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Serious reform was impeded by the usual disagreement about what should be done – a dispute that Emmanuel Macron, France's new president, once described as a "holy war" between German and French elites.Then the question becomes: What is the right thing to do?The best answer I have come across is German: Immanuel Kant's, to be precise.Unlike personal tastes, which are fickle and offer no sure path to happiness or virtue, duties can be discerned by a logical mechanism common to all humans.Rational humans, Kant concludes, must recognize that they have a duty to abstain from a practice (lying) that, if adopted by everyone at once, would annul our most precious invention (language).No god is necessary, no moralizing is required, to demonstrate our duty to tell the truth. A critic of this German idea for reforming Europe might credibly ask why anyone should do their rational duty, rather than remain on the time-honored path of narrow self-interest? The only sound answer is: because there is no truly rational alternative.
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