5 2 mins 13 yrs

Donald J Boudreaux discusses the Rule of Law vs Rule of Men.

My emph:

Here is what is not of the essence of the rule of law. The rule of law does not exist simply because the government that issues commands and enforces the law is legitimately and democratically elected. The rule of law does not exist simply because commands and laws are enforced according to their letter, without bias or exception or corruption. The rule of law does not exist simply because everyone in society, including those with political power, is subject to the government’s commands […]

For much the same reason that Starbucks specializes in retailing coffee, government specializes in enforcing law. And just as Starbucks responds to prevailing consumer demands—just as Starbucks is not in business to tell consumers what they want and don’t want, but instead is in business to serve consumers according to their specific tastes for coffee and pastries—a genuinely classical-liberal government is not in business to foist its demands and dictates on citizens, but instead to serve citizens by enforcing laws that exist independently of government.

It’s a lesson we once knew in our country but neglected and then forgot in the 20th Century.

I recommend it all, particularly to those who believe “Law” is what a few hundred criminals in Parliament decide on any day.

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5 thoughts on “ATW QOTD

  1. Fact is, Pete, that parliaments the world over are put in place by citizens expressly for the purpose of making laws binding on the latter. The contract is that they are assigned a certain period on trust to make laws on our behalf, laws that we know we will not necessarily like.
    At the end of that period they can be dismissed or granted another term.

    There is also a general consensus that while this system is clumsy and accident prone it is still the best around. At the very least it is necessary. Moreover, anyone who thinks he has a better system is free to sell it to the same people according to the same rules. The free marketplace of ideas, you might like to call it.

    All simple and obvious facts of political culture that you and Mr. Boudreaux strangely neglect.

  2. Noel Cunningham –

    Fact is, few if any parliaments preside over "genuinely classical-liberal governments", a simple and obvious fact which you strangely neglect. No, a few hundred criminals saying yay or nay, according to whoever pays them the most, is not "Law". Read the link and discover why.

    We vote for many reasons, mine stretching all the way from mischief to mischief. Anyone who votes for someone else because that someone else will decide on laws needs a lobotomy.

  3. It is a theory of law, and not a particularly good one at that. And one that doesn’t have many buyers.
    If the Austrians and their one-trick pony are correct then why do more people not follow them? They are the great proponents for the market yet the market in ideas in economics has considered their offerings and very few are buying.
    Likewise the fact that there are few – if any – "genuinely classical-liberal governments" tells you what the market thinks of "genuinely classical-liberal governments".
    Now I am sure we will be told that the market is being corrupted, or there is a conspiracy, or there is some great reason why this is not the case and that if people were free to choose then the scales would be lifted from their eyes. Really …
    Once again we come across the remarkably emaciated concept of freedom that libertarians hold – a wisp of a thing that is the freedom of the tribesman or primitive. They aspire to no more than that.

  4. The Rule of law are the agreed upon tenants that all people in a nation are subject, and that all politicians ignore to meet the flavor of their beliefs.

    The rule of man is treat thy neighbor as you expect him to treat you.

    Which in today’s world means create enough fear in everyone else so that they will either do what you tell them to do, or fear you enough to just leave you alone.

  5. Perfect!

    I’ve certainly come round to your way of thinking of late Pete. This country is now after Labour’s terms and as a result of the 60s and 70s cultural revolution – a complete and utter shithole. And run by loons in wigs. I just don’t see anywhere else that’s any better.

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