The New Haven School and Psychologies of Interwar Legal Science

The widespread contemporary understanding of the New Haven School runs as follows. In the 1940s American power rises. Shrugging the formalism of international law, Hans Morgenthau, George F. Kennan and great power politics announce a new paradigm. Myres McDougal senses the zeitgeist the realists have captured and leads a ‘legal’ response. Positivist social science is instrumentally refashioned as ‘policy-science’, the lawyer policy-scientist pitched as the anti-communist power behind the throne. The story tends to be completed by one of two alternative conclusions. For some critics this ends as a story of Cold Warrior lawyers hawking a method skewed to imperial American policy. A cautionary tale of lawyers losing sight of legality in a clash between ‘realism’ and ‘legalism’.  A moral of this critical story tends to be that policy-oriented lawyers were bought out of their vocation by hegemony and neoliberalism. Continue reading

Understanding the Origins of Liberalism’s Current Crisis

Book Cover Re Inventing Western CivilisationIt is sometimes assumed that liberalism somehow came to an end during the 1930s, handing over the baton to national welfare state regimes after the war while finding refuge in liberal internationalism. Furthermore, recent studies on neoliberalism have shown that a profound understanding of liberalism seems to be missing. Is neoliberalism merely the renaissance of liberalism? What, then, is liberalism? And what exactly is neoliberalism? Are social democratic versions of a market economy not liberal? Continue reading