May 2006 Vol. 104 No. 6 THE REVIEW

Ignatieff: The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror

Jedediah Purdy

The Limits of Courage and Principle

The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror. By Michael Ignatieff. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. 2004. Pp. vi, 212. $29.95.

Michael Ignatieff, the director of the Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, is not a lawyer. His work, however, treats issues of core concern to lawyers: nation-building, human rights, the ethics of warfare, and now, in his latest book, the proper relationship between liberty and security. The Lesser Evil is, in part, a book a legal scholar might have written: a normative framework for lawmaking in the face of the terror threat. It is also something more unusual: an exercise in an older type of jurisprudence. Ignatieff discusses law in the light of moral psychology and a general view about the nature of value, but in a way that respects the concrete, practical character of legal decisions and does not make law hostage to philosophy. The book should thus be read on two levels: as a contribution to current legal debates about balancing liberty and security and as an object lesson in the value and limitations of Ignatieff’s heterodox approach to law.

   //  VIEW PDF
& Other Current Events

Fall Submission Season

MLR’s Articles Office will open its fall submission season on Monday, August 18!  The Articles...

The Ninth Circuit's Treatment of Sexual Orientation: Defining “Rational Basis Review with Bite”

On February 10, Nevada's Democratic attorney general decided to stop defending the state's constitutional...

Inhibiting Intrastate Inequalities: A Congressional Approach to Ensuring Equal Opportunity to Finance Public Education

The United States has exhibited a strong commitment to public education throughout its history. The local...

War Is Governance: Explaining the Logic of the Laws of War from a Principal-Agent Perspective

What is the purpose of the international law on armed conflict, and why would opponents bent on destroying...

Tariffication of the Coastwise Trade Laws

The coastwise trade laws prohibit foreign vessels and mariners from transporting goods or passengers...
MAILING LIST
Sign Up to Join Our Mailing List