mercredi 18 novembre 2015

Video interview with Herman Dooyeweerd (1973)

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(1) Dooyeweerd: Structural Principle of the State

by Herman Dooyeweerd


The chaotic confusion in the conception of the nature of the State
     Perhaps there is no other organized human community whose character has given rise to such a chaotic diversity of opinions in modern social philosophy and social science as the State. And the neglect of the study of the internal structural principles of human societal relationships has nowhere been more disastrous than in the general theory of the body politic. In recent times this theory has come to a crisis that the Humanistic views were unable to overcome. But the neglect of the transcendental internal individuality structure of the State in political and social theory is not a recent evil. Already in ancient philosophical political theories the conceptions of the State appeared to be so vague and undefined as to the inner nature of this institution that they were bound to vitiate the entire view of human society.

     In an earlier context we have seen that the Platonic and Aristotelian conceptions of the polis operated with the metaphysical scheme of the whole and its parts, and conceived of the State simply as the totality of human society. The Aristotelian view of the polis as "societas perfecta", as a self-sufficient, "autarchic" community whose aim is the "good life", really lacked any internal structural limitation (1).
(1) This is erroneously denied by A. MENZEL, Griechische Staatssoziologie (Z.f. öff.R.XVI,1936) pp. 24 ff. The fact that ARISTOTLE treats of territory, nation, and magistrate, and recognizes the important position of the military factor in the State, does not mean that his view is oriented to the real structural principle of this institutional community. Cf. Pol. I, 1280 b,where the only essential characteristic of the State is called: κοινωνία τού εύ ζήν, (community of good life). 
     Besides, there was no insight here into the typical historical foundation of the State as a non-natural institution. [cf "Wielding of Power"] On the other hand this view remained free from the prejudice of a modern historicistic positivism that looks upon the body politic as a variable historical phenomenon, apart from any normative principle.

     In PLATO and ARISTOTLE a normative idea of the State of a supposed supra-temporal, metaphysical character is recognized as the normative essence of this community, and laid at the foundation of any empirical enquiry into its factual manifestations. PLATO'S ideal State is partly oriented to a constructive idealistic metaphysics, and partly historically bound to the formal patterns of the Doric and Cretan States.

     Nevertheless it is remarkable that notwithstanding the universalistic identification of the ideal polis with the whole of societal life, the inner structural principle of the State proper urges itself upon PLATO, at least in his project of the organization of the typical political functions.

     There are two genuinely political classes in this polis, viz. that of the philosophers, who rule according to the idea of justice, and that of the warriors, in which the State's monopoly of the sword-power is represented. This division implicitly recognizes the two peculiar structural functions that will appear to be radical-typical for the State institution. In itself this fact is important, especially in its contrast with the modern historicist conception, which denies the State an invariable structural principle and considers it to be an absolutely variable historical phenomenon.

The character and the different meanings of a crisis in the theory of the State. The Greek Sophists and the Renaissance figure of MACCHIAVELLI.
     Every time the belief in an invariable structural principle of the body politic has been sapped — in whatever sense this principle is conceived of — there arises a crisis in the theory of the State. A relativistic attitude then gains the upperhand.

     Such a crisis may be the result of a really critical-theoretical attitude with regard to traditional political theories which in an uncritical way hold an existing historical form to be the unchangeable model for every kind of political life. Then the crisis is a necessary transitional stage in the theoretical reflection on the problem of the State, and it may be called useful at least in this respect.Such a theoretical crisis has no doubt been prepared for in the course of time by an internal process of decline in the traditional life of the body politic. This process may simply be a symptom of decadence, but it may also be an unavoidable transition to a new concentration of public life. The first theoretical crisis in the Greek view of the State was started by the radical left wing sophists. It was the result of a decay of the foundations of Athenian democracy after the death of PERICLES. Then the entire Greek city-State passed through a fatal "twilight ofthe gods" and the once so proud polis was never to see another dawn.

     The naturalistic theory of the absolutist power-State, on the contrary, directed by the Renaissance statesman MACCHIAVELLI against the traditional medieval view, announced a real renaissance of political thought. It was the theoretical precipitation of a crisis which had already found expression in the individualist-nominalistic theory of the later Middle Ages. It announced the transition from an internally decaying medieval idea of the Holy Roman empire to the modern bureaucratically organized and strongly centralized national State. In the hopelessly divided Italian city-States of the Renaissance period the necessity of a powerful national body politic was sharply felt. The modern State-idea was a subject of lively discussion. Here the name "stato" was first used to indicate the body politic as a whole. 

The recent crisis in the Humanistic theory of the State
     The most recent crisis in political theory, culminating in the "theories of the State without a State-idea", has been prepared for by quite a complex of factors to which I have devoted an elaborate analysis in my De Crisis in de Humanistische Staatsleer (The Crisis in Humanistic Political Theory).

