The Rule of Law Vs The Rule of People

Basically, there are two kinds of government or rules: the rule of people and the rule of law

The rule of people is manifest in democracy (mobocracy) where majority rule or in dictatorship where the whim of a single man pilots the state. Obviously, the rule of law is preferred above the rule of the mob. However, the appropriateness of the laws is an important question to tackle.

As far as best governance is concerned, the best government is considered to be that which has the least control. In other words, if you have to monitor every act of your subjects you are not a good administrator. For the goal of administration in a healthy setting is freedom, justice, fraternity, and equality.

This also means that the laws of the state do not specifically interfere with every minute detail of the subject’s life so as to keep him in constant terror, insecurity, and uncertainty.

As far as the nature of the laws is concerned, there are two opinions: one group argues that the best laws are those that have the best consequences and these we call the consequentialists; the other group contends that laws reflect the fundamental recognition of the essentially good or evil, and these we call the absolutists.

Obviously, the laws governing any body, be it a great nation or a small organization, cannot be consequentialist; for then, law would become arbitrary. Therefore, a rational recognition of laws becomes important. Thus, the role of a legislator is prominent in administrative settings. The legislator is in reality the governor or leader of the state or organization.

Classically, there are three divisions made of human society: (1) Those governed by reason – they should be leaders (2) those governed by passion – auxiliary and warriors (3) those governed by desire – workers and traders.

The qualities of the leaders – they are the mind of the society, the lawmakers, men in ultimate authority, the rulers. They know the absolutes on basis of which relatives are arbitrated. They are those whose passion and desire is governed by principles and laws. (Josh.1.8; Pr.31.4; Tit.2.6; 1Pt. 1.13; ‘sober’ – ‘be in right mind’ ‘watchful’). Do not lose yourself in the market of common jesting and pleasure.

The qualities of the auxiliary – passionate and zealous; defy death and danger; positive minded, victory oriented, depend on the interpreters of law, the legislators.

The qualities of workers, traders – desire and mood is predominant, fluctuating decisions, money makers, fund-raisers; since mood changes, are easily led away by circumstances, orators, etc.


Domenic Marbaniang, 2007

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