mercredi 18 novembre 2015

(7) Dooyeweerd: Structural Principle of the State

by Herman Dooyeweerd
The invariable character of the foundational function in the structure of the State.
     The original character of the individuality-type implied in the foundational function of the State has thus been established. We will now engage in a more detailed analysis of the monopolistic organization of the power of the sword over a territorial cultural area, as the typical foundational function in the structure of the body politic. In its transcendental character this foundational function cannot be eliminated from the structural principle which makes all variable real life of the State only possible and is itself invariable, constant, in the cosmic order of time. No "idealistic" theory has been able to reason away this structural foundation of every real State. The "metaphysical essence" of the body politic could be sought in the "idea of justice", or in the idea of a perfect community, but the basic function of the historical power of the body politic could not be ignored consistently.

     This structural foundation is essential in every positive historical form in which the State has manifested itself in the course of time: in the Greek polis and in the Roman world-empire, as well as in the Carolingian State and the Italian city-States of Renaissance times; in the absolute French monarchy that developed under the "ancien régime" after the annihilation of the political power of the "estates", as well as in the constitutional State after the French Revolution; in the modern parliamentary democracies, as well as in the recent form of the totalitarian dictatorial States. It is quite true that the foundational military organization of power may have been weakened and endangered by military organizations of certain groups or parties within the State's territory. This may even justify the question whether in such a condition we had not better speak of revolutionary chaos instead of a real body politic. 

     It is also possible that a young State has not yet completely succeeded in monopolizing the organized power of the sword within its territory, without giving up its claim to this monopoly. But, as we have repeatedly emphasized, our discussion is concerned with a normative structural function implying a task, a vocation for the internal organization of the State's power. This vocation can be fulfilled in a better or a worse way. It may be that in a certain part of its territory the body politic has actually monopolized the organized military power, and that outside of this area the State is only "a name". But all these really variable situations do not detract from the universal validity of the normative structural principle of the State, which implies the territorial monopolistic organization of military power as its typical foundational function. If in a well-ordered body politic a revolution breaks out, this state of affairs is put to the test; and it is proved that the structural relation mentioned cannot at all be altered by human arbitrariness. Such a revolution may be prepared by theoretical and practical political propaganda, by exerting a systematic influence on "national conviction". But as soon as the revolutionary leaders want to take the government in their own hands, they must start with mastering the organized military apparatus either with sanguinary or with bloodless means.

     In his famous article in the Enciclopedia Italiana on the Dottrina fascista MUSSOLINI seemed to represent the fascist idea of State-power as an idea of moral authority, in which the territorial military organization would not at all have a typical foundational position (1). But this Statement was concerned with international relations of power. Contrary to it there are many others in which the peculiar position of organized military power in the structure of the State is fully recognized, and even absolutized (2).
(1) Dottrina II, 13: 'According to fascist theory, power is not a territorial, military or mercantile concept, but a moral and spiritual idea. It is quite well possible to imagine the working of a power exercized by one nation over another without the necessity of conquering even a quarter of a square mile of foreign territory' (quoted by A. MENZEL, Der Staatsgedankedes Faschismus, 1935, p. 61). Indeed, Such "influence of power" can be imagined. Recall, e.g., the influence of cultural power that vanquished Hellas had on Rome! It may be doubted if MUSSOLINI would have been satisfied with such a typically non-political power for the "Italian nation". In addition it can be imagined that a mighty State controls its weak neighbours simply by the dread of its military power. But this possibility does not fit to the intention of MUSSOLINI's statement.

(2) Cf. the Duce's essay: My Thought on Militarism (1934, quoted byMENZEL, op. cit. p. 62): 'The doom of a nation lacking a military spirit is sealed. For in the last instance it is war that is decisive in the relations between States. In my definition war is the supreme court of justice of the nations'. Cf. also MENZEL, p. 70.
     The fascist revolution culminated in the historical march on Rome. This was an illustration of our exposition of the foundational place which the monopolistic organization of military power over a territory occupies in the structure of the State. A truly political revolution which pulls down the existent government of a body politic is radically different from a revolution which is typically founded in other historical structures of power and typically guided and directed by another leading function than that of the body politic. There are revolutions in science, in art, in the Church, etc., which as such do not have any political character.

The structural subject-object relation in the monopolistic organization of military power over a territorial cultural area.
     According to its individuality structure this monopolistic organization of the power of the sword is not merely a technical apparatus. The foundational structural function of the State displays that typical subject-object relation which we already discovered when discussing the thing-structure of reality. It is true, the structural foundation of the State comprises an objective apparatus of military arms, buildings, aircrafts, airports, etc. But this military apparatus, as an historical object, is only meaningful in connection with an organized army or police force. Only subjective military bearers of power can actualize this objective apparatus: without them it remains "dead material". As soon as we consider the organized military power of the State according to this subjective point of view, it is immediately evident how insufficient is a merely functionalistic technical conception. And also, how little this organized power can be shut up in the historical law-sphere [see also]. Military rules of discipline, rigid military forms of organization appear to be powerless in an army or police-force in which a revolutionary mentality has undermined the sense that the authority of the present government is legitimate (there are good observations on this point in E. BRUNNER, Das Gebot und die Ordnungen,1932, pp. 433 ff).

