Intellectuals and the law 1

“If I can’t be profound, at least I can be unintelligible.”

That has been the guiding principle of intellectuals on the left, those doughty champions of the masses – note well the crowds of them in Western universities – for at least a hundred years.

Here’s an example of it being followed, not by an academic but a religious obscurantist:

The rule of law is thus not the enshrining of priority for the universal/abstract dimension of social existence but the establishing of a space accessible to everyone in which it is possible to affirm and defend a commitment to human dignity as such, independent of membership in any specific human community or tradition, so that when specific communities or traditions are in danger of claiming finality for their own boundaries of practice and understanding, they are reminded that they have to come to terms with the actuality of human diversity – and that the only way of doing this is to acknowledge the category of ‘human dignity as such’ – a non-negotiable assumption that each agent (with his or her historical and social affiliations) could be expected to have a voice in the shaping of some common project for the well-being and order of a human group.

Thus spake Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, in a recent lecture.

And here, by way of contrast, is a quotation from a genuinely profound thinker, Thomas Sowell. The passage comes from his new book, Intellectuals and Society, and is as clear as a polished pane of glass:

There can be no dependable framework of law where judges are free to impose as law their own individual notions of what is fair, compassionate or in accord with social justice.

We found the whole book a pleasure to read.

Posted under Commentary, Miscellaneous by Jillian Becker on Thursday, March 18, 2010

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  • C. Gee

    “Human dignity as such”. A non-negotiable assumption. Resulting in the expectation that everyone, including those with historical and social affiliations to specific human communities and traditions that do claim that their Cs & Ts are the last word (Islam), will have a say . What kind of say? “We are the last word in human dignity.” A say in what? Common projects. What common projects ? Islamification. For the well-being of a human group. Which one? Muslims.
    In short, some humans have more human dignity as such than others. Those who think the rule of law enshrines the universal principle of justice have less than those for whom law is the establishment of a “space accessible” – the UN building (has handicapped ramps, reasonable parking) – to whine and receive aid and concessions from the former, more dignity-challenged, humans.
    Preach it, brother, preach it.