The Devil's Account: Men, Morals, and Constitutional Goods
24 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2009
Date Written: January 22, 2009
Alan Brudner's constitutional theory offers us an ideal constitution or 'heaven of laws'. His theory maps a constitution heavy with law. Law permeates and supports a host of dense networks and relationships between individuals, communities and the state. It also specifies a very comprehensive set of rights. These detailed prescriptions are designed to take constitutional form, with the result that they are removed largely from the remit of normal political and ideological debate. This paper probes this vision of constitutional order. It focuses on two particularly revealing aspects of the theory - its Aristotelian perfectionism and the educative role it affords the state. Drawing on an older tradition of liberal thought exemplified by Hume, the paper concludes that the extremely 'thick' legal constitution of the type Brudner presents is not one to which liberals should subscribe. His 'heaven of laws', since it envisages a state of political changelessness, amounts ultimately to a particular sort of tyranny in which the individual is trapped once more by the bonds of fate.
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