On the Scope of Politics

Two great quotations which together present a critical tension which lay at the heart of every political order:

Political judgment prevents the fragmentation of the public space into myriad private spaces, each construed according to the differing perceptions and emotions of individual agents. This is necessary because the dissolution of the common world into mutual incomprehension is always possible. The alternative to public judgment is not no judgment, but private judgments, multitudinous and conflicting, frustrating each other and denying everyone the space of freedom.   -Oliver O’Donovan, The Ways of Judgment (2005) p. 23


successful constitutions limit the stakes of politics. That is, they place bounds on the range of political choices, in part by assigning citizen rights and other limits on governmental decision making. The greater the range of social issues subject to political decision making, the greater the stakes.
-Douglas C. North, William Summerhill, and Barry R. Weingast

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