This essay argues that while both conflict and consensus are existent in the United States, the country tends towards the conflict perspective.
While both formulations of these perspectives are problematic, the consensus perspective has seemingly overly optimistic slant. In essence, it’s arguing that the law functions outside of undue influence, in a completely equitable means of agreed upon functions. It seems this view completely ignores things, such as the overwhelming privileged inherent in attending law school, or that becoming a judge requires significant political acumen. While it acknowledges that there are diverse and competing interests within a cultural framework, it assumes that the social structure exists outside of them, created through some metaphysical objectivity; this is logically inconsistent, as it fails to take into account that the very people who constructed the legal system were influenced by these same pernicious motivations. Even so, most citizens and scholars recognize some truth to the consensus model. While the Supreme Court structure in American society is understood to be highly reliant on the personal backgrounds of the individual justices, society has objectively accounted for this and openly negotiates how personal bias will be used towards equitable means. While this may be a highly reductionist take on the process of law, as a conflict argument would be that even the democratic voting process is indicative of oppressive power structures, in these instances there is at least the social movement towards equitable democratic consensus.
Conversely, the conflict paradigm aligns the social structure as a means for powerful entities to continue their social domination, and it is this perspective that is most predominant in the United States. Whereas the consensus perspective seems somewhat idealized, the conflict perspective is in contains a healthy