For Approval: Some License Or Another

John Cowan jcowan at
Tue Nov 30 13:36:46 UTC 2004

Michael R. Bernstein scripsit:

> > I do not believe that the legal profession has been able to contort
> > the law to the point where individuals are unable to make binding
> > agreements for themselves on their own terms.
> This attempt a few years ago came closer than most:

That's a freedom of speech case, not a freedom of contract one.  There are
many restrictions on the substantive freedom of contract (not to mention
restrictions of form).  To take a few examples at random:

Alice and Bob can contract for Alice to hurt Bob, but not to kill him;
even the former contract will not be enforced by specific performance,
but at most by monetary damages.  An apartment lease in New York City that
provides an apartment without heat is unenforceable.  Commercial debts
debts are enforceable but gambling are not.  A contract not to sell a
house to an African American will not stand up.  In civil-law countries,
at least, a partnership between Alice and Bob such that Alice gets all
the profits and Bob bears all the losses ("societas leonina") is void.

You let them out again, Old Man Willow!                 John Cowan
What you be a-thinking of?  You should not be waking!   jcowan at
Eat earth!  Dig deep!  Drink water!  Go to sleep!
Bombadil is talking.                          

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