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Overview: The authors of this book share a concern for the state of law and democracy in our country, which to many seems to have deteriorated badly. Deep changes are visible in a wide array of phenomena: judicial opinions, the teaching of law, legal practice, international relations, legal scholarship, congressional deliberations, and the culture of contemporary politics. In each of these intersections between law, culture, and politics, traditional expectations have been transformed in ways that pose a threat to the continued vitality and authority of law and democracy.
The authors analyze specific instances in which such a decline has occurred or is threatened, tracing them to "the empire of force," a phrase borrowed from Simone Weil. This French intellectual applied the term not only to the brute force used by police and soldiers but, more broadly, to the underlying ways of thinking, talking, and imagining that make that sort of force possible, including propaganda, unexamined ideology, sentimental clichés, and politics by buzzwords, all familiar cultural forms.
Based on the underlying crisis and its causes, the editors and authors of these essays agree that neither law nor democracy can survive where the empire of force dominates. Yet each manages to find a ground for hope in our legal and democratic culture.
Genre: Non-Fiction > Law, Democracy
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