Friedrich Julius Stahl mapped out a conservative Christian legal philosophy harvesting the fruits of the Western legal tradition. His treatment makes them available to a new generation unschooled in its own inheritance.
Stahl returns us to a broadly common-law-oriented jurisprudence integrating custom and legislation, justice and law, rights and institutions, the received historical law and the needs of the here and now, considerations of utility and God-ordained universal standards. He opens the door to restoring the balance between individual rights and an objective legal order which both conditions and protects those rights. He returns us to a jurisprudence respecting the law of nature and nature’s God, one which fleshes out the conservative principles first enunciated by Edmund Burke.
Authority Not Majority is a biography of Stahl written to introduce the translations.
The first installment is the Principles of Law, providing the core principles to be fleshed out in the remainder of the series.
The second installment, Private Law, provides a detailed exposition of the doctrine of subjective right, natural and acquired rights, and the institutions of private law: property, contract, marriage and the family, inheritance.
The third installment, on constitutional law entitled The Doctrine of State and the Principles of State Law, is now also available. It provides a thorough discussion of basic principles of public and constitutional law. Stahl’s treatment is valuable in two respects. It provides essential background to understanding the role of monarchy and estates in pre-modern constitutional systems, something which is sorely needed simply to better understand the past. And it provides a basic framework for understanding the relationship of law and government that is just as relevant today as it was when Stahl was writing. In fact, it anticipates the important treatment on the subject provided by Friedrich Hayek in Law, Legislation, and Liberty.
Projected volumes include Philosophical Presuppositions and The History of Legal Philosophy. Publication dates for these volumes have not been set.
A Word on the Iron Cross logo
The Iron Cross was established as a military distinction in 1813, during the Napoleonic Wars, as Prussia teamed with England to defeat revolutionary France. It is adapted from the Maltese cross, and thus is a symbol of historic Christianity against atheist Revolution. It was later adapted to adorn the masthead of the Neuen Preussichen Zeitung, nicknamed the “Kreuzzeitung” or Cross Journal, a conservative journal initiated in the wake of 1848 revolutions. Stahl was a major contributor to this journal. It was not until Bismarck and German unification that the Iron Cross came to symbolize German power. It deserves to be redeemed from this fate and restored to its original meaning as a symbol of anti-revolutionary Christian political theology. Which is why it appears on the cover of these works, in the same form as it did on the masthead of the “Kreuzzeitung” with the words “Vorwärts mit Gott für König und Vaterland!” (Forward with God for King and Country).