Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Big Picture

Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be. – Karen Ravn.

On that note, I’m starting with the BIG picture.

The law is a process which, like any other process, is in constant motion. Driving the process of law are actors (read: lawyers) who are constantly engaged in defining the relevant legal rules. At its best, the law transforms the naturally chaotic and selfish human beings into socially conscientious benefactors, because lawyers promote those rules governing human behavior which, to borrow the language of game theory, lead to a maximum-sum game: if everyone follows those particular rules, everyone will maximize their own, and everyone else’s benefits.

The cutting edge of economics today is preoccupied with applying game theory principles to public policy matters. One day, perhaps, our economic modeling ability and technology will grow capable of calculating the number reflecting the outcome-sum of any game played by 6 billion human beings. That day, we will have mathematical proof of which rules governing human behavior are, in fact, better for humanity than all other rules. But until that day comes, it is up to the lawyers to tap into our collective intuition and social consciousness and aspire to create and advocate the kinds of rules which, if followed, lead to a universal and perpetual maximum-sum game. No matter what we as lawyers do, the maximum-sum game paradigm must always remain in our minds’ not-so-distant background. This is as true of the work that we do as it is of the lives that we lead.

With this as background, the specific legal question for this post is as follows: in terms of international law, must (or should) Western nations let the sovereign people of Iran sacrifice their lives in the name of freedom and self-determination of its sovereign future generations, or, is it “good” for the sovereignty principle to be, as a matter of international law, inherently flexible and subject to international interference, considering that once self-determination is obtained by the Iranian people, it is likely that, like any other free people, they will demand nothing short of absolute respect for their sovereignty? (I claim no more to have the right answer to this question than I claim to have just stated it clearly, which, clearly, I have not.) Nevertheless, my view is that, as a matter of international law, national sovereignty must yield when self-determination by a people of a nation is in question, at least in times of outbreaks of internal violence directly tied to the very question of people’s self-determination. I plan to address some of the reasons supporting this view in my next post, which, I swear, will be, like, totally way more clear.

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1 comment:

  1. Bolga,

    I just caught this chatter at Co-Op; Magliocca is also talking sovereignty and people: .


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