Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The New Constitution of Iraq

NYU Law Prof Noah Feldman has an interesting August 20, 2005 op-ed piece at the New York Times on the draft of Iraq's new constitution. The article carries the apparently intentional "disarming" title "Agreeing to Disagree in Iraq".

Feldman's discussion of the attempt to merge modern Western democratic "rule of law" with the antique dictates of Islamic law is interesting, but we are highly sceptical.

The rule of law in Western civilization only works because there is broad civilized consensus to support it. Yet, even in Christian America, there are strong reactionary elements seemingly yearning for the dark ages, when religious law was paramount and led to the decline of civilization. This problem is compounded in the dogmatic Muslim world.

We see the attempt to merge modern law and religious law to be flawed in its core.

Historically, there are three principal high professions: the ruling lawgivers, the physicians and the priests. Each of these has distinct and separate duties.

Law rightly deals with temporal life, i.e. the worldly affairs of a person or a nation.

Medicine rightly deals with physical life, i.e. the physical health of the physical person or of the community.

Religion rightly deals with spiritual life, i.e. the personal belief system of a person or the applicable congregation of believers.

Whenever these are mixed together to any great degree, chaos and tyranny result and mankind suffers.

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