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May 21, 2013

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Patrick S. O'Donnell

While there are a host of compelling reasons for "fixation with the state" with regard to most forms of justice, it's certainly true some forms of justice have been comparatively ignored or forgotten and one need not ignore such forms or questions insofar as they can be viewed outside or beyond the state, but I doubt that one can make a persuasive argument "for a return to the traditional view of legal and political community." Incidentally, I had occasion to mention the various types or forms of justice here: http://ratiojuris.blogspot.com/2012/08/on-largely-distributive-justice-basic.html

And I think we do benefit now and again from the proverbial big picture provided by metanarratives, it's just that they require a depth and breadth of knowledge that is, alas, beyond the reach of even our finest scholars (owing to the academic division of labor, hyper-specialized training in some fields, the fragmentation of knowledge domains, etc.).

Matthew Crow

I can doubt whether or not there is a single "traditional view of legal and political community" to be recovered, but I do not doubt the efficacy of thinking about how forms of customary usage and constituent constitutionalism (whether that is what Beever has in mind or not) might be rethought and practiced in the contemporary law and politics. Undoubtedly there are compelling reasons to focus on the state, but denaturalizing the state as a fundamental category of political analysis might provide good material for thinking and acting otherwise.

I do not doubt that big picture analyses, metanarratives, or metatheory can be useful and important- that comment was not meant to dismiss the development so much as note it, with a bit of caution. What many of the recent large-scale historical works in legal and political philosophy seem to have in common is a kind of declension narrative where it (the world, western civilization, Europe, the Church, whatever) used to be all one thing and now its all screwed up and complex or fractured because of this other thing. The value of such work has limits, I think. The guiding light here seems to be Koselleck, or a particular (and I might add poor) reading of him. If metanarrative in the history of thought is going to be little more than a return to bad-Hegelian accounts of the epoch or the spirit of the age and what not, I am going to remain skeptical.

John Brown's Body

The most important thing history teaches us is that so called elites who run profiteering organizations to service their own greed will always be torn down from the pedestal they put themselves on. Jesus reserved his most righteous anger for those who cheated the less fortunate out of what little they had. The protestant reformation was born out of the corruption in the catholic church, the promise of heaven in return for your earthly wealth. Toussaint Le'Overture, Simon Bolivar, and Thomas Paine led the denizens of the new world in revolt against mercantilist/imperialist european tyrants who called themselves kings. Nat Turner, John Brown, and the black soldiers of the Union army sought to eliminate the idea that one man could own another. Racial minorities, unions, native americans and women did constant battle with the "educated" elites who dominated law and politics. Even now gays and lesbians struggle against the laws YOU (the ivory tower) set up to protect your own financial and societal position. YOu law professors and deans have grown fat and rich on the backs of my generation, deceiving us with false promises backed by doctored employment statistics (SEE: Villanova scandal). Your profiteering has ruined the lives of many of my friends and people I care about. Just like all the profiteering liars that came before you, your day will come.

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