How does human nature work in a culture of liberalism? Is the trend in individual rights advanced by liberalism fostering family restoration, or family deconstruction? And can a contract make any difference?
A new article by Professor Kenneth Ching argues that liberal theory sets individual rights against social utility in an incoherent debate. In that essay, which can be downloaded on SSRN at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2558785, Ching describes liberal political theory as a dialectic narrative between Libertarianism and Progressivism; he also discusses Alasdair MacIntyre's critique of Liberalism in the context of freedom and human nature. The essay describes the boilerplate debate in contracts as it has taken place over the last hundred years, but then situates the boilerplate contract debate within Liberalism. Ching's essay argues that the boilerplate debate resists MacIntyre's critique of Liberalism because it is regulated by concepts of human nature and purpose. Ching argues that liberalism's use of the concept of freedom has been oriented by the tendency toward abuse of power, often pointing to government culprits; but, Ching argues, courts tend to refrain from interfering with boilerplate contract language, which in turn tends to subvert any abuse of power. This means that when a couple agree in writing to certain promises to each other, this form of contracting presents a nice way to help people behave themselves for the benefit of the family.
Couples can indeed contract with one another in boilerplate style contracts that can help them to restore the trust of their marriage, and courts will generally affirm their desires to do so. You can find out how from Prof. Ching's article above at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2558785, and also consider how the contract concept can be used to foster family restoration by reading "Understanding and Encouraging Realistic Reconciliation in an Age of Divorce," which can be download from SSRN at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1949256.
Human nature and purpose can be regulated by personal marital contracts to help restore a marriage, and bring about restoration for a family facing challenges.