Kelsen’s Legal Positivism and the Legal-Rational State

The theory that Hans Kelsen expounded in his main works is a general theory of positive law. Positive law is for Kelsen always the law of a definite community. To attain a scientific exposition of those particular orders constituting the corresponding legal communities is the design of the general theory of law. This theory, resulting from a comparative analysis of the different positive legal orders, gives the fundamental concepts by which the positive law of a legal community can be described. The topic of a general theory of law is the legal norms, their elements, their interrelation, the legal order as a whole, its structure, the relationship between different legal orders, and, finally, the unity of the law in the plurality of positive legal orders. Does the Kelsenian model still apply to 21st century democracies?