Archive for the ‘rule of law founded on dignity of man’ Category

Right without might is helpless, might without right is tyrannical.

August 25, 2009

Right without might is challenged, because there are always evil men about. Power without justice is to be condemned. Justice and power must be brought together, so that whatever is just may be powerful, and whatever is powerful may be just Right tends to be debatable, while power is recognizable and cannot be disputed. Therefore it is impossible to give power to justice, because power has tended to repudiate justice and declare it to be unjust and has instead argued that power itself is just. Thus being unable to make right into might, we have made might into right.

Pascal

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The Preconditions of Freedom

August 22, 2009

The security (i.e. freedom) of the press, whatever fine declarations may be inserted in any constitution, must altogether depend on public opinion, and on the general spirit of the people and of the government.

Alexander Hamilton, quoted by Charles A. Beard, Freedom, Allen and Unwin, 1942, pp.8-9

Beard continues:

The well-framed proclamations of the Weimar Constitution were easily swept into the discard by Adolf Hitler and his Storm Troopers. Something more is needed to preserve freedom than verbal proclamation. Underlying all practice in this respect are the thought, scheme of values and resolve of a sufficient body of people in every country to sustain assertions of freedom made in the form of law.

If we are to get at the sustaining convictions which give force to paper formulations of freedom, we must examine the thought that has accompanied the rise, growth, assertion and defense of freedom. How have asserters and defenders of freedom looked upon the world of human beings? What asumptions have they made respecting humanity? What values have they accepted as primordial? What promises of freedom have they found in the very nature…of mankind?

ibid.

Perhaps our politicians might do well to consider these factors in their expectation of freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan etc.