe the hype. Then there is the energy policy that doesn't exist and that's the problem. I must admit, however, if an official policy were cobbled together, it would hurt more than help. We have free will but need to live in a country where it can be wielded freely.