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Das Strafgesetz ist ein kategorischer Imperativ, und wehe dem! welcher die Schlangenwindungen der Glückseligkeitslehre durchkriecht, um etwas aufzufinden, was durch den Vortheil, den es verspricht, ihn von der Strafe, oder auch nur einem Grade derselben entbinde nach dem pharisäischen Wahlspruch: »Es ist besser, daß ein Mensch sterbe, als daß das ganze Volk verderbe;« denn wenn die Gerechtigkeit untergeht, so hat es keinen Werth mehr, daß Menschen auf Erden leben.
The penal law is a categorical imperative, and woe to him who penetrates the snake coilings of the theory of happiness in order to find something which promises the advantage of freeing him from a punishment or even just a portion of the same in accordance with that saying of the Pharisees, “It’s better that one man die, than that the entire people perish;” for if justice goes, then what value remains for the human beings left living on earth?
–Immanuel Kant, Metaphysik der Sitten, pt ii, sec 1 (1797) in: Sämtliche Werke in sechs Bänden, vol. 5, p. 455 (Großherzog Wilhelm Ernst ed. 1922)(S.H. transl.)
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Amount of sunscreen Bob Dole uses:
A study of wheat prices suggested that sunspots influence crop success.
Hundreds of Viagra pills were found in the office of the South Korean president, who is a woman; North Korean leader Kim Jong-un asked his country’s scientists to develop a cure for sexual dysfunction using snake extracts, mushrooms, and sea urchins.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."