America's Founders and Founding Principles

Rule of Law

Rule of Law prevails in societies where laws are written by elected representatives, based on a firm constitutional limits, enforced by an Executive and subject to an unbiased review and support or deletion by the courts.

Thomas Sowell said:

"The most basic question is not what is best, but who shall decide what is best.”

With Rule of Law, people can predict the consequences of their actions.  They can determine the limits within which they may operate a business. Families can plan for their futures knowing the law will determine their fortunes, not the arbitrary whim of another man that may come along a few years in the future.

A Rule of Law makes sane and predictable life possible.  It prevents a politicians who holds power from arbitrarily deciding that a person’s fortune may be arbitrarily taken for some other purpose than the law allowed a few years prior. When the law exists and prevails in society, it doesn’t matter who holds power, they are far less relevant than the law itself.

Rule of law also applies to the observance of just laws by citizens. If your neighbor could just decide to build a fence five feet into your yard, that would not be lawful and would violate rule of law.  If a mob decided that they had suddenly developed the right to burn down a few blocks worth of houses and businesses, then the society has descended into pure lawlessness. Certainly though, laws can be unjust, and peaceful civil disobedience is appropriate to call attention to the injustice of certain laws – like racial segregation in the south (where peaceful civil disobedience ending Jim Crow laws and more!).

Martin Luther King Said:

"I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law."—Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail (1963) 

A “tyranny of the majority” can exist that creates vast injustice and at those times, there is also a violation of natural rights of man such as their life, liberty, and their property rights.

Philosopher and Author Ayn Rand said:
“The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.”

It is the individual, the smallest Minority on earth, that Rule of Law best protects.