     In it the decline of the normative Humanist idea of the civic law-State plays a dominant part. This idea was based on the Humanistic science-and personality-ideal, whose metaphysics has been worn away by relativism and historicism. Western man had become aware of a fundamental historical relativity of the supposed self-subsisting ideas of natural and rational law. In the crisis of a regular "Götterdämmerung" ("twilight of the Gods") of all "absolute" standards, the world of ideas of post-Kantian freedom-idealism had also been unmasked as historically conditioned. Then in political theory, too, relativistic positivism and historicism came to the fore. There was no longer room for an invariable normative structural principle of the State. RICHARD SCHMIDT merely formulated the prevailing relativistic conception in his Allgemeine Staatslehre when he wrote: 'Modern political theory emancipates itself from the speculative view, it leaves alone the metaphysical question about the idea of the State and restricts itself to the empirical world' (2). 
(2) RICHARD SCHMIDT, Allgemeine Staatslehre (Leipzig, 1901). Bnd. I,p. 117: Die neuere Staatslehre macht sich von der spekulativen Betrachtungsweise los, lässt die metaphysische Frage nach der Staatsidee bei Seite and beschränkt sich auf die Erfahrungswelt'. 
     CARL SCHMITT also gave expression to the relativistic destruction of the entire ideology of the State founded in the Humanistic faith in reason. About the modern "material" concept of statute law (which nowadays contains no other criterion for its distinction from the statute in a formal sense than its pertaining to a general rule) he says: 'All other properties of the statute law as a substantial-rational, just and reasonable arrangement have become relativized and problematical. The faith in natural law, implying the belief in the law of reason and in reason in the law, has disappeared to a considerable degree. The civic law-State is only saved from completely merging into the absolutism of changing Parliamentary majorities by the still factually existing respect for this universal character of the statute law' (3). 
(3) CARL SCHMITT, Verfassungslehre (1928), p. 156: 'Alle andern Eigenschaften des Gesetzes als einer substanziell-rationalen, gerechten und vernüftigen Anordnung sind heute relativiert und problematisch geworden; der naturrechtliche Glaube an das Gesetz der Vernunft und die Vernunft im Gesetz ist im weiten Masze entfallen. Was den bürgerlichen Rechtsstaat vor vöIIiger Auflösung in den Absolutismus wechselnder Parlementsmehrheiten bewahrt ist nur der tatsächlich noch vorhandene Respect vor diesem generellen Character des Gesetzes'.
     Cf. also HERMANN HELLER, Der Begriff des Gesetzes in der Rechtsverfassung, Veröffentlichungen der Vereinigung der Deutschen Staatsrechtlehrer, Heft 4 (1928) p. 115: 'Einer klaren Erkenntnis von der Bedeutung des Gesetzesbegriffs im Rechtsstaate steht heute die politische Degeneration des Rechtsstaatsgedankens im Wege'. [A clear knowledge of what the concept of law means in a law-State is made impossible nowadays by the political degeneration of the idea of the law-State].
     A critic of my book De Crisis in de Human. Staatsleer has argued against it that such pronouncements were only to be found in German writings on the State. But this is hardly tenable for anyone who has been acquainted with recent political literature. Not only German but also the French political literature after the first world-war was penetrated by this crisis of the law-State idea. In the Netherlands this crisis found its most striking expression after the second world-war in the remarkable book of H. W. SCHELTEMA, entitled Beschouwingen over de Vooronderstellingen van ons Denken over Recht en Staat (1948). In consequence of the appearance of this work I wrote an article entitled De Vooronderstellingen van ons Denken over Recht en Samenleving in de Crisis van het moderne Historisme (in the juridical quarterly Themis-Rechtsgeleerd Magazijn 1949, pp. 193-249). 
     A metaphysically conceived normative idea of the State is no longer recognized in modern scientific thought insofar as it has been infected by Historicism (4).
(4) Of late in Roman Catholic circles an institutional theory has been gaining ground, which tries to give the historical sociological conception of the State a metaphysical foundation. It has been founded by the late French professor of constitutional law, M. HAURIOU, who in his earlier sociological works was strongly under the influence of Comtian positivism but later on underwent the influence of the philosophy of life and ultimately founded his institutional conception of the State in a metaphysical State-idea, conceived of in a neo-Platonic sense. His colleague at the Nancy University, G. RENARD (La théorie de l'institution, Essai d'ontologie juridique 1930), tried to accommodate the institutional theory of HAURIOU to the traditional Thomistic-Aristotelian view. HAURIOU himself, however, was much more oriented to the Augustinian-Platonic metaphysics. The institutional theory lies outside of the cadre of the "Crisis in the Humanistic Political Theory" and, therefore, we need not enter into it in the present context. 
     Neither can this thought accept the idea of an immutable structural principle of the body politic in our sense. The shibboleth of a scientific political theory was declared to be the elimination of all normative evaluations. Thus the attempt was made to form an a-normative notion of the State on a merely historical and positivist sociological basis.

The supra-historical societal structures of "historical phenomena".
     But in what way could such an a-normative conception be formed on the basis of the infinite multiplicity of "historical forms" of political life? Evidently any historical inquiry into the development of the State-institution must be based on a structural idea of the latter, if we are to be scientifically justified in speaking univocally of a State.

     Is a State an absolutely transient historical occurrence, like e.g., "the battle of Waterloo? Evidently not. On second thought "the battle of Waterloo" itself cannot be grasped in an exclusively modal-historical sense. It is related to the structure of the State insofar as it occurred in a war between the Napoleonic French State and the allied States which had united to put an end to the Napoleonic empire. Outside this relation it cannot be understood in its historical structural meaning. All individual historical phenomena manifest themselves in social individuality structures which as such are not of a modal historical nature, let alone of an absolutely transient individual historical character. The variable social forms in which the State-institution is realized in the course of time should never be confounded with its structural principle, founded in the plastic horizon of experience and reality, which alone makes possible our experience of the transient State formations. This fundamental truth must again and again be imprinted in our readers' minds, in opposition to the prevailing relativistic tendencies of thought.

     The representatives of modern political theory who tried to give a critical account of the structure of the State and did not content themselves with a kind of naïve empirical positivism, were often oriented to a merely methodological neo-Kantianism. The leading part in their epistemological reflection was given to the dualistic separation between sein and sollen (between what is and what ought to be) as methodological viewpoints. Accordingly the general theory of the State was divided into an "empirical" sociological, and a normative juridical part. From this dualistic methodological viewpoint, which in the last analysis was ruled by the Humanist basic motive of nature and freedom, any attempt at a synthesis of the juridical and the sociological conceptions was excluded in principle. The German scholar GEORG JELLINEK, who nevertheless tried to combine these antithetic conceptions, could not indicate any starting-point from which such a synthesis would be made possible. We shall presently return to this dualism in the general theory of the State.

