Chapter 4: Legislative hope and utopia
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Legislation, inspired by utopian ideals of rationality and justice, has long been experienced as a source of hope but frequently fails in meeting expectations. Current legislation is mainly focused on realising short-term policy goals without offering hope. This contribution aims to investigate how legislation relates to hope and what role utopian thought plays with respect to that and evaluates current legislative policy on its hope-inspiring properties. To this end, this contribution analyses the features of utopias and investigates how these find expression in legislation. It then evaluates to what extent utopianism may inspire hope or may lead to disappointment or even despair. Conceptions of time, knowledge and identity seem of relevance, connected to substantive reasoning and the constitutive function of legislation. The author's contention is that legislative hope hinges on a balance between effectiveness, room for substantive reasoning and the quality of the political aspect of the legislative process.