In a more general way, the question of how to enforce and implement human or civil rights poses problems in every federal state. Its central authorities have to guarantee equal rights, but they also have to protect minority rights and the historic particularities of local cultures. If equalisation is a question of money, it poses less problems. Money is divisible, and economic equalisation can therefore be negotiated through compromises. This is not always so with the equalisation of human or constitutional rights. Politically, problems of ethical values are often perceived as binary questions. In the view of many people, there is either the right to have an abortion or there is not, and the death penalty is either constitutional or it is not. Because of the fundamental nature of these questions, parliaments and supreme courts sometimes decide them constitutionally for the whole of society.

-Swiss Democracy by Linder Mueller

I wonder what does emphasised "for" means in this context. Does this mean "on behalf of whole society" or "to society's favour"?

1 Answer 1


It doesn't necessarily mean "to society's favour" because binary questions (and answers to them) can be divisive.

It's rather "on behalf of whole society" since parliaments represent people and look after their interests.

  • Thank you for explanation.
    – 1amroff
    Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 10:33

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