I believe I have succeeded in proving one thing: it is by no means true that the new school lacks the capacity for positive work. Of course a critical examination of the prevailing practice was necessary and could not fail in undermining faith in the exclusive power of logical syllogisms to bring salvation. Yet here also the adage is verified: "Studere de-struit, studuisse construit." As a product of the new ideas a significant cycle of evolution seems to have begun. In it legal science may be called upon to play a leading part, provided it shall emancipate itself definitely from the scholastic lore of existing precedents, commentaries and textbooks, while remaining within the limits of positive law. Such emancipation cannot but have in its train a beneficial effect on legislation. For future statutes will have to avoid burdening the courts with useless and empty formulas, and instead of that will aid them by promoting a comprehension of the true nature of legal rights and interests and the relative values to be attributed to them - a comprehension also of the actual human relations with which the legal rules are dealing, and an insight into the principles that guide the intercourse of men.137 That will also have a stimulating influence upon the study of the law, which is now languishing for lack of subjects of study that are living and real. More and more we must rid ourselves of the old, formalistic,and Romanistic basis of legal study, we must vigorously protest against the utterly unhealthy preponderance of the ancient languages in the preparatory schooling of boys and young men. The egoism now cultivated in schools and universities should be supplanted by an ethical sentiment inspired by the common interests of society. The roads must be made plain for a training of our youths to be citizens of the State.
These are wide horizons for our eyes to scan. Even if at the beginning but a small portion of what we are now striving for as a first step should become realized, to wit: a juster and more truly popular administration of the law in harmony with the requirements of real life, even then the labors of the sociological school would not have been performed in vain. And to help toward that end I would fain invite the entire judiciary.
137 Judges of the present day, as Fuchs shows in "G" 177 and in numerous other places, are mostly mere untrained empirics in these matters, because they lack sufficient preparatory education. In my day, at least, the student on leaving the university was about in the condition a medical student would be if he had studied nothing but anatomy.
The sociological method is of the highest ethical significance.138 Calling upon lawyers to emancipate themselves from an unspeakable thralldom to logical scholasticism and to substitute therefor an interpretation of the law in which sound feeling cooperates, this school represents nothing less than an appeal to the general sense of justice. It saves the Court from the spirit of servility to the letter which now predominates in the administration of justice.139 It rids him of the burden of abstract deductions and controversies which for the most part lose all meaning in the light of the sociological conception.140 It calls upon the judge consciously to perform an act of volition for the purpose of attaining the ideal of a just administration of the law. It restores to its proper place the subjective feeling for justice, and points out how the ideal may be reached by throwing light upon the means of its attainment. It raises the judge from his present station of a mere follower into that of a leader which is rightly his, so that he may guide us on the way toward a healthy conception of the law and its appropriate functioning in the daily business of mankind. Thus the judge will become the standard-bearer of legal evolution.
138 "G" 233.
139 According to Hellwig, in "Der Tag" 1909, nos. 240, 241. 140 "G" 23. 22S. Comp. RGZ 71, p. 196, which is entirely in accord with these views.