     It is evident here that the military organization of State power displays an openedanticipatory structure that cannot be explained in terms of merely armed control. All the same, this organization appeared to be an original historical type of individuality. The structural subject-object relation in the foundational function of the State is indeed very complicated. It also comprises the relation between the organized military power and the territorial cultural area of the body politic. From a modal historical standpoint this cultural area is to be viewed only as an object of the formative power of the State. From a structural viewpoint this historical aspect of the State-territory can never be conceived apart from the leading juridical function of this societal institution. But this necessary structural relation between the foundational and the leading function is no reason to ignore the peculiar modal meaning of the foundational function. Military organization of power in its historical modality is not of a juridical character. For this reason the area of the State's military power, as the object of the subjective formation of military control, cannot be grasped in a modal juridical sense.

The typical foundational function of the State-institution marks the latter as an institution because of sin. The attempt to accommodate this Biblical conception to the Aristotelian philosophy of the State.
     In Holy Scripture, both in the Old and the New Testament, the organized power of the sword, which we have found to be the typical structural foundation of the State, is emphatically related to man's fall (Cf. Rom 13:1-5; 1 Peter 2:13; Rev 13:10). Theologians have defended the view that in the Divine Covenant with Noah (Genesis 9:6) the magistrate's power of the sword was called into existence. I will express no opinion on this point.

     At an undifferentiated stage of culture there did not yet appear to be any question of a real body politic. The power of the sword is still enclosed in undifferentiated forms of interweaving. But from the Biblical point of view it cannot be seriously doubted that the power of the sword inherent in the office of the government, in its structural coherence with the leading function of the State-institution, has been incorporated into the temporal world-order by God because of sin. We have already observed that it would be fundamentally wrong to confuse the fact of this "because of sin", referring to the institutional office of the military power, with the sinful subjective way in which the power of the sword is handled in a particular State.

     We must first of all conceive of this power of the sword in its institutional structure. Then only can we judge of the actual handling of it, so that our judgment remains free from the naturalistic, or idealistic, rationalistic or irrationalistic conceptions set forth in immanence-philosophy, as if the State were a "demonical" or a "divine formation of power".

     Christian synthesis-philosophy, especially since THOMAS AQUINAS, has made the attempt to accommodate the Biblical view of the sword of the magistrate to the Aristotelian idea of the State, as a perfect natural community (Cf. Vol. III, p. 219). The State, as such, was considered to be founded in the (metaphysical essential) nature of man; only the power of the sword was supposed to be given to the government because of sin (3). This coercive power was considered to belong to relative natural law, i.e. natural law as it is modified by sin, in accordance with the Christian-Stoical terminology. But this attempt at accommodation entailed the metaphysical levelling of the societal individuality-structures criticized in an earlier context. 
(3) On this conception of the body politic SCHILLING (Naturrecht nach der Lehre der alten Kirche, 1914, bases his interpretation of the Stoic and patristic theories of the State and of absolute natural law. 
The levelling constructive schema of the whole and its parts confronted with the fourfold use of a fruitful idea of totality.
     Once the typical foundational function of the State has been theoretically pushed into the background, the entire individuality structure of this societal institution will be eliminated. Then there seems to be no alternative for an "organic theory" but to construe the relationship between the body politic and the other societal structures according to the metaphysical schema of the whole and its parts. The remarkable and dangerous feature of an idea of totality, oriented to a constructive metaphysical principle of a perfect community like that found in ARISTOTLE, is the indeterminateness of its meaning (Vol. III, pp. 201 ff). For it has not been oriented to the individuality-structures of human societal life.

     Up to now we have found three different kinds of correct and fruitful use of the Idea of totality (the reader should remember that the Idea of totality is to be sharply distinguished from the modal concept of totality. The latter is merely a provisional resting-point for thought and only embraces the restrictive structure of a meaning-modus; it is transcendentally dependent on the Idea of totality): 

1. in the Prolegomena [of A New Critique of Theoretical Thought], as the transcendental Idea of meaning-totality
2. in the general theory of the modal spheres, as the Idea of the totality of structural moments in a meaning-modus. 
3. in the theory of the individuality-structures of reality, as the idea of the whole of a thing or occurrence, or that of the whole of a particular relationship of human social life.

     In this threefold use the Idea always remained oriented to a divine world-order which did not originate in "reason", but limited and determined reason itself. In the constructive levelling abuse of this Idea, it loses its essential structural character and the delimitation of its meaning.

     Later on we shall discover a fourth use of the totality-Ideaviz. as the Idea of the integration of human societal relations. Then we can do justice to the moment of truth in the totality-Idea of the universalistic theories. At the same time, however, we shall find that the Idea of totality in this fourth application remains absolutely bound to that in the first, second and third uses. Apart from these three it must lead to a fundamentally false construction of the mutual relations between the societal structures.

(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol 3, pp 419-425)

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