By Dr. Hans Karl von Zeßner-Spitzenberg
Translated by M. T. Scarince
Translator’s note: This is the third part in a series of posts translating the work of Austrian Legitimist philosopher Hans Karl Freiherr von Zeßner-Spitzenberg (1885-1938), an active member of the Kaiser-Karl-Gebetsliga and a martyr for the cause of Austrian independence from the National Socialist occupation. Read Part I, Part II, Part IV.
Legal refers to a state power which actually exists as a state power, as legislation and guardian of the law, which operates as such and as such has de facto asserted itself in public life. It fulfills the basic moral purpose of the state, the maintenance of public order, and thus the care of the Common Good by means of the basic element of the state’s power of order (i.e. by means of the positive legal regulation of social relations); namely, when it keeps itself bound to the positive legal order given and represented by it, when it sets the predetermined legal ways and measures in place of arbitrary acts of violence. These two moments, the actual establishment of order and one’s own commitment to it, are what make a force legal state power, in contrast to arbitrary and violent rule on the one hand and to revolutionary, adventurist, street-thug or tyrant rule on the other, which do not guarantee the moral original purpose of state power: public order and the Common Good through positive statutes.