A Rule of Law for Our New Age of Anxiety by stephen J. toope
Taking Auden’s Age of Anxiety as a leitmotiv and drawing on literature from law, philosophy, political theory, international relations, and sociology, Toope argues with passion that a renewed faith in the rule of law can address troubling developments in our own anxious times: populist nationalism; globalisation; and disruptive technologies with their dominating platforms. We can address anxiety by bolstering social resilience, drawing upon a plural intellectual heritage. That heritage reveals a unique type of ‘authority’ in society, ‘epistemic practical authority’ built up continuously through social discourse and action, shifting focus from the state of ‘being’ to the dynamic of ‘becoming.’ What is law’s role in this world? The modest, yet powerful, version of the rule of law advocated here is one that draws on a wellspring of practical wisdom – prudence gleaned from pragmatic experience. It chastens power, while not disconnecting law from other sources of social action and human agency.