Source: (2010) Criminal Justice Ethics. 29(1): pg. 54-69.

For someone with sensibilities such as mine, Kantian ethical theory pulls in two directions. On the one hand, we find in Kant arguably the most inspiring secular articulation of the meaning and significance of humanity. Despite the arguably racist, sexist, or speciesist undercurrents in his corpus, the central Kantian message rings true for many: clear thinking teaches us that humans deserve respect above all else. Anything that prevents us from orienting our lives by our duties to care for each other should be understood as selfinterested lies. This, I take it, informs much of the spirit of the restorative justice movement and its efforts to humanize modern legal practices. When first reading Kant, therefore, one might expect to find in his work a kinder, gentler theory of punishment. As readers of this journal are well aware, however, Kant’s theory of punishment feels very different from his general ethical theory. From his endorsement of capital punishment to his approval of humiliation as a retributive sanction, Kant hardly seems progressive to many advocates of restorative justice. Kant’s theory of punishment, in other words, looks to be on the wrong side of enlightened history. His pervasive sternness and absolutism makes it difficult to sustain a clean separation between the ‘‘two Kants,’’ but the rift between the warm-hearted humanitarian Kant and the punitive Lutheran Kant continues to trouble the modern left in its ambivalence regarding universalizing human rights for a multicultural world.