Reflections on Menke’s ‘Law and violence’
Alessandro Ferrara

Christoph Menke links the dimension of publicness of the justice-of-the-law paradigm with an intrinsically political quality of the law, which is counterintuitive and requires a supplementary argumentation. In his famous essay "Critique of Violence," dated 1921, Walter Benjamin distinguishes two kinds of criticism that can be leveled against the persisting enmeshment of law with violence. It could be conceived of as a form of law that, drawing on the idea of "democratic dualism," pioneered by Ackerman and integrated within political liberalism by Rawls, renounces the demand for the direct consent of all the governed and settles for an indirect consent. The indirect consent hinges on the law's compatibility or is in accordance with the constitution. At each of three critical junctures on its way to overcoming the mythical relation of law to violence, Menke's argument, it seems to the author, intersects the path of contemporary "political liberalism".

in Law and violence