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I Kant Understand What You’re Arguing

February 15, 2010

No way you’re going to get a cop to understand the subtleties of fine distinctions:

Another unfortunate encounter with the police occurred when he lit up his pipe on the way out of a subway station. Morgenbesser protested to the officer who tried to stop him that the rules covered smoking in the station, not outside. The cop conceded he had a point, but said: “If I let you get away with it, I’d have to let everyone get away with it.” To which Morgenbesser, in a famously misunderstood line, retorted: “Who do you think you are, Kant?” Hauled off to the precinct lock-up, Morgenbesser only won his freedom after a colleague showed up and explained the Categorical Imperative to the nonplussed boys in blue.

I wish I had a chance to learn from this man.  He seems a man after my own philosophical heart of hearts.

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