Angilbert (fl. ca. 840/50), On the Battle Which was Fought at Fontenoy

The Law of Christians is broken,
Blood by the hands of hell profusely shed like rain,
And the throat of Cerberus bellows songs of joy.

Angelbertus, Versus de Bella que fuit acta Fontaneto

Fracta est lex christianorum
Sanguinis proluvio, unde manus inferorum,
gaudet gula Cerberi.

Friday, June 26, 2009

"Law Like Love"--10th Myth--Vox Populi Vox Legis

And always the loud angry crowd,
Very angry and very loud,
Law is We,

This is the answer of the social contractists, the Rousseaus of this world, those that idolize Democracy as if it were the God. For these, Law is an expression of the general will that amorphous thing called the “majority,” and the general will or the majority determines, in the final analysis, right and wrong. Who otherwise is there one can appeal to?

This is the spirit behind Francis Fukuyama's The End of History and the Last Man, which viewed the imminent success of Western-style liberal democracy as the end and culmination of mankind's ideological evolution, a secular beatific vision or nirvana from which no further progress could be envisioned.

If the authority of one cannot make Law for another of his equals, then how can the authority of many? The will of one can be tyranny; the will of many can be an aggregate tyranny. The theories that place the source of authority in an aggregate group of men or in their democratically-elected appointee cannot explain authority of the Law. Based on his nature, one man has no claim to authority over another except through an exercise of power. Nothing added to nothing makes nothing, even if added a hundred times, and so the apologetics behind democracy’s legitimacy is not explicable as a source of Law.

The crowd is unruly, and most often gets its unthinking way, because it is always very angry and very loud—after all, contrary to moral authority which speaks in the silent voice of conscience, the clamor of the crowds does sum. That is why there is power in a crowd. But the crowd is not all there is, for Auden notes that there is another power. To say that the general will determine right and wrong, and there is no appeal from it, also ignores that great heritage of Heraclitus, who is his fragments states that it is sometimes law to obey the counsel of one.[i]

[i] Heraclitus, frag. 110.

No comments:

Post a Comment