International Law Watch 12
Posted by aogTuesday, 25 February 2003 at 16:17 TrackBack Ping URL
An article over at National Review discusses Dutch euthanasia laws and the Dutch attitude toward them. I won't discuss the specifics here, one should check out the source post for that. What's I want to mention is the issue of normative vs. descriptive laws. One might interpret this in an anarchist way, that the laws are purely symbolic in nature and not taken seriously. On the other hand, it could be elitism - that doctors, because of who they are, can violate the laws with impunity even though the laws are binding on the hoi polloi. I suspect the latter because it's consistent with the theme I developed in this series, that the European view is that obediance to the law is conditional based on social status or position and that in particular, the US should agree to or obey laws that do not bind other nations.

UPDATE: Moira Breen comments. I would note that it is contention societies that actually have more consent, because if you're not allowed to say "no" to the consensus, it's not really consent. There's also the issue of fraud – in the Dutch case here, what have those against really consented to? Ineffective laws? There's no real consensus, just a facade to make it appear as if there were.