     A result of so-called critical epistemological reflection in the general sociological theory of the body politic was the reduction of this organized community to a subjective synthesis of a multiplicity of socio-psychical relations into a teleological unity ("Zweckverband"), which was supposed to function only in human consciousness, without any correspondence to reality. The so-called pure legal theory of the State, on the other hand, even resolved the body politic as an organized community into a logical system of legal norms, which should be conceived apart from any causal sociological viewpoint. This entire epistemological reflection remained oriented to a naturalistic, merely functionalistic and individualistic conception of reality. All individuality structures in human society were in principle levelled down, and the organized communities were resolved into a formal synthesis of elementary relations. The material content of this formal synthesis was completely abandoned to the historicistic view.

(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Company 1969. Vol 3, pp 379-385)

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(2) Dooyeweerd: Structural Principle of the State

by Herman Dooyeweerd
The levelling of the individuality structure of the State in the overstretching of functionalistic thought.
     In my book De Crisis in de Humanistische Staatsleer (The Crisis in Humanist Political TheoryI have shown in great detail what modern nominalistic sociological and "normological" theories of State have left of the body politic, as a result of this overstrained functionalistic mode of thought. To give only some examples: To LUDWIG WALDECKER the unity of an organized community, as such, is merely a synthetical category of thought. By its means an incalculable multitude of socio-psychical interactions between individuals cooperating in the social process are made accessible to thought in their totality.

     From this nominalistic viewpoint there is not any qualitative essential difference between the State and "all other organizations". 'Neither the organizations with a particular purpose (such as, e.g., a limited liability company), nor the autonomous political communities which are components of the State (e.g., municipality, district, and province), are different from the State in a qualitative sense, but only quantitatively and functionally" ["Weder die Organisationen für bestimmte Zwecke, sagen wir etwa vom Typus einer Aktiengesellschaft, noch die Kommunalverbände (Gemeinde, Kreis, und Provinz), unterscheiden sich qualitativ, sondern stets nur quantitativ und funktional vom Staate". (WALDECKER: Allgemeine Staatslehre, 1927, pp. 81-82 and 214-215)]

     From this viewpoint it is not surprising that the writer does not mind qualifying also the territorial national evangelical Churches as States. He justifies this view by the argument that however much nowadays we associate the idea of "spiritual interactions" with the notion "Church", this association is only historically determined (Op. cit. p 217).

     A similar mentality is evident in MAX WEBER's pronouncement that sociologically speaking a modern State can only be considered as a "large-scale economic business" and that there is not any essential difference between a private economic enterprise, e.g., a large factory, and a present-day State (see: MAX WEBER, Parlement und Regierung im neu geordneten Deutschland, 1918, p 15).

     KELSEN could readily subscribe to this statement on his "normological standpoint", and remarked that for this very reason the organizational problem in both cases is identical (see: Vom Wesen und Wert der Demokratie, p 17).

     The same tendency is seen in the guild socialist view, which HAROLD LASKI has characterized as the opinion that the State is "a body on the same footing as the Miners' Federation" (see: LASKI, A Grammar of Politics, p. 73).

     In opposition to the levelling sociological conceptions of the body politic which eliminate its normative structure, the "normological" theory of KELSEN handled only a "purely juridical" viewpoint, which was found in the "Sollensebene" (ie "The realm of what should be"). His overstretching of the juridical concept of function, denatured in a logicistic way, assumed grotesque proportions in the "normological" identification of the State with a logical system of legal norms deduced in his so-called "pure legal theory".

The dialectical "cultural-scientific" ("geisteswissenschaftliche") method applied to the general theory of the State. RUDOLF SMEND and the former "Berlin School".
     The introduction of the dialectical cultural scientific (or "geisteswissenschaftliche") method into the general theory of the State, oriented to LITT's earlier discussed phenomenological sociology, could not show a way out of the crisis. It did not rest on a normative structural idea of the State in which the historicistic relativizing of all normative standards is to be overcome. In my De Crisis in de Humanistische Staatsleer (The Crisis in Humanist Political Theory) I criticized the application of this method of thought to political theory in an analysis of the "Integrationslehre" of the founder of the former "Berlin School", RUDOLPH SMEND. In the meantime this school was definitively dispersed by the national socialist revolution in Germany.

HELLER's dialectical structural concept of the State, and the historicist view of reality
     There is, however, one work on the general theory of the State which, at least partly inspired by LITT's dialectical formal sociology, deserves our special attention in this context. I mean that of the German scholar HERMANN HELLER. HELLER's methodological starting-point and his actualistic view of the unity of the State as always involved in a process of becoming, as "plébiscite de tous les jours" (1), were the reason why I formerly classed him with the "Berlin School". 
(1) He borrowed this phrase for the State from RENAN. Cf. his book Die Souveränität (Berlin and Leipzig, 1927, p. 82).
     His conception of the State, however, deviated already from the outset from that of SMEND.

