Haircuts and Power: Sovereignty and the Military
Street-Level Sovereignty: The Intersection of Space and Law (Published September 2017; 978-1-4985-3503-8, Hardback)
22 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2017
Date Written: September 18, 2017
How can law be, simultaneously, nearly unseen, omnipresent, and materially affecting lives? Certainly the simultaneous presence of two of the three factors is plausible. Law can be both omnipresent and materially affecting a person. Equally true, law can be nearly unseen and all-powerful, or unseen and materially affecting lives. The simultaneous presence of each of those three factors will strike most readers, at least initially, as being incompatible with at least one of those factors; that is, what aspires to be nearly unseen, omnipresent, and materially affecting lives must sacrifice one of those characteristics for the benefit of the other two.
Yet, such an improbable trifecta of law is found everyday, in the lives of military members. The different character of the military community lends itself to the shared presence of what would ordinarily be inapposite ideals. The overt, yet hidden law stands as the backbone of a unique culture with an equally unique purpose, permitting the existence, and indeed, reinforcement, of a construct that affects every second of every minute of every hour of every day of those governed by it, but in a manner that goes largely unseen. This unique confluence of law and authority create the environment wherein the military can affect such a prominent role in the lives of its members, but also wherein civilian judges deeply defer to the rules and policies created by the military, resulting in weakened constitutional scrutiny as it relates to the military.
The reason is a very different mentality – the military mentality. It is necessary to understand that lens, with the goal of seeing law as authority and authority as controlling. This chapter will argue that the authority that the military derives and uses is not based in legal-rational grounding. Rather, by examining the power from the eyes of the street-level soldier, the power that the military wields becomes clear, evidencing strength and authority through tradition and imbuing that tradition in culture and law. By examining the theoretical underpinnings of military authority, this chapter will examine the source and nature of law that is leveraged upon the on-the-ground Soldier.
Keywords: military, military authority, authority, civil-military relations
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