The Constitution of Tyranny: Res Publica and Authorization Politics in Latin America

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"From the time of Spanish conquest and the constitution of empire in the Western Hemisphere in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the legal and moral foundations of Latin American society rest on the fundamental premise that the State, through governmental policy and administration, is responsible for defining and achieving the 'common good'. In this sacred mission, derived from the delegation of heavenly authority to secular princes, the State must not be blocked by private interests or individual claims, nor must private property or private economic activity be allowed to interfere with the ultimate mission: providing for the common welfare. With society conceived in the Thomistic tradition as a unified, organic, hierarchical, functionally specialized system of relations regulated by the 'natural' direction of the State/rulers, private interest and individual 'rights' must be subordinated to the common welfare in order to achieve social peace and harmony. From its inception, thus, Latin American society has been state-centered, with both popular and elite expectations focused on state initiative, even when the reality of daily life demanded circumvention of state generated policy and regulation."



governance and politics