     And HELLER's Staatslehre (1934), published posthumously and edited by GERHART NIEMEYER, cut through nearly every connection with SMEND's "Integrationstheorie". In spite of his formal maintenance of LITT's dialectical-sociological method, he also relinquished some basic thoughts of LITT's sociology. As a matter of fact he seems never to have quite understood them (Cf. my Crisis in de Hum. Staatsleer, p. 50/1, note 3). He broke with the anti-axiological conception of sociology (Cf. Staatslehre, Leiden, 1934, pp. 51 ff), and recognized the real State-institution as a subjective "Aktzentrum": 
"Our task is to show that the State is a real unitary act-centre within the multiplicity of real and independent, either individual or collective act-centres." ["Unsere Aufgabe ist es, den Staat nachzuweisen als ein wirkliches einheitliches Aktzentrum innerhalb der Vielheit wirklicher und selbständiger, sei es einzelmenschlicher oder kollektiver Akzentren".](Op. cit).
     His standpoint as to these two points thus became the direct opposite to LITT'S, though HELLER did not realize this (compare p. 254 and pp. 255 ff. of this volume).

     But this renders his posthumous work all the more important as a serious attempt to overcome the theoretical crisis in the general theory of the State. By means of a dialectical structural concept of the body politic he at least means to do full justice to the all-sided structural reality of this institutional organized community, and to bridge the neo-Kantian dualism of "sein" and "sollen" ("what is" and "what ought to be") dialectically.

     It seems to be promising that the normative functions of the State-institution are recognized and that the functionalistic conception of the latter is rejected. HELLER even seems to make room for a normative idea of the State in his theory. We will, therefore, examine HELLER's dialectical structural concept a little more in detail, in order to give account of its relation to the invariable normative structural principle of every real State-institution we are seeking for.

     HELLER's fundamental thesis is: 'The theory of the State is a structural, not a historical science'. This thesis seems indeed to have risen above the historicistic standpoint. Explicitly HELLER opposes a general political theory like R. SCHMIDT's, which exhausts its resources in giving a survey of the "development" of the "State" in the course of the history of the world. For lack of any well-defined concept of the body politic such an historical survey applied the term "State" to intrinsically heterogeneous societal relationships that display some trait of a political organization of power. HELLER is also opposed to SMEND's integration theory which at bottom is equally historicistic and irrationalistic. This theory considers "integration" as the State's essential characteristic, conceiving this process as a perpetual renewal of the unity of the body politic (see: SMEND, Verfassung und Verfassungsrecht, 1928, pp. 18 ff).

     But this viewpoint cannot be suited to a general theory of the State: 'For in the multiplicity of succeeding processes of integration', says HELLER, 'exactly that which alone can be the object of political theory must be eradicated and vanish, viz. the unity of the State which maintains itself in all changes" ['Denn in der Vielheit einander ablösender Integrationsprozesse muss gerade das ausgelöst werden und verschwinden, was allein Gegenstand der Staatslehre sein kann: die in allem Wechsel sich behauptende Einheit des Staates'.] (HELLER, Staatslehre, Leiden, 1934, p. 49).

     On a higher theoretical level HELLER even wants to do justice in a certain sense to the naïve conception of the "political status" as a relatively constant and real social unit. On closer examination, however, he appears to give up the historicist view of reality only seemingly. His structural theoretical view of the State is meant to overcome the functionalistic historicist theory, but it is not oriented to an invariable, supra-modal structural principle. HELLER only tries to conceive the "historical reality of the State" in all its incessant changes and dynamics according to a viewpoint other than that of the historian. In his opinion the "historical forms of human activity", among which he explicitly mentions the State, the Church and industrial life, cannot be understood, let alone explained, with the logical means of historical science, i.e. with the category of "temporal succession". They can only be understood from the simultaneity of coordinated human activity guaranteed by its social structure, so to say from the cross-section of the stream of history [Op. cit. p. 50: 'Nur aus dem gleichzeitigen Miteinander der gesellschaftlichen Wirkungsstruktur, sozusagen aus dem Querschnitt des Geschichtsstromes sind sie zu begreifen']

     This vertical section through the horizontal functional stream of development of history does not display a chaos of separate facts and occurrences, but an ordered coherence of actions with a certain measure of stability and durability, in which the separate structural forms function in mutual interdependence:
     'Only because we distinguish different functions and structures within the totality of historical reality, do we become aware of the ordered picture of the stream. In this way alone are we capable of making a meaningful selection from the infinite multiplicity of (historical) facts' (Op. cit. p. 50).
     This means a complete acceptance of the historicistic view of reality which conceives all the normative aspects of the State under a historic basic denominator. The concept of function and that of structure, too, are historicized. HELLER does not want his structural concept to be conceived as a concept of the essential nature of the State as such, but only of the modern West-European State as it has developed since the Renaissance (Op. cit. pp. 3 ff.).

