Freedom of Speech in the West: A Comparative Study of Public Law in France, the United States, and Germany

By Frede Castberg | Go to book overview

Chapter 5.
IDEOLOGICAL CONFLICTS

I. The ideology of natural law and democracy

Profesor C. A. Colliard opens the first part of his work on public liberties with the following words: "The public liberties have often been regarded as natural rights of man, that is to say rights associated by nature in some way or another with the human being. A conception of this kind indicates that the legislator would be unable to suppress or minimize these rights of man, in his positive set of rules, without failing in his task. However wide- spread this conception is or may have been, however venerable this tradition may be, a tradition which is that of the American Revolution and of the French Revolution, and which inspired especially the famous declarations of rights, it cannot be considered juridically exact. It involves the common weakness of all theories of so-called natural law"1

This is plain speaking; but we doubt very much whether this standpoint is typical of French theoreticians in the sphere of public law or of French politicians today.

The French Constitution of 1946 solemnly reaffirms in its Preamble the rights and the liberties of man and of the citizen as consecrated by the Declaration of Rights of 1789. The Constitution of 1958 solemnly proclaims the French people's attachment to the rights of man. And there is no doubt that the Declaration of 1789

____________________
1
Précis de droit public. Les libertés publiques ( 1950), p. 17.

-107-

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