Stephan Harbarth

Der Auftrag des Staates zur Verwirklichung seiner Voraussetzungen als produktives Dilemma

Rubrik: Beiträge zum 80. Geburtstag von Paul Kirchhof
Archiv des öffentlichen Rechts (AöR)

Jahrgang 148 () / Heft 1, S. 1-23 (23)
Publiziert 27.03.2023

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The »Faustian question of what actually holds a society or a state together at its core« has inspired a number of responses. According to Paul Kirchhof, the state has both the ability and the duty to foster social cohesion by means of intervention that gives structure to individual freedoms. In his later works, Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde identified what he described as an »ethos of legality« as a unifying force. And, in a pluralistic, heterogeneous society, cohesiveness is determined less through consensus and more through the facilitation and reconciliation of orderly dissent. With these ideas in mind, a loyalty to the law that is capable of stabilising, integrating and mobilising must therefore be oriented toward a legal framework of »dissent facilitation and resolution«, that is, a loyalty to the institutional and procedural processes through which the law is shaped and the basic substantive concepts that the law must satisfy. The state can protect, strengthen and encourage a »normative consensus« of this kind when it respects the law, when it structures its institutions and procedures so that they engender trust and loyalty, when it actively protects the rule of law from outside interference and when it speaks about and through the law in a straightforward manner.

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