     This historicistic attitude is also very clear from the following quotation from HELLER's Staatslehre, which we insert here on account of its importance for our insight into his dialectical structural concept of the State:
     'This only enables us to point out within historical reality the starting-point for the theory of the State as a structural science. Not for a moment do we forget the genetic historical character of the State; neither, however, do we forget the political form of this process. We do not forget that the very theory of the State has to bring about that which historical science is unable to produce with its historical means: to recognize the State as an historical structure, as a function within the totality of the concrete socio-historical constellation.    Under the aspect of historical science, speaking with HEGEL, becoming manifests itself as the truth of being. But in no way does being appear as the truth of becoming under the aspect of the structural theory of the body politic. With such a judgment we would be sanctioning that which political theory and juridical science have always done and especially again in our generation, viz. the absolutization of the momentary State.  'All political categories, however, are historically changeable, even the functions and certainly the structure of the present State. They in no way transcend history. All history is of unique occurrence in the irreversible direction of the stream. The structure of a body politic which is real within a particular basic structure of society, is therefore to be considered fundamentally impossible within another historical total situation' (All italics Dooyeweerd's)[Op. cit. p. 5011: Damit haben wir erst die Möglichkeit innerhalb der geschichtlichen Wirklichkeit den Ansatzpunkt der Staatslehre als Strukturwissenschaft aufzuweisen. Sie vergisst zwar keinen Augenblick den Werdecharakter des Staates, sie vergisst aber ebensowenig die staatliche Geformtheit dieses politischen Werdens; sie vergisst nicht, das gerade sie das zu leisten hat, was die Geschichtwissenschaft mit ihren Mitteln nicht zu leisten im Stande ist: den Staat als geschichtliche Struktur und zwar als Funktion innerhalb der Totalität des konkreten geschichtlich-gesellschaftlichen Gefüges zu erkennen. Unter dem Aspekt der Geschichts-wissenschaft erscheint, um mit HEGEL zu reden, das Werden als die Wahrheit des Seins. Unter dem Aspekt der struktur-theoretischen Staatslehre aber erscheint das Sein keineswegs etwa als die Wahrheit des Werdens. Mit einem solchen Urteil würden wir das sanktionieren, was die Staatslehre und Rechtswissenschaft von jeher und ganz besonders wieder in der letzten Generation getan hat: die Verabsolutierung des augenblicklichen Staates. Alle politischen Kategorien sind aber historisch wandelbar, selbst die Funktionen und erst recht die Struktur des gegenwärtigen Staates sind nichts weniger als geschichtstranszendent. Alle Geschichte ist ein einmaliges Geschehen in unumkehrbarer Stromrichtung und eine Staatsstruktur, die innerhalb einer bestimmten gesellschaftlichen Grundstruktur wirklich ist, muss eben deshalb prinzipiell als unmöglich angenommen werden innerhalb einer andern geschichtlichen Gesamtsituation".]
     This quotation makes it clear that HELLER considers the internal structural principle of the State to be a "merely empirical" historical phenomenon. He did see that the historian must base his description of the history of a body politic on a structural concept of the latter. He also saw that only by means of a particular structure the multiplicity of human actions in particular situations are ordered into the peculiar unity of the totality of action of a State. But he only conceives of this totality of actions in a positivistic sense as an "empirical form" or "pattern" of merely comparative stability, which is uninterruptedly carried along in the stream of history. He did not see that the positivized and realized structure of the State is only possible as a formation according to a supra-positive structural principle. Compare the following statement he makes:
     'Insofar as this structure has a certain duration, political theory has been given its "Gegenstand"; insofar as this structure or configuration of the State is uninterruptedly carried along in the stream of history and permanently, though hardly perceptibly, included in a process of change, this configuration cannot be thought as closed, but only as open. History flows through it. Therefore it is absolutely necessary for political theory to know the process of becoming in what has come about, the developmental tendencies of the structure of the State'. [Op. cit. p. 51: 'Indem diese Struktur eine Dauer hat, ist der Staatslehre allererst ihr Gegenstand gegeben; sofern aber auch diese Staatsstruktur oder Gestalt des Staates ununterbrochen im Fluss der Geschichte steht und in dauernder, wenn auch oft kaum merklicher Wandlung begriffen ist, kann diese Gestalt nicht geschlossen gedacht werden, sondern nur offen; die Geschichte geht durch sie hindurch. Deshalb ist es unumgänglich, dass die Staatslehre das Werdende im Gewordenen, die Entwicklungstendenzen der Staatsstruktur erkennt'.]
     In perfect agreement with this historicistic structural concept is the moderately historicist normative idea of the State, without which in HELLER's opinion a genuine theory of the body politic cannot be set forth.

     The following quotation shows the moderately historicistic character of this idea. A radically historicist view leaves no room for normative ideas: 
     'Theory no more than practice should deduce its leading ideas from the pure mind, both should derive them from the psychological-pragmatic motivations of living men. It is of little importance in this connection whether one believes one can "calculate" the future tendencies of politics from the dialectical tensions of the present — as Marxists do — or whether one holds up a future ideal to the present, as an imperative demand which is more or less in agreement with particular tendencies. For in either case the dialectician's view of the future is an evaluating orientation (transcending reality and consequently the present) in the sense intended by MANNHEIM; hence a Utopia (Cf. KARL MANNHEIM, Ideologie und Utopie, 1929, p. 169), which he cannot give up... Only by assuming that particular developmental tendencies are valid, does he find a leading idea enabling him to orient himself, to make a selection, and to give an interpretation...These political decisions do certainly not imply that the formative will of the political present is morally right, aesthetically beautiful, or valuable from the viewpoint of some general system of values. What they do imply is, that they consider these tendencies to be "the next stage in the history of the world"' ['Die Theorie darf ihre leitenden Ideen ebensowenig wie die Praxis aus dem reinen Geist deduzieren; beide müssen sie den psychologisch-pragmatischen Motivationen lebendiger Menschen entnehmen. Ob man dabei des Glaubens ist die Zukunftstendenzen der Politik liessen sich — wie die Marxisten meinen — aus den dialektischen Spannungen der Gegenwart "berechnen", oder ob man der Gegenwart in mehr oder weniger starker Uebereinstimmung mit bestimmten Tendenzen ein forderndes Zukunftsideal entgegenhält, macht in diesem Zusammenhang wenig aus, denn in jedem Fall ist auch die Zukunftsschau des theoretischen Dialektikers eine wertende, wirklichkeits-, also gegenwarts-transzendente Orientierung, im Sinne Mannheims also eine "Utopie", auf die er nicht verzichten kan... Nur rdadurch, dass er bestimmte Entwicklungstendenzen als gültig setzt, findet er eine Leitidee, die ihm Orientierung, Auswahl und Interpretation ermöglicht... Dass das gestaltende Wollen der politischen Gegenwart moralisch gut, aesthetisch schön oder von einem sonstigen allgemeinen Werstsystem her wertvol erscheine, besagen diese politische Entscheidungen gewiss nicht; wohl aber, dass sie in diesen Tendenzen die nächtste Stufe der Weltgeschichte sehen."](Op. cit. p. 56/7)
     In my book De Crisis in de Humanistische Staatsleer (The Crisis in Humanist Political Theory), p. 83 ff., I showed that even the "moral-juridical principles", which according to HELLER alone can justify the State (Op. cit. p. 216 ff), are not considered by him to be "supra-historical". He is strongly influenced by the modern irrationalistic philosophy of life. In his opinion the "Entscheidung des Augenblicks" (the decision of the moment) is superior to any principle, and he therefore rejects the idea of a supra-historical "ordre naturel" (2). 
(2) Die Souveränität, p. 176/7; these pages might just as well have been written by EMIL BRUNNER.
(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Company 1969. Vol 3, pp 386-392)

