The Only Legitimate Rule

(2017) 40 Dalhousie Law Journal 323

17 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2017 Last revised: 22 Sep 2017

See all articles by Bruce Pardy

Bruce Pardy

Queen's University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: August 17, 2017


Is autonomy “natural”? In Ecolawgic: The Logic of Ecosystems and the Rule of Law, I argue that a legal system of intrinsic neutrality is one over which no political office or branch of government has control and in which individuals have the autonomy to pursue their own interests. In “Autonomy in the Anthropocene,” the preceding article in this issue, Jason MacLean challenges the thesis of Ecolawgic. MacLean argues that autonomy is not a feature of neutral legal systems but a product of cultural norms and regulation. He maintains that Ecolawgic’s prescription provides neither optimal economic outcomes nor effective environmental protection. The purpose of this article is to reply to MacLean’s critique and to argue that there is only one legitimate rule to govern legal relations between competent adults

Keywords: jurisprudence, rule of law, legal theory, market, ecosystem, moral theory, environmental law, environmental protection, economic efficiency, aggregate welfare, natural selection

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K11, K12, K13, K32, K40, H10, D60, A10

Suggested Citation

Pardy, Bruce, The Only Legitimate Rule (August 17, 2017). (2017) 40 Dalhousie Law Journal 323. Available at SSRN:

Bruce Pardy (Contact Author)

Queen's University - Faculty of Law ( email )

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Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6
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