And because its truths are eternal, it will still be read when another century has passed. Frederic Bastiat was a French economist, statesman, and author. He did most of his writing during the years just before — and immediately following — the Revolution of February
As far as lawyers are concerned, perhaps the reason is that they are in some way forced to speak on the basis of their professional knowledge and therefore in terms of contemporary systems of law.
Political scientists, on the other hand, often appear to be inclined to think of politics as a sort of technique, comparable, say, to engineering, which involves the idea that people should be dealt with by political scientists approximately in the same way as machines or factories are dealt with by engineers.
The engineering idea of political science has, in fact, little, if anything, in common with the cause of individual freedom. Of course, this is not the only way to conceive of political science as a technique.
Political science can also be considered although this happens less and less frequently today as a means of enabling people to behave as much as possible as they like, instead of behaving in the ways deemed suitable by certain technocrats. Knowledge of the law, in its turn, may be viewed in a perspective other than that of the lawyer who must speak as if he were bound whenever he has to defend a case in court.
If he is sufficiently well versed in the law, a lawyer knows very well how the legal system of his country works and also sometimes how it does Edition: Moreover, if he has some historical knowledge, he may easily compare different ways in which successive legal systems have worked within the same country.
Finally, if he has some knowledge of the way in which other legal systems work or have worked in other countries, he can make many valuable comparisons that usually lie beyond the horizon of both the economist and the political scientist.
In fact, freedom is not only an economic or a political concept, but also, and probably above all, a legal concept, as it necessarily involves a whole complex of legal consequences.
While the political approach, in the sense I have tried to outline above, is complementary to the economic one in any attempt to redefine freedom, the legal approach is complementary to both.
However, there is still something lacking if this attempt is to succeed. During the course of the centuries many definitions of freedom have been given, some of which could be considered incompatible with others.
The result is that a univocal sense could be given to the word only with some reservation and after previous enquiries of a linguistic nature. Everyone can define what he thinks freedom to be, but as soon as he wants us to accept his formulation as our own, he has to produce some truly convincing argument.
However, this problem is not peculiar to statements about freedom; it is one that is connected with every kind of definition, and it is, I think, an undoubted merit of the contemporary analytical school of philosophy to have pointed out the importance of the problem.
A philosophical approach must therefore be combined with the economic, the political, and the legal approaches in order to analyze freedom.
This is not in itself an easy combination to achieve. Further difficulties are connected with the peculiar nature of the social sciences and with the fact that their data are not so univocally ascertainable as those of the so-called natural sciences.
In spite of this, in analyzing freedom, I have tried, as far as possible, to consider it first as a datum, namely, a psychological attitude. I have done the same with constraint, which is, in a sense, the opposite of freedom, but which is also a psychological attitude on the part of both those who try to do the constraining and those who feel that they are being constrained.
This means that people belonging to a political system in which freedom is defended and preserved for each and all against constraint cannot help being constrained at least to the extent that their own interpretation of freedom, and consequently also of constraint, does not coincide with the interpretation prevailing in that system.
However, it seems reasonable to think that these interpretations on the part of people generally do not differ so much as to foredoom to failure any attempt to arrive at a theory of political freedom. It is permissible to assume that at least within the same society the people who try to constrain others and those who try to avoid being constrained by others have approximately the same idea of what constraint is.
It can therefore be inferred that they have approximately the same idea of what the absence of constraint is, and this is a very important assumption for a theory of freedom envisaged as the absence of constraint, such as is suggested in this book.
To avoid misunderstandings, it must be added that a theory of freedom as the absence of constraint, paradoxical as it may appear, does not preach absence of constraint in all cases.
There are cases in which people have to be constrained if one wants to preserve the freedom of other people. This is only too obvious when people have to be protected against murderers or robbers, although it is not so obvious when this protection relates to constraints and, concomitantly, freedoms that are not so easy to define.
However, a dispassionate study of what is going on in contemporary society not only reveals that constraint is inextricably intertwined with freedom in the very attempt to protect the latter, but also, unfortunately, that according to several doctrines, the more one increases constraint, the more one increases freedom.
Unless I am wrong this is not only an evident misunderstanding, but also an ominous circumstance for the fate of individual freedom in our time. Their syncretistic view of freedom is simply based on a semantic confusion.
Today freedom and constraint pivot more and more on legislation. People generally realize fully the extraordinary importance of technology in the changes that are taking place in contemporary society. On the other hand, they do not seem to realize to the same extent the parallel changes brought about by legislation, often without any necessary connection with technology.
What they appear to realize even less is that the importance of the latter changes in contemporary society depends in its turn on a silent revolution in present-day ideas about the actual function of legislation.
In fact, the increasing significance of legislation in almost all the legal systems of the world is probably the most striking feature of our era, besides technological and scientific progress. While in the Anglo-Saxon countries common law and ordinary courts of judicature are constantly losing ground to statutory law and administrative authorities, in the Continental countries civil law is undergoing a parallel process of submersion as a result of the thousands of laws that fill the statute books each year.
A fact that almost always goes unnoticed is that a remedy by way of legislation may be too quick to be efficacious, too unpredictably far-reaching to be wholly beneficial, and too directly connected with the contingent views and interests of a handful of people the legislatorswhoever they may be, to be, in fact, a remedy for all concerned.A look at the meaning of the word democracy in ancient politics as contrasted with what we mean by democracy today.
Democracy Then and Now. A look at the meaning of the word democracy in ancient politics as contrasted with what we mean by democracy today. the Draconian Law-GiverThe privileged few in Athens had been making all the .
Therefore, classical Athens was what Arblaster (; p. 4) terms a “direct democracy”. Each citizen was viewed as a part of a wider whole and without the active role of the citizenry the democratic system itself could not function.
Religious Legal Systems in Comparative Law: A Guide to Introductory Research. By Marylin Johnson Raisch. Marylin Johnson Raisch is the Librarian for International and Foreign Law at the John Wolff International and Comparative Law Library of the Georgetown Law Center. She received her J.D. from Tulane University School of Law () with work both in civil and common law courses as well as.
The publisher of the Journal on European History of Law is the STS Science Centre Ltd. seated in London. The European Society for History of Law closely cooperates with the STS Science Centre Ltd.
and helps with editing the journal. Karl Popper: Political Philosophy. Among philosophers, Karl Popper () is best known for his contributions to the philosophy of science and epistemology.
Is the United States a democracy in the classical sense of the word? The ancient Greek word "demokratia" was ambiguous. It allows you to understand what is the rule that the government plays in the society and know what are your rights and duties under a democratic administration.
This essay will seek to define Democracy, the meaning of .