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(3) Dooyeweerd: Structural Principle of the State

by Herman Dooyeweerd
The distinction between the State and the other organized communities according to the scholastic method of the search for a genus proximum and differentia specifica (closest genus and specific difference).
     That HELLER's dialectical structural concept of the State-institution is not really oriented to the internal structural principle of the latter, is at once evident when the distinction of the body politic from other human communities is at issue. This problem is crucial in every theory of societal relationships that starts with eliminating the structural principles given in the divine world-order. For lack of an internal structural criterion HELLER again has recourse to the external method of classification found in ARISTOTLE's logic, viz. the method of determining the genus proximum [closest grouping] and the differentia specifica [specific difference]. In our general theory of the modal law-spheres this method has been found to be insufficient, even to give account of the modal structures of reality (1).
(1) HELLER indeed applies this method also to delimit his concept of law. Cf. op. cit. p. 183. 
     'Genus proximum of the State', HELLER writes, 'is consequently the organization, the organized pattern of behaviour planned for the unity of decision and action. Its specific difference from all other organizations is the property of its sovereign command over a territory. This sovereignty and this relation to a territory, inherent in the State's power, give all the elements of its organization their specific character' (2).
(2) [Op. cit. p. 237: ['Genus proximum des Staates ist somit die Organisation, das zur Einheit der Entscheidung und Wirkung planmässig organisierte Handlungsgefüge. Differentia specifica allen andern Organisationen gegenüber ist seine Eigenschaft der souveränen Gebietsherrschaft. Durch die Souveränität und Gebietsbezogenheit der Staatsgewalt empfangen alle Elemente der Staatsorganisation ihren spezifischen Charakter'.] 

     In his book Die Souveränität, p. 81, the "genus proximum" and "differentia specifica" were slightly differently formulated: 'The State, according to a statement made by F. J. STAHL, the "realized legal order", is the unified cooperation of definite human actions, and in this respect similar to all other human organized communities. But fundamentally dissimilar to all of them is that the actions realized in the State are the guarantee of the total cooperation in this domain.'['Der Staat, nach einem Worte F. J. STAHL'S die "realisierte Rechtsordnung", ist das einheitliche Zusammenwirken von bestimmten menschlichen Akten, darin alien anderen menschlichen Verbänden gleich, von ihnen aber dadurch grundsätzlich geschieden, dass die ihn realisierenden Akten die Garantie des ge sammten Zusammenwirkens auf diesem Gebiete darstellen'.] 

     The purport of this formulation is the same, which, moreover, appears from the identification of "universality" and "sovereignty", op. cit. p. 110: 'State is the universal and, therefore, the necessarily unique and sovereign unity of decision in a certain territory. ['Staat heisst die aufeinem bestimmten Gebiet universale, deshalb notwendig einzigartige and souveräne Entscheidungseinheit'.]
This was the "specific characteristic" by means of which already GIERKE tried to distinguish the body politic from other societal relationships (3)
(3) Cf. GIERKE, Die Grundbegriffe des Staatsrechts (1915) pp. 99 ff. and my Crisis in de Hum. Staatsleer, pp. 119 ff. on this point.
     Its vagueness is at once evident when we recall that the concepts "organization" and "sovereign territorial power" must exactly receive their internal delimitation of meaning from the eliminated structural principle of the State. Apart from this principle these notions remain perfectly multivocal "analogical concepts", which cannot enrich our insight; let alone that the concept of sovereignty is heavily burdened by a State absolutist tradition.

The problem of the relation between State and law in HELLER's dialectical structural theory.
     The fundamental insufficiency of HELLER's structural concept is also evident in his attempt to conceive the relation between State and "law" dialectically.

     All individuality structures in the juridical relations are levelled by purposely ("zweckmässigerweise") reserving the term "law" only for the order of such norms which have been formed and sanctioned by special organs of the State-organization (Op. cit. p. 186/7.) This makes it impossible for him to grasp the individuality structure of the internal constitutional law of the body politic. For modern times HELLER does not recognize any other positive law except State-law. Explicitly he calls the State "the formal source of validity of all legal rules" (p. 187). As regards modern Western society he denies the original competence of organized communities of a non-political nature to make their internal legal order, independent of the agreement of the State. He considers the relation between State and law only as an historical problem (4), quite in accordance with the historicistic viewpoint. 
(4) Op. cit. p. 186: 'The relation of the State to law, too, can only be understood historically, and we must in advance suspect any views of this relation which claim a universal validity transcending history.' ['Auch das Verhältnis von Staat und Recht lässt sichnur historisch begreifen und allen Behauptungen über dieses Verhältnis,welche mit dem Anspruch geschichtstranszendenter Allgemeingültigkeitauftreten, muss von vornherein [italics are Dooyeweerd's] mit Misstrauen begegnet werden'.] 

