Mark S. Weiner

Posts Tagged ‘The State’

Water, Water, Everywhere, and Every Drop to Drink

In Aesthetics, Aesthetics, narrative, form, Austria, Books and libraries, Constitutional law, Economic regulation, Environment, Europe, Law and film, Law and music, Legal Philosophy, Video on February 27, 2016 at 11:41 am

I’m pleased to share the latest video from my developing film about law and landscape in Austria. This segment is called “Florian & Friends Talk about Purity”:

Small Blank Space

The video is about water, water law, Austrian identity, legal philosophy, concepts of the state, ideas of the public, approaches to time and tradition, metaphor, and some great old books. Plus, there’s a cameo appearance by a sweet Alpine cow.

Islamic Law and the State

In Islam, State development on March 14, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Today I had the chance to read a fascinating essay titled “The Political Failure of Islamic Law,” by Bernard Haykel, a professor at Princeton (who admits from the start that his title is “deliberately provocative and somewhat misleading”). The essay is based on a lecture he gave at Yale Law School, and it’s the most recent edition in the law school’s Occasional Papers series.

Haykel argues that the modern Sunni Reform movement and its Islamist followers have “failed to achieve the political vision of a powerful and confident Islamic order” because of their statist vision.

The Reformer’s program, writes Haykel, “represents a double rupture from the past: first, the Reformers deliberately chose to sweep away the teachings of the established schools of law; second, they opted for the state rather than society as the means by which to impose their program.”

Notably, among the consequences of the writings of Reformist scholar Muhammad Rashid Rida (1865-1935) were a rejection of “the epistemology of traditional legal rulings, most of which had been built by a process of analogical reasoning”—much, one might say, like the rules of the English common law—and the replacement of premodern legal principles with “concepts of public welfare (maslaha) and the ‘purposes of law’ (maqasid al-sharia‘a).”

“Very few are the voices of opposition to this state-centered vision,” concludes Haykel. “One of them is the Lebanese intellectual and scholar Ridwan al-Sayyid. Al-Sayyid … argues that for centuries Islamic beliefs and practices were determined by the community (jamaa) and not by the state. The meaning of Islam was explicated by the societies in which the jurists lived and developed their views. And because it was a societal and collective enterprise, it was open to a multiplicity of views and to a degree of tolerance for difference. For al-Sayyid, the great danger today lies in giving the state, with narrow-minded Islamists at its helm, the exclusive right to determine the content and contours of Islamic law.”

Do Haykel’s arguments point to another untapped connection between the Islamic and Anglo-American legal and political traditions?

Rule of the Clan Unbound

In Conversations, Rule of the Clan on March 10, 2014 at 6:04 pm

The Rule of the Clan

There’s a symposium this month about The Rule of the Clan on Cato Unbound, the online journal of the Cato Institute. My contribution is now online. In coming days there will responses by Arnold Kling, on March 12; Daniel McCarthy, on March 14; and John Fabian Witt, on March 17. I hope readers will join in the conversation, which promises to be lively and controversial.

In other news, I’ll be speaking tomorrow at Yale Law School beginning at six o’clock, and the paperback of The Rule of the Clan is now available from the good folks at Picador.