A sentence from a 1967 article of his caused decades of discussion in German and European political thought. It became known as the so-called Böckenförde-paradoxon or Böckenförde-dictum: “The liberal secular state lives on premises that it cannot itself guarantee. On the one hand, it can subsist only if the freedom it consents to its citizens is regulated from within, inside the moral substance of individuals and of a homogeneous society. On the other hand, it is not able to guarantee these forces of inner regulation by itself without renouncing its liberalism.”

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