THE 'RULE OF LAW' AIN'T WHAT IT'S CRACKED UP TO BE
by John Spritzler
November 25, 2019 and updated November 20, 2020 and August 23, 2022
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The November, 2019 episode of Trump vs. the Secretary of the Navy over the handling of a SEAL convicted of a war crime had the liberal press waxing eloquent about the need for the "rule of law." (The Navy Secretary wanted the SEAL to be handled by standard military 'rule of law' justice procedure whereas President Trump overruled that with direct commands.)
Lately, in November of 2020 the pundits are again defending the "rule of law" as they condemn the efforts of President Trump to avoid conceding defeat in the recent presidential election.
Perhaps the origin of the 'rule of law' idea in Anglo-Saxon culture was when the barons made England's King John sign the Magna Carta in 1215 AD.
The aristocracy (barons) wanted some protection against arbitrary (unpredictable and possibly favoring one baron over another unfairly) decisions by the king.
This is STILL what the 'rule of law' means today: it's the way the 'rank and file' (for lack of a better term) of the billionaire plutocracy get some protection against arbitrary decisions by the person they install as the Chief Executive and Commander in Chief.
But in imposing class inequality on ordinary people, and in repressing efforts of ordinary people to throw off the yoke of class inequality, the 'rule of law' ain't what it's cracked up to be. The 'rule of law' might affect HOW the upper class executes its domination over and repression of ordinary people, but it does not impede that domination and impression one iota!
Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos no doubt benefit from the 'rule of law.' We don't.
The question is not, "Is it important to have a 'rule of law'?" The question is, "For what purpose, for which values, should there be a 'rule of law'?"
When there is an egalitarian revolution and the people who value no-rich-and-no-poor equality and mutual aid are in power, and not the people who value inequality and domination of the many by the few, THEN--but not before then!--will it be the time to wax eloquent about the desirability of the 'rule of law,' which is indeed a profoundly important principle for preventing unjust tyrannical power oppressing people.
The very first right in the Egalitarian Bill of Rights that I propose here is all about ensuring the rule of law; it reads as follows:
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary--i.e., in a manner that is not in compliance with formal explicit policies determined by and made public by the Local Assembly--arrest or detention or denial of membership in the sharing economy or the Local Assembly or denial of any other enjoyment or freedom or equal status with all others.