The Law in Political Integration: The Evolution and Integrative Implications of Regional Legal Processes in the European Community

By Stuart A. Scheingold | Go to book overview

FOREWORD

We are usually told that government by laws is preferable to government by men. Law is abstract and impersonal; when it is capricious it dispenses its caprice without personal animus. Politics — government by men — is down-to-earth and highly personal; political decisions imply the ready use of arbitrary power. In short, law is good and government (politics) much less so.

This preference for law has found its way into studies of regional integration. We see it also in schemes for banishing power politics from international relations. Law is thought to permit the peaceful definition of points in dispute and the orderly settlement of the issue by means of third-party intercession, constitutionally anchored in a dignified tribunal. Politics, on the other hand, is concerned merely with the assertion of self-interest by the parties to a dispute; at best it succeeds in settling their dispute peacefully after bluff, threat, and saber-rattling, but without recourse to principles of justice and order that reach beyond their self-interest. Advocates of "world peace through world law" thus see in a rejuvenated World Court and in the repeal of the Connally Reservation the key to the kingdom of peace.Similarly, many friends of regional unification in Europe see in the role of the European Court and the system of law which accompanies the Treaties of Paris and Rome the beginning of a new type of regional polity, a more ethical and humane system.

Stuart A. Scheingold makes very clear in this volume why both

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