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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 85 of volume 1 (“Rules and Order,” 1973) of F.A. Hayek’s brilliant trilogy, Law, Legislation, and Liberty (original emphasis):

The freedom of the British which in the eighteenth century the rest of Europe came so much to admire was thus not, as the British themselves were among the first to believe and as Montesquieu later taught the world, originally a product of the separation of powers between legislative and executive, but rather a result of the fact that the law that governed the decisions of the courts was the common law, a law existing independently of anyone’s will and at the same time binding upon and developed by the independent courts, a law with which parliament only rarely interfered and, when it did, mainly only to clear up doubtful points within a given body of law. One might even say that a sort of separation of powers had grown up in England, not because the ‘legislature’ alone made law, but because it did not; because the law was determined by courts independent of the power which organized and directed government….