7 War and the Common Life

The frontispiece to the original edition of Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan bears a striking illustration. The sovereign is represented as a giant human figure, towering over the landscape, whose body is itself composed of a multitude of individual persons. The implication is that the commonwealth (what today we would call the sovereign state) may usefully be regarded as an individual person writ large. 1 This is a particularly graphic example of an extremely old and pervasive idea in political thought. Michael Walzer calls this idea 'the domestic analogy' and writes about its absolute centrality to the Just War Theory. 2 The basic thesis of the domestic analogy is that the rights and duties of states can be understood on the model of the rights and duties of individual persons.

It is difficult to overstate the importance of this idea in the history of international ethics, international law, and political philosophy. The analogy has been invoked by thinkers as diverse in time and theoretical commitments as Augustine, Grotius, Hobbes, Mill, and Rawls. In Chapter 5 we were able to see how thoroughly modern international law is imbued with the analogy with private law.

In the last chapter I identified two fundamental strategies for providing an account of national-defense. The first was to attempt to explain national-defense reductively at the level of personal rights. This was the approach explored in the last chapter. The second is what we might call the 'analogical strategy'. This approach takes seriously the notion of national-defense as a right held by states and attempts to give moral content to that right as one analogous to the personal right of self-defense. It is this idea that I will examine in the current chapter. Once again I understand the challenge

-141-

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War and Self-Defense
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • War and Self-Defense iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface x
  • Contents xv
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I Self-Defense 15
  • 1: Rights 17
  • 2: A Model of Defensive Rights 35
  • 3: Consequences and Forced Choice 49
  • 4: Grounding Self-Defense in Rights 70
  • Part II National-Defense 101
  • 5: International Law 103
  • 6: War and Defense of Persons 122
  • 7: War and the Common Life 141
  • 8: War, Responsibility, and Law Enforcement 163
  • 9: Conclusion: Morality and Realism 189
  • Bibliography 200
  • Index 209
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