VOL. 4, NO. 6, PGS. 1–6


The Rule of Law: A Facilitator for the Pursuit of Happiness
A conversation with Randy E. Barnett

Randy E. Barnett is Patrick Hotung Professor of Constitutional Law and the Director of the Georgetown Center for the Constitution at the Georgetown University. He is the author of The Structure of Liberty: Justice and the Rule of Law.

Is there a natural law for human behaviour? Why is it important to think in terms of natural law to determine how society should be organized?

I believe there is a natural law for human behavior. Human creatures have an inherent basic nature that separates them from other creatures. Moreover, their happiness depends on their actualizing the potential they have as human beings. Humans beings have a nature and they exist in the world, which also has a nature. If they try to achieve or pursue happiness somehow disregarding their own nature or the nature of the world they find themselves in, they are likely to be defeated in their objective of achieving happiness. I mean, unlike other creatures, human beings don’t fly, and if you think that your happiness involves jumping off a building thinking you can fly, you are going to be very disappointed.

What is the most important problem for persons living in society that law must address? Why is it crucial?

The most important problem is establishing a structure within which people can pursue happiness. Each of us must make our own decisions about how to pursue happiness, but our decisions or actions can interfere with other people also pursuing happiness —our actions inevitably have the potential of interfering with the actions of others. Law provides the basic framework or structure within which people can make their decisions in a way so that they will not hinder the choices of others pursuing their own happiness. Law provides what we call the boundaries within which we can make our choices. The law is there to create equal domains or jurisdictions for each one of us to make our choices.

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Sin duda un articulo muy interesante, sobre todo hablando de el bienestar de una sociedad y sus reglas del juego
"Natural laws" have been referred to by the worst rulers, religious hardliners and their propagandistas and clerics. You should rather refer to and rely on universal "human rights" along UN principles. Professor emeritus of Economics / Political Economy at Freie Universität Berlin


Los peores gobernantes, los partidarios de la línea dura religiosa y sus propagandistas y clérigos se han referido a las "leyes naturales". En su lugar, debería hacer referencia y confiar en los "derechos humanos" universales según los principios de la ONU. Profesor emérito de Economía / Economía Política en Freie Universität Berlin

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