When Western countries invade Iraq out of “human rights,” “democracy,” and “freedom,” those become ideologies used as propaganda to dupe their public into supporting unjust wars. Obviously, there are merits in the ideas carried behind those words. But the essence of the propaganda, the power behind the propaganda, is the religious believe in the absolute and universality of those ideas. There is no universality. Regular Hidden Harmonies readers know we frequently argue against that notion. So, today, in this brief post, I would like for our readers to meet another one: “rule of law.” In fact, Allen has been hinting he’d offer us a full treatise for some time now, but recently, in a fit of rage at me, I thought he offered up a really good summary. It was enough to wake me up fully. I used to believe in the absoluteness of “rule of law,” but no longer. It’s another religion.
I guess my response will have to wait. Rule of law is an ideology … an ideal … just like democracy. Look under the hood, it does not exist. Having rules is important. Sure. Having laws – because laws are rules – is important, too. Fine. Trusting in procedures and institutions to advance the policies of the government. Fine, too. Demanding people do not usurp the power of the government for private gain. Ok, too. But when we talk about rule of law, we are talking about elevating the law of rules to be supreme, that everything submit to it, even above the sovereign, as the epitome of what is right and fair and just….
Doesn’t exist. Just a mirage.
We don’t need rule of law to develop. That’s ideology. We need good leaders, good policies, good systems, good institutions, good rules, good laws … good roads, good economic systems, good agricultural practices, good doctors…… but foremost, we need good leaders … who are accountable to the people … NOT TO LAWS … which is what the “rule of law” demands today …
Hence China can’t have rule of law until they stoop to be constrained by laws … but whose laws, and what laws … and what gives it such high place?