Prospects for Constitutional Government
By James Constant
Copyright © 1993,2013 by James Constant
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Table of Contents
PROSPECTS FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT
Hobbes (1588 1679 A.D.) said that peace was the only purpose of law, and he gave the sovereign absolute authority. By reducing law to will, realism came to the same conclusion. In the pure theory and in analytical jurisprudence, peace appears to be the only criterion for judging a legal system. All modern legal writers therefore, the so called positivists, conclude by their studies that peace is the purpose of law. This conclusion coincides with that of the ruler who makes peace the purpose of law in order to protect its interests, by maintaining control and staying in power. Lenin (1870 1924 A.D.), a lawyer, proclaimed that law is a political measure and politics and his disciple Mao (1893 1976 A.D.) said that justice is what comes from the barrel of a gun. Only Letwin (1924 1993 A.D.) says that there is something more to the law, namely, a "preferable authority" whose limits are prescribed by constitutional and substantive law to perfect the individual. Justice Brandeis (1856 1941 A.D.) reminded us that those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty.  Liberty, of course, does not consist in mere general declarations of the rights of men. It consists in the translation of those declarations into definite action. We therefore have two entirely different theories for the purpose of law, namely, "peace" and "preferable authority".