The Depoliticization of Law

Main Article Content

John Hasnas


Advocates of the privatization of law often assume that unless law springs from some act of agreement, some express or implicit social contract by which individuals consent to be bound, it is nothing more than force. In this Article, I argue that this is a false dilemma. Although law is rarely grounded in consent, this does not imply that law necessarily gives some individuals command over others. Law can arise through a process of evolution. When this is the case, those subject to law are indeed bound, but not by the will of any particular human beings. Although this depoliticized law is inherently coercive, it is not inherently a vehicle for domination. This Article argues that such a system of depoliticized law is consistent with the ideal of the rule of law, and, in fact, is free market law, when that phrase is properly understood.

Article Details

Author Biography

John Hasnas, Georgetown University

Associate Professor, Georgetown University, J.D. & Ph.D. in Philosophy, Duke University, LL.M. in Legal Education, Temple University. The author is greatly indebted to Menachem Mautner, Talia Fisher, Assaf Likhovski and the staff of the Cegla Center for the opportunity to present this Article at the conference on Legal Pluralism, Privatization of Law and Multiculturalism, and for their help in its production. The author also wishes to thank Ann C. Tunstall of SciLucent, LLC for her insightful comments on a draft of this Article, and Annette and Ava Hasnas for giving him a first-hand understanding of how things can be a product of human action but not of human design.