chapter  1
55 Pages

Classical Confucian constitutionalism

"Constitutionalism" is a modern term but the notion is traceable back to classical antiquity. Constitutionalism subordinates political leaders to pre-established legal rules and principles which limit the public power. Walker indicates that liberal definition of constitutionalism as to protect liberal rights is the outcome of the conflation of constitutionalism and liberalism, which is suitable for American constitutionalism. In short, constitutionalism involves both formal institutional, structural means and social, intellectual means for implementing articulated constitutional norms. Humaneness is the social characteristic endemic in human community. Confucian humanism is more than the metaphysical conception of philanthropy. The classical Confucians are never so naive as to sacrifice the polity for the introspective rectification of the power holders. The scholars' social intellectual authority is constitutionally meaningful in part because it serves as the guide for formal practices. Classical Confucianism is the antithesis of arbitrary rule; it is opposite to despotic government.