chapter  12
14 Pages

Three Concepts of Law and the Lost Art of Legislation

ByWillem Witteveen

In a recent interview with Fox News's Bill O'Reilly, Barrack Obama again returned to the issue of civility. Civility and cooperation are necessary, Obama argued, to achieve policy goals like cutting government spending. Those who, like President Obama, side with civility variously name and define it. According to one dictionary definition, civility refers to refraining from rudeness, while politeness implies some further effort to extend courtesies to others. For some civility is little more than politeness in public discourse. Civility is the art of creating a government, its laws, customs and institutions-based in concern for the public good. While Anthony Kronman concedes that every political and moral judgement is offered from a particular perspective, he insists that the public good is what is held in common. Kronman argues that even if a claim about the public good stems from an individual's perspective, the claim is not about that perspective.