This is a clear and unmistakable formulation of HELLER's historicistic prejudice. 
     Neither the modal meaning-structure of law, nor the transcendental individuality-structure of the State are in the least taken into account. Positive law is supposed to develop "historically" from an undifferentiated "convention" because of the organization of legislative and administrative juridical organs for the formation of the legal order. In the period of developed economic social life with its increasing division of labour he holds the hierarchical State alone competent to organize a positive legal system (5). This view is entirely in accordance with BODIN'S absolutistic theory of sovereignty, which HELLER had already rehabilitated in his book Die Souveränität (6).
(5) Op. cit. p. 186: 'In the age of developed social economy only the hierarchy of the State is able to organize a correspondingly functioning normative order. Up till then certainly every organized community was more or less competent to create law, just as in virtue of club law and the law of the vendetta almost everybody was called upon to enforce the law. If for the purpose of determining the concept of law we do not want to orient ourselves to that which is, but to that which "was once and may be again", then we must at all events declare that not only the State but also the Churches, territorial units, nobility, cities, guilds and vocational classes, in a word all organized communities are able to create and to guarantee law.' ['Im Zeitalter der entwickelten Verkehrswirtschaft hat nur die staatliche Hierarchie die Möglichkeit, eine entsprechend funktionierende Normordnung zu organisieren. Bis dahin war sicherlich jede organisierte Gemeinschaft mehr oder weniger zur Rechtserzeugung befähigt, wie kraft des Faust- und Fehderechts fast jeder zur Rechtsdurchsetzung berufen war. Wollten wir uns zum Zwecke der Bestimmung des Rechtsbegriffs nicht daran orientieren was ist, sondern daran, "was einstens war und was vielleicht wieder einmal sein wird", so müssen wir allerdings erklären, dass nicht nur der Staat, sondern auch die Kirchen, Territorien, Geburtsstände, Städte, Zünfte und Berüfsstände, kurz alle organisierten Verbänden Recht zu erzeugen und zu sichern im Stande sind'.]

(6) Cf. Die Souveränität, p. 57, where we read: 'for the juridical view of the present State the positivity of the legal rules of organized communities integrated into the body politic proves to be derived from the positivity of the legal order of the State. ['dass für die juristischeBetrachtung des heutigen Staates die Positivität der ihm eingeordneten Verbandssatzungen abgeleitet erscheint von der Positivität der staatlichen Rechtsordnung'.]
Thus the problem of the relation between State and law is posited in a levelling way as that of the relation between State and positive law in general ("überhaupt"). Its solution is found by applying the dialectical method in an extremely simple manner, so that the juridical norm ("das rechtliche Sollen") is considered to be indissolubly bound up with the human volition ("das menschliche Wollen") of the legislator. HELLER conceives the will of the State explicitly as a subjective psychical act (p.189), which gives rise to a dialectical, i.e. an intrinsically antinomic concept of law. For here the modal boundaries between the juridical and the psychical aspect are theoretically eradicated (Cf. Vol. II, part I, pp. 37 ff). It is simply impossible to reduce the law-forming will of the legislator to a complex of psychical act-functions.

     The concept of law here is used in the sense of a pseudo-concept of function (7), without in the least taking into account the internal structural diversity within the juridical law-sphere as a modal aspect of reality. 
(7) Pseudo- , because the modal, really functional concept of law cannot be oriented to the State as an individuality structure of human societal life. 
     As HELLER's concept of "structure" of the State does not really approach its individuality structure, it cannot give us an insight into the internal expression of the latter in the different modal aspects of this societal institution. Modern historicism undermines HELLER's entire conception of the body politic, and prevents him from liberating himself from the relativistic view of the latter's structure. For all these reasons the conclusion is inevitable that in principle HELLER's interesting theory has not at all overcome the crisis in modern theory of the State.

The crisis in the practical political life of modern parliamentary democracies and the new irrationalistic and universalistic idea of the totalitarian State.
     The entire crisis in the theory of the State, culminating in a "political theory without a State-idea", was closely connected with the crisis in the practice of western political life and the terrible economical crisis between the two world-wars. It was connected with the symptoms of dissolution that had assumed such alarming proportions in several parliamentary democracies; with the corruption and the subjection of politics to the interests of particular groups and classes. These facts hardly need separate mention. The recent fascist and national socialist reaction, however, which turned against these symptoms of dissolution in politics, and transformed the central and southern European States into authoritarian "Führerstaaten", meant indeed a barbarian "subversion of all values" implied in the Christian and Humanist traditions of Western culture. This reaction found its philosophical background in the modern irrationalistic philosophy of life, which substituted for the ideology of natural law, founded in the Humanistic personality ideal, the vital political mythology and the technical means of mass-psychology. The new idea of the totalitarian or integral State was no longer rooted in the belief in an idealistic metaphysical rational order, but appealed to the vital instincts of the masses. It really aimed at subjecting all the internal spheres of the non-political societal relationships to the "totalitarian State". Such an attempt was not new in the history of the world. But it acquired a really demonic character by its refined methods of mass suggestion, its unscrupulous sacrificing of the individual personality, and its appeal to the spiritually uprooted mass-man.

The dialectical basic problem in the development of the political theories oriented to the immanence-standpoint.
     Since the rise of theoretical reflection on the "problem of the State" in Greek philosophy the development of the seemingly diametrically opposed political theories, oriented to the immanence-standpoint, has always centred around one dialectical basic problem. This problem may have been posited from different religious starting-points and in different historical situations, but in the foreground has always been the question about the relation between "right and might" in the structure of the State institution. And on the immanence-standpoint this problem necessarily assumes the form of a dialectical tension between these two factors, because this standpoint makes the insight into the plastic horizon of the individuality-structures impossible.

