The Utility of McDougal's Jurisprudence, Proceedings of the American Society of International Law 273 (1985)
I would like to state what seem to be the major reasons why the work that Professor McDougal has done is important. I will not take the time to correct the many misstatements made by Professor Schachter but will move to what are the critical issues of continuing importance to our profession and to the perilous state of world order. I should like to make one point before I address those issues: to suggest for one moment that McDougal has undermined a very stable house of international law is absolutely preposterous. If international law were working as it is supposed to be working, McDougal and his associates would have been among the first to use it in that fashion. The system was not working before World War I, it was not working in the interwar period, it was not working and did not stave off the violence during World War II, and it has hardly minimized the peril of the high expectation of violence since then. The idea that we have iconoclasts here who are taking apart a system that works very well as a logical system of rules is pure fantasy. It was a constructive operation undertaken by McDougal and Lasswell in the world community shattered by World War II, precisely because the classical system and the classic legal tradition were not working. I would like to explain why, and from time to time make some references to the previous comments, and in doing so to set out the fundamental thrust of the enterprise to which McDougal and his associates have devoted themselves for more than 40 years.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Reisman, W. Michael, "The Utility of McDougal's Jurisprudence" (1985). Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 737.