|And here is Adam Mossoff's explanation (paraphrased) of why Rand and many Objectivists commonly describe Kant as "the most evil man in mankind's history": It is because the acceptance of his ideas and their development by those who followed him led to the destruction of human values on a massive scale.|
And here is Ayn Rand's explanation, from the September 1971 The Objectivist:
Suppose you met a twisted, tormented young man and, trying to understand his behavior, discovered that he was brought up by a man-hating monster who worked systematically to paralyze his mind, destroy his self-confidence, obliterate his capacity for enjoyment and undercut his every attempt to escape. You would realize that nothing could be done with or for that young man and nothing could be expected of him until he was removed from the monster's influence.
Western civilization is in that young man's position. The monster is Immanuel Kant.
... Kant was opposed in his time and thereafter, but his opponents adopted a kind of [conservative] method: they conceded all his basic premises and fought him on inconsequential details. He won - by default and with their help... All the irrational twistings of contemporary philosophy are Kantian in origin. The ultimate result is the present state of the world.
... You will find that on every fundamental issue, Kant's philosophy is the exact opposite of Objectivism. You may also find it hard to believe that anyone could advocate the things Kant is advocating. If you doubt it, I suggest you look up the references given [in Leonard Peikoff's article 'Kant and Self-Sacrifice' which follows hers] and read the original works Do not seek to escape the subject by thinking: "Oh, Kant didn't mean it!" He did.
(And I did mean to quote Rand. Tee hee.)
And here's what Leonard Peikoff said in 'Fact and Value' (which well is a little poisoned, I concede - but not on this point):
Since dedication to reality is the essence of the moral and of the practical, the false qua false is precisely the intolerable. (In what form a boss should express his intolerance to his employee depends on the full context.)
Now consider the case of Kant, whom I take to be the negative counterpart of Ayn Rand. To anyone capable of understanding Kant's ideas, the first thing to say about them is: "false." But implicit in the all-embracing war on reality they represent is a second verdict: "wicked." The cause of such ideas has to be methodical, lifelong intellectual dishonesty; the effect, when they are injected into the cultural mainstream, has to be mass death. There can be no greater evasion than the open, total rejection of reality undertaken as a lifetime crusade. And only evasion on this kind of scale, evasion as the motor of an entire philosophic system, makes possible and necessary all the atrocities of our age. (For details, see The Ominous Parallels.)
Whoever understands the Critiques, yet urges "toleration" of Kant (or his ilk), or tells us to practice cognition on his ideas but not moral evaluation, has rejected self-preservation as a goal. He has rejected the principle of justice and the entire realm of moral value. He has said that man's life or death should not be a ruling concern in anyone's mind.
In the final issue of The Objectivist, Ayn Rand described Kant as "the most evil man in mankind's history." She said it knowing full well that, apart from his ideas, Kant's actions were unexceptionable, even exemplary. Like Ellsworth Toohey, he was a peaceful citizen, a witty lecturer, a popular dinner guest, a prolific writer. She said it because of what Kant wrote — and why — and what it would have to do to mankind. She held that Kant was morally much worse than any killer, including Lenin and Stalin (under whom her own family died), because it was Kant who unleashed not only Lenin and Stalin, but also Hitler and Mao and all the other disasters of our disastrous age. Without the philosophic climate Kant and his intellectual followers created, none of these disasters could have occurred; given that climate, none could have been averted.
Popper, and Popperians, just didn't know the man to whom they were "show[ing] their gratitude." They philosophically disarmed themselves; that's no reason that we who know better should do likewise.
(Edited by Peter Cresswell on 10/09, 6:43pm)