Chapter 5: The stable door
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Were force required to be used in order to enforce each and every aspect of each and every law it would be impossible. By appealing to a comprehensible conception of deep justice, rulers make voluntary obedience to the law possible, and by rendering that conception of deep justice plausible, rulers encourage voluntary obedience. Law’s legitimating function is most successful when there is widespread agreement within a society about deep justice and a tight fit between that conception of deep justice and the rules promulgated. However, the claim to be doing justice is used by the powerful to disguise the injustice of their power. Rulers induce a false consciousness in their subjects which secures voluntary obedience. Nonetheless, the need to maintain the plausibility of the conception of deep justice places a constraint on rulers’ power. Law is both an instrument of oppression and a restraint on certain methods of exploitation.

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