Sunday, April 3, 2011

Layin Down The Law

Protecting the citizens from the government. Quite the noble goal. In this week's reading what stuck out most to me was Hayek's explanation of the development of the the Rechtsstaat and its relation to the "rule of law" concept in the Anglo-American tradition.

I thought it was very important to see the stark contrast made between the American and French revolutions. The quote that summed up the French situation best to me was the following.
"This ardent resolve to sacrifice violently all rights to the revolutionary aim and no longer to admit any other consideration than an indefinable and changeable notion of what the state interest demands." (Hayek 195)
The deal here that arises is that the people come second to the revolutionary agenda which the world has seen time and again in the twentieth century. Pick any example: Soviet Russia, Khmer Rouge Cambodia, Nazi Germany etc. There needs to be an appeal to the "reign of law" against the "reign of clubs."

The objective of the the German Rechtsstaat and the Anglo-American Rule of Law to keep the states in check from achieving such things. The sharing of legally based civil liberties and the limiting of the state's power to protect the citizens from authority needs to be in place for a free society to exist.

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