MORALS AND THE MEANING OF LAWS
Inclusive positivism has now been shown to be a coherent, plausible descriptive-explanatory theory of law which accords political morality a role in determining the existence and content of valid laws. As inclusive positivism suggests, principles of political morality are among the possible, though by no means necessary, bases for determinations of law. There is nothing in the concept of law itself which requires that political morality serve a determinative role. If it does serve some such role, this is only because the community has, through its variable legal practices, made this choice, and that choice could have been and might yet be different.
If all this is so, then a question naturally arises: Should our legal practices assign political morality the roles which inclusive positivism warrants as conceivable? Or should our practices be such as to make the existence and content of laws one thing, their merit or demerit another thing altogether? As noted earlier, Neil MacCormick advocates the latter option. He wishes not only to show that there is considerable merit in (exclusive) legal positivism. He also wishes to demonstrate that there are practical advantages in having laws whose existence and content can always be determined independently of political morality. MacCormick defends both a descriptive-explanatory account of the nature of law and normative theories about how laws should be drafted and interpreted, i.e. normative theories of legislation and adjudication.1 In this final chapter I shall provide reasons for accepting the contrary of MacCormick's normative theory of adjudication. More specifically, I shall attempt to support the view that our legal practice should be such that the very meaning or content of our laws is to some extent____________________