     This dialectical tension on the one hand manifests itself in the sharp mutual antagonism between the various theories, in the fundamental contrast between the idea of the law-State and that of the absolutist power-State. On the other hand, if the attempt was made to reconcile the two factors in one and the same theory, the dialectical tension became evident within such a theory itself.

     As early as in ancient Greece the Sophist KALLIKLES, starting from the Greek matter-motive, defended a naturalistic individualistic idea of the political ruler which might be called a prelude to NIETZSCHE's idea of the "Herrenmensch" (super-man). In essence this was the justification of subjecting the weak to a despot, who is bound neither to justice nor to morality. With almost prophetic indignation PLATO opposed to this his idea of the State ruled by justice, in which reigns the idea of τα εαυτού πράττειν ["to do his own things"/ “learn from ourselves”?] in its concentric direction to the divine Idea of the Good. 

     Nevertheless, PLATO has never overcome the totalitarian view of the body politic: no more has ARISTOTLE. This was due to the fact that their idea of political justice was oriented to the Greek form-motive, which implied a religious absolutization of the cultural aspect. For the modal meaning-nucleus of the latter is power. The result was that the idea of political justice oriented to this form-motive lacked any material limitation of the competence of the city-State in its relation to the non-political societal spheres. In this way there remained a dialectical tension between the idea of justice and the totalitarian State idea, which in principle conceives the body politic as a power-State.

     The polar contrast between might and right in the State has also dominated the entire Humanistic political theory from the times of the conflict between the abstract normative law of nature and reason, and the naturalist theory of "Staatsräson" (8),until the most recent antithesis between the individualistic, democratic law-State, and the universalistic authoritarian power-State. 
(8) Compare the ample explanation of the tension between the idea of "Staatsräson" and that of natural law in my In den Strijd om een Christelijke Staatkunde (The Struggle for a Christian Politics), I, XV (in the quarterly Antirevolutionaire Staatkunde,Year I, 127, pp. 142 ff.). 
     This conflict was ruled by the dialectical basic motive of nature and freedom, opposing the mathematical or the cultural science-ideal respectively to the personality-ideal of Humanism.

     As long as the classical Humanistic science-ideal prevailed, the theory of natural law accepted BODIN's notion of sovereignty, which was devised to construe the State as the supreme power- organization ruling human society in its totality. As soon as, on the other hand, the personality-ideal with its Humanist freedom-motive acquired the precedence, the conception of inalienable human rights was opposed to the sovereign power of the State, without the latter being denied. Generally speaking, the adherents of the idea of the power-State tried to save the appearance of the law- State, although the Macchiavellian theory of the raison d'etat was openly explained in different realistic reflections on the "necessities of politics". Even the fascist and national socialist theories did not wish to give up the ideology of the law-State but tried to adapt it to their totalitarian conception of the power-State. They introduced a deceitful "idea of the material law-State", which was opposed to the 'demo-liberal ideology of the rule of law'.

     The absolutist idea of the power-State may then be conceived in a naturalistic positivistic and individualistic way, as well as in an idealistic and universalistic sense (HEGEL, and his adherents). And the idea of the law-State also allows of various conceptions.

     Even GIERKE has not overcome this internal dialectical tension between "might and right" in his theory of the body politic, although in other respects he has done great service to the theory of the organized communities. Though being an adherent of the historical school that originated from German romantic idealism, he later on also fully appreciated what the theories of natural and rational law had really done for the development of the legal aspect of Western societal life. He was on principle an opponent of the formalistic positivism in constitutional legal theory that came to the fore in the German school of LABAND and GERBER. And he was unwilling to sacrifice the idea of the law-State, in its material sense, to the "historical reality" of the State as a "sovereign territorial organization of power". Nevertheless, he shut off the reality of body politic in its historical function of "organized power". After having delimited these two from each other antithetically, he had then only an external dialectical connection left between the reality of the State and the legal order. Thus, like RUDOLPH SMEND of late, he viewed the life of the body politic and that of law as "two independent specifically different aspects of communal life" ["zwei selbständige und spezifisch verschiedene Seiten des Gemeinlebens".]

He circumscribed this contrast as follows: "The former manifests itself in the sovereign power to realize the desired common purposes, and culminates in political action. The latter reveals itself in the marking out of spheres of action for the volitions bound by it, and culminates in legal knowledge (knowledge of what is in accordance with the requirements of law)' [Grundbegriffe des Staatsrechts (1915) p. 105: 'Jenes manifestiert sichin der machtvollen Durchführung gewollter Gemeinzwecke und kulminiert in der politischen That, dieses offenbart sich in der Absteckung von Handlungssphären für die von ihm gebundenen Willen und gipfelt imrechtlichen Erkennen ("für Recht erkennen")'.]

     In the same way SMEND (Verfassung und Verfassungsrecht, 1928, p. 98), characterizes State and law as two "indissolubly cohering, but nevertheless self-contained provinces of spiritual life, serving to realize two different particular values" ['zwar untrennbar verbundenen, aber doch je in sich geschlossenen, der Verwirklichung je einer besonderen Wertidee dienende Provinzen des geistigen Lebens'].

     True, he says that State and law are interdependent, although they are entirely different "aspects of community life". They can find their real fulness of life only if they mutually support one another. But State and law are contrasted here as equivalent and comparable "aspects" of human cultural society. This is due to the view of the Historical School that the State is nothing but the historical form of political organization of a national community. Nevertheless this historical-political "aspect" is identified with the full reality of the organized community which is called a State! This shows that even such a profound thinker as OTTO GIERKE lacked the insight into the individuality structures of human society, and that into the relation of these structures to the modal aspects of reality. And this in spite of the fact that it was especially he who had laid full emphasis on the significance of the structures of the societal organizations. 
(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Company 1969. Vol 3, pp 393-400)

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