About On Law and US

“Never is a society as threatened than when truth and our ability to reason become disenfranchised by hate”.

Welcome to “On Law And US”

Born out of a hope that we can still have honest and informed discussions during highly polarized and fragmented times, in a more immediate way, “On Law and US” aims to identify and to address some of the greatest societal challenges that we currently face in the United States.
But more than this just being a blog “On Law and the U.S.”, we hope to create awareness to the fact that many of today’s issues, which cause divisiveness, hostility and hate among people both here and abroad, stem from our increased inability to dialogue with one another, to truly listen and to show compassion and understanding, and to respect the "Other".
In that sense this is also a blog “On Law and all of Us”.

What do we consider to be some of these challenges, and what will we be addressing?
Unethical capitalism, globalization, climate change, a growing income inequality, deeply rooted structures of privilege, the subversion of international trade for national gain, the subversion of national politics for personal gain, the rise of nationalism and populism, the subversion of religion and religious freedoms, the very standing of truth in an age of fake news and alternative facts, the acceptance of truth as a subjective reality, the demands of political loyalty, the lack of political transparency and accountability, the increasing animosity towards the “other”, the rise of Schmittian politics centered on archetypical enemies without and within, and finally, how COVID-19 has exacerbated all of the above, and threatens to throw a deeply fragmented world into one of its most severe crises.

But what's Law got to do with society’s greatest challenges, and with Us?
Archibald MacLeish once said, “the business of the law is to make sense of the confusion of what we call human life—to reduce it to order but at the same time to give it possibility, scope, even dignity”. 
Great… but what does that mean, exactly?

In its simpler and more accepted sense, Law exists to safeguard whatever social contract we have chosen to adhere to, in whatever form of democratic government, and to do so in accordance with the values and principles that we hold to be most dear. But as MacLeish suggests, societal life seems to require much more of Law than that.  

Societal life is woven from many different compromises, from competing social-ethical normative orders, like morality and religion, and from competing values such as freedom, human dignity, and even the economy as a value per se.

Law exists not only to make sense of these different normative constructs that both bind and shape us, but to explore how they can work together to meet the needs of a society that is always changing, and how to make social life possible, to give it scope and even dignity.

Why Law? Due to the very nature of democratic life, law has and should have primacy over all normative orders, ceding that primacy only when itself chooses to do so. Societally, in all matters, Law reins supreme; social democratic life requires it to be so. This does not mean that our individual values cannot be shaped by our own normative values, according to our own morality and the religion we place our belief in.

More about “On Law and US” and me.
It’s important to highlight that this is not a research blog, it’s an opinion blog, free of political or religious (or any) affiliations, and with no desire to indoctrinate anyone. As mentioned before, my hope is that we can promote honest dialogue.
While most articles will be written by me, I will occasionally invite others to write for this blog, as long as they abide by the above promise. Who am I? I am a husband, son, brother, uncle, a former fitness instructor, a skydiver, a scuba diver, who loves traveling, exploring different cultures, running, martial arts, photography, and nature. I am a European, who was born and who lived his formative years in Asia, and who now lives in the U.S. I left law school shortly after I started it, disenchanted with how the study of law was taught. I worked in business and operations management for over five years, returning and finishing law school in my early thirties. I have earned a Masters degree in European and International Law (Catolica Global School of Law) and a Doctorate in the Science of Law (Cornell University). During my graduate legal studies, I started teaching law, was a Law Fellow at Cornell Law School, and became a legal consultant to a Corporate Governance startup focusing on new frameworks for shareholder activism and ethical capitalism. I believe in academic and public service, and I have done my best to pay forward all the blessings I received throughout my life.

Diogo Magalhaes


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