Kant in the news!

Most of you are probably vaguely aware that Kant turned 300 on Monday, and a few of you have perhaps even heard that the German Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz gave a speech commemorating the occasion. Now I’m not a great Scholz fan, for the most part (who is? — he and his coalition have reached lows in the polls that even Biden and Trump can only dream of), but I have to admit that this speech is really first-rate. If you read about it in the news anywhere, you probably assumed it was the usual politician thing — bumbling around trying to sound as if he had some idea what he was talking about and coming out sounding like a complete fake. Admittedly, that’s what usually happens. And you can’t imagine an American (or perhaps even a British) politician trying anything like this. But I have to admit that this speech really works. It lends weight and credibility to stuff that Scholz has been saying constantly (and too repetitively, too phlegmatically) since February 2022; the invocation of Kant is appropriate and measured and not at all weithergeholt (as they say here). So it’s not only unusually educated for a politician, it’s also rhetorically effective and politically smart. I urge you to read the whole thing.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find an English translation yet, and haven’t had time to provide one myself. If anyone finds a decent one, could they let me know? I’ll link that as well. (Or if enough people ask, and I still can’t find one, I might even translate it.)