Sword and Scales: Law and Politics

“Politics is an essential aspect of public activity and if it is unable to perform its vital task of managing basic conflicts effectively, then virtues of civility on which a stable social order rests are likely to be undermined. The liberal-legalist order, so the argument goes, will be founded on self-interested, rights-bearing, adversarial individuals and this will not be sustainable. This type of social order is likely to aggravate precisely those points of tension in society which any vibrant political process should aim at alleviating. The ultimate danger is that liberal-legalism may, paradoxically, bring about the precise end –despotism—which it is designed to avoid”.

-Martin Loughlin, Sword & Scales: Law and Politics (commenting on Gray’s concern about the replacement of politics by law); page 5.

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