2002 November 12 Tuesday
James C. Bennett On National Vs International Law

Anglosphere columnist James C. Bennett compares national and international law and discusses the reasons why international law has legitimacy problems:

Starting particularly with Woodrow Wilson, the past hundred years has seen a growing trend to, first, attempt to refound international law in morality rather than pragmatism, and second, fuse international and national law into a seamless worldwide instrument of personal jurisdiction.

Even the first trend is problematic, both because of the lack of a universal moral consensus that is anything but superficial, and because international law suffers from an attempt to impose the constraints of general principles and universal rules. This is because its numbers are so small that there is far less likelihood of good and bad outcomes evening out over time.

The second trend is also problematic: law binding individuals must, to be effective, be based in morality and have some form of legitimacy in the eyes of those who would be bound.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 November 12 09:14 AM  UN, International Institutions


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