Constitutional Catallaxy: Friends and Enemies in an Open-Ended Social Order
Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice, Forthcoming
26 Pages Posted: 9 May 2017 Last revised: 22 Jan 2018
Date Written: January 21, 2018
Most liberal constitutional theorizing, as exemplified by Buchanan (1975) and Rawls (1971), Operates with a two-level scheme of analysis. The first level entails agreement on the rules through which a polity is constituted; the second level entails self-interested action inside that framework of rules. Within this framework a polity is constituted trough agreement on the rules that frame political action. In this paper, we explore how this scheme of analysis might be relaxed by recognizing that acquiescence is not agreement. Hence, people can acquiesce in some framework of governance without truly accepting it. In this alternative framework, agreement on rules is always incomplete, for two sets of reasons. One is the limited and divided quality of knowledge (Hayek 1937, 1945). The other is the persistent presence of antagonism within society, as conveyed by Carl Schmitt’s (1932) distinction between friends and enemies, and with that distinction present as well in William Riker’s (1962) theory of political coalitions.
Keywords: choice vs. emergence, constitutional control, friend-enemy distinction, open systems, paradox of power, political entrepreneurship
JEL Classification: D72, P16, P43, Z10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation