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.
The Limits of Courage and Principle,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol104/iss6/12