From the Mine and Thine in the state of Nature to the Mine and Thine in the Juridical state generally.
Public Justice as related to the Natural and the Civil state.
The Juridical state is that relation of men to one another which contains the conditions, under which it is alone possible for every one to obtain the Right that is his due. The formal Principle of the possibility of actually participating in such Right, viewed in accordance with the Idea of a universally legislative Will, is Public Justice. Public Justice may be considered in relation either to the Possibility, or Actuality, or Necessity of the Possession of objects — regarded as the matter of the activity of the Will—according to laws. It may thus be divided into Protective Justice (justitia testatrix), Commutative Justice (justitia commutativa), and Distributive Justice (justitia distributiva). In the first mode of Justice, the Law declares merely what Relation is internally right in respect of Form (lex justi); in the second, it declares what is likewise externally in accord with a Law in respect of the Object, and what Possession is rightful (lex juridica); and in the third, it declares what is right, and what is just, and to what extent, by the Judgment of a Court in any particular case coming under the given Law. In this latter relation, the Public Court is called the Justice of the Country; and the question whether there actually is or is not such an administration of Public Justice, may be regarded as the most important of all juridical interests.
The non-juridical state is that condition of Society in which there is no Distributive Justice. It is commonly called the Natural state (status naturalis), or the state of Nature. It is not the ‘Social State,’ as Achenwall puts it, for this may be in itself an artificial state (status artificialis), that is to be contradistinguished from the ‘Natural’ state. The opposite of the state of Nature is the Civil state (status civilis) as the condition of a Society standing under a Distributive Justice. In the state of Nature there may even be juridical forms of Society—such as Marriage, Parental Authority, the Household, and such like. For none of these, however, does any Law à priori lay it down as an incumbent obligation, ‘Thou shalt enter into this state.’ But it may be said of the Juridical state that ‘all men who may even involuntarily come into Relations of Right with one another, ought to enter into this state.’
The Natural or non-juridical Social state may be viewed as the sphere of Private Right, and the Civil state may be specially regarded as the sphere of Public Right. The latter state contains no more and no other Duties of men towards each other than what may be conceived in connection with the former state; the Matter of Private Right is, in short, the very same in both. The Laws of the Civil state, therefore, only turn upon the juridical Form of the co-existence of men under a common Constitution; and in this respect these Laws must necessarily be regarded and conceived as Public Laws.
The Civil Union (Unio civilis) cannot, in the strict sense, be properly called a Society; for there is no sociality in common between the Ruler (imperans) and the Subject (subditus) under a Civil Constitution. They are not co-ordinated as Associates in a Society with each other, but the one is subordinated to the other. Those who may be co-ordinated with one another must consider themselves as mutually equal, in so far as they stand under common Laws. The Civil Union may therefore be regarded not so much as being, but rather as making a Society.
The Postulate of Public Right.
From the conditions of Private Right in the Natural state, there arises the Postulate of Public Right. It may be thus expressed: ‘In the relation of unavoidable co-existence with others, thou shalt pass from the state of Nature into a juridical Union constituted under the condition of a Distributive Justice.’ The Principle of this Postulate may be unfolded analytically from the conception of Right in the external relation, contradistinguished from mere Might as Violence.
No one is under obligation to abstain from interfering with the Possession of others, unless they give him a reciprocal guarantee for the observance of a similar abstention from interference with his Possession. Nor does he require to wait for proof by experience of the need of this guarantee, in view of the antagonistic disposition of others. He is therefore under no obligation to wait till he acquires practical prudence at his own cost; for he can perceive in himself evidence of the natural Inclination of men to play the master over others, and to disregard the claims of the Right of others, when they feel themselves their superiors by Might or Fraud. And thus it is not necessary to wait for the melancholy experience of actual hostility; the individual is from the first entitled to exercise a rightful compulsion towards those who already threaten him by their very nature. Quilibet præsumitur malus, donec securitatem dederit oppositi.
So long as the intention to live and continue in this state of externally lawless Freedom prevails, men may be said to do no wrong or injustice at all to one another, even when they wage war against each other. For what seems competent as good for the one, is equally valid for the other, as if it were so by mutual agreement. Uti partes de jure suo disponunt, ita jus est. But generally they must be considered as being in the highest state of Wrong, as being and willing to be in a condition which is not juridical; and in which, therefore, no one can be secured against Violence, in the possession of his own.
- The distinction between what is only formally and what is also materially wrong and unjust, finds frequent application in the Science of Right. An enemy who, on occupying a besieged fortress, instead of honourably fulfilling the conditions of a Capitulation, maltreats the garrison on marching out, or otherwise violates the agreement, cannot complain of injury or wrong if on another occasion the same treatment is inflicted upon themselves. But, in fact, all such actions fundamentally involve the commission of wrong and injustice, in the highest degree; because they take all validity away from the conception of Right, and give up everything, as it were by law itself, to savage Violence, and thus overthrow the Rights of Men generally.
THE SCIENCE OF RIGHT.
PART SECOND. PUBLIC RIGHT. THE SYSTEM OF THOSE LAWS WHICH REQUIRE PUBLIC PROMULGATION.