mercredi 18 novembre 2015

(15) Dooyeweerd: Structural Principle of the State

by Herman Dooyeweerd

The expression of the State's structural principle in the internal aspect of social interaction
     In the social law-sphere of human interaction, which is the immediate basis of the economic aspect, the internal structure of the State expresses itself in the whole system of typical forms of interaction between government and subjects, in public ceremonies, in the special honours paid to national symbols, in the celebration of national festivals and days of commemoration, etc. The structural coherence between the internal function of social interaction and the leading public juridical function, as well as with the typical function of power of the State, is manifest in the typical figure of national honour. An offence to the national honour is an offence to the individual State as a whole. It affects government, country and nation together as an integral unity, and can in no way be understood individualistically.

     The meaning of such an offence cannot possibly be restricted to the aspect of social interaction, but, as an infringement of the norms of this interaction, it can only be understood from the point of view of the typical political structural principle as a whole. In this principle the public juridical community plays the leading part. In the internal life of the State the government must not allow such an offence to be committed with impunity. The entire structure of the individual body politic is concerned in such an offence, which in the last instance affects the honour of God as the Sovereign.

     But the national honour displays its most important implications in international relations. From antiquity down to the present day this honour has been recognized as a valuable matter in which the requirements of courtesy are interwoven with those of international law and with the prestige of the nation's power.

     A violation of the typical norms of courtesy committed at a foreign court with respect to the State's ambassadors was already considered as one of the four casus belli in ancient Rome (TITUS LIVIUS, Rerum Rom. ab arbe condita, libri IV, 19). The affront offered to Israel's ambassadors, sent by David to condole with the Ammonite king HANUN on the death of HANUN's father NAHAS, was answered by David with a declaration of war and the annihilation of the united armies of the Ammonites and their allies, the Syrians (2 Sam 10). In modern times international courtesy in the refined manners of diplomacy is generally considered as an essential element in the international relations between the States. The slightest violation of these rules of courtesy are implicitly recognized as an embarrassing incident of international juridical and moral significance (1).
(1) Cf. V. N. DNIMITSCH, La courtoisie internationale et le droit des gens (1930), on the "incidents Tisza" (26 May 1888) and "Philip Snowden" (10 Aug. 1929), when the disregard of international courtesy threatened to disturb international relations seriously.
     From what we have said it appears once again that any effort to delimit the juridical and moral norms from each other by means of external criteria is doomed to failure. In the individuality-structure of human society the modal norms form an unbreakable coherence and are indissolubly interwoven. We cannot eliminate their internal irreducible modality, if we wish to have a universally valid criterion to distinguish the normative law-spheres.

     Remember the internal disciplinary rules in the army with respect to uniforms, to saluting, etc. The individuality-structure of these internal political societal norms makes it impossible to understand their modal aspect of social interaction apart from the internal public juridical disciplinary aspect qualifying these norms. But in a modal sense these aspects retain their sphere-sovereignty also in their individuality-structure. If we have not acquired an insight into their modal sovereignty within their own sphere, we cannot gain an insight into their individuality-structure.

     From this it appears that in its internal aspect of social interaction the State is also a typical integrating whole uniting a plurality into a unity. But in this structural function the State's integrating function remains as much typically limited by the structural principle as in its other structural aspects. This means that internal norms of human interaction in other communal relationships, or those of private inter-individual relations, can never become component elements of the internal social norms concerning the body politic.

     The State cannot abolish class-distinctions in the social relations of interaction in modern society. These distinctions can only be integrated in the structure of political interaction in a better or a worse way. The State cannot give a political structure to private social relations of interaction. A compulsory political uniform manner of saluting, imposed on non-political social interaction, cannot really be conducive to the unity of the nation. It can only rouse the aversion of free-minded people and has a ridiculous effect in the social interaction with foreigners. The universalistic totalitarian idea of the State shows its mythological character also in the modal aspect of social interaction.

The expression of the structural principle in the internal linguistic aspect of the body politic.
     In the foundational direction the modal aspect of social interaction refers back to the internal linguistic aspect of the structure of the State. The latter expresses itself here in a very elaborate system of objective symbols (standards, the national ensign, the national coulours, badges and insignia, the national arms, fixed formulae introducing official governmental documents, titles, etc.), realized in an objective thing-structure (symbolically-politically qualified), and depending on continual actualization by the government and its subjects. SMEND called these things symbolical summaries of "material integrating factors". The typical structure of the State's authority expresses itself symbolically in the titles and the badges of office of the bearers of authority.

     The State may also have an integrating function with regard to verbal languages ("Volkssprachen"), when more than one language is spoken by the nation. In the war of languages in Belgium the government had to take sides in an integrating manner, because the State also functions in the law-sphere of symbolic signification. But here, too, the governmental task of integration remains bound to the structural principle of the body politic, i.e. it remains bound to the leading of the juridical idea of public justice.

     When the nation has more than one language spoken within its territory, public justice requires the government to strive after peace between these languages. When in its internal policy a government tries to enforce a lingual integration by oppressing one of the competing languages, a particular national group will be tyrannized. Then the government exceeds the limits of its office and is guilty of détournement de pouvoir. Experience has shown that such a high-handed policy has always been powerless when a linguistic group puts up a strong resistance. The history of the Low Countries at the time when Holland and Belgium were united after the fall of Napoleon furnishes a striking example of a government's political failure in linguistic matters.

The expression of the structural principle in the historical function of the State.      
The State's typical structural foundation is found in the historical aspect, in which the structural principle of the body politic expresses itself in the political cultural unity of the nation. In this cultural aspect of the body politic the entire all-sided concentration of the State's power remains typically based on the monopolistic organization of military power over a territorially limited cultural area, in the way explained earlier.The political cultural unity of the nation is indissolubly bound to the leading function of the State and can only in this way perform its individual historical task. Within this cultural aspect of its structure the integrating function of the body politic is directed to the national-political unity of culture. This unity should be realized and rank in priority to any possible group cultures within the national territory. For this purpose national museums are built and properly attended to; monuments are erected on the occasion of important national events; national festivals and anniversaries are kept; national history is made an obligatory educational subject for schools, measures are taken to promote art and science, insofar as the latter have a national pheno-type [variation-type].

     But the task of political integration remains bound to the structural principle of the State also in this case. Only in a political sense can the State r  ealize the historical cultural unity of nation and country under the leading of the juridical idea of public interest, and while respecting the sphere-sovereignty of the non-political cultural circles. The non-political cultural communities cannot be shut up within the boundaries of the State; they have to perform an integrating task of their own of a non-political character.

     The modern totalitarian idea prompted some States to make the historical formation of power in the non-political cultural circles subservient to the State's political striving after power. But we have shown in an earlier context that if science, Church, art, etc. are made into permanent component elements of a State's political concentration of power, the internal life of these cultural circles will be destroyed. The sphere-sovereignty of the non-political individuality structures cannot be tampered with, because it is founded in the divine world-order.

(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol 3, pp 485-489)

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