Maintaining the “rule of law” is always pontificated by the powerful as a necessary good of both Western and Eastern Civilization as a means to protect the weak from the powerful, and “rule of law” is almost always used by the powerful interchangeably with “system of justice”. Historically, there is no reason for such pontificating nor with such synonymous use of these terms. What should be pontificated upon is the “rule of power” and the means to control it — including controlling the power of the law. The rule of law is only concerned with maintaining a given social status quo. It is the rule of power that changes the status of quo. In terms of pragmatics, a “system of injustice” is as much a rule of law as a system of justice, in practice they are the same: justice and injustice are two sides of the same coin and both necessarily serve to maintain the powerful few in power over the many. Rather than protecting the weak from the strong, the rule of law and its social system of norms called “justice” serve to protect the few strong from the many weak who in combination, if allowed, would overcome and kill the few in power resulting in chaos, anarchy, and the creation of a new powers-that-be. This is the nature of reality that is accepted by the rule of power but not by the delusional rule of law called justice.
Philosophers of law are always crying about the horrendous state of existence in which humanity would be absence “the rule of law” consisting of constant random and arbitrary violence absence — that is if humanity were still ruled by the law of the jungle in which the strongest rule by force over the weakest. They seem to ignore that the law of the jungle is as much a rule of law as their version of it in which the law holds a monopoly on violence. Without doubt, historically, the primitive state of humanity was and would be a violent one in the absence of an organized system of so-called justice to control personal vendetta and retribution for all actual or perceived injustices among humans. The recent book “War in Human Civilization” by Azar Gat accurately delineates how Thomas Hobbes’ view of the primitive state of humanity was much more accurate than the Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s view of it. Of course this crying comes from philosophers of law — including Hobbes and Rousseau — who are all either members of the ruling class of their society or its house servants. What these house servants ignore or fail to state is that a system of injustice working as a rule of law will serve the same purpose. The inmates of a modern maximum security prison in the United States live in society maintained by the rule of law in which random and arbitrary violence is more absent than in any rule of law community outside of prison. The same could be said of the rule of law in North Korea or in any efficiently operated military dictatorship — or even of the military. Any efficiently run rule of law will eliminate the constant random and arbitrary violence of our primitive state: either a system of justice or injustice. No honest review of history or the workings of social struggles would support a view that “the rule of law” is intended to defend the weak from the strong, but rather the intent is to protect the few strong from the many weak whose power in a conglomeration would be greater than those few.
Anyone not among nor working for the powers-that-be who contemplates the reality of social interactions between the strong and the weak whether in a primitive state or in any state would realize that the individual who wants to live and survive in life wants power, wants to be strong, and will grab power over the weak when given the chance. I am not saying this as if it were an evil, it is the reality of life. Even if a group of humans loves each other, cooperate, and get along in peace as most seem to preach they want, nature will not cooperate with this goal. Eventually there will occur a natural occurrence such as disease, famine, cold, heat, flooding, or some other “Act of God” that will force a peaceful community of humans into a battle against nature to survive. In this battle, the strong will survive, the weak will not. By ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ I am not referring to physically strong or weak nor any popular conception of evolution — which has nothing to do with the scientific concept of evolution operating essentially as a statistical spreadsheet for sense experience of those who survive and those who do not. Who are the strong and the weak in any given situation is dependent on the situation. The defining characteristics of those who will survive in any given struggle for power over nature will be those with the strongest will to power over it and all parts of it, including their fellow and sister humans, plus being lucky. Sometimes this will to power will be physical, other times mental, others social, and so forth, depending on the nature of the struggle for power.
Living in a modern technological society, we have lost sight of the misery and struggle over nature by our ancestors that has gotten us here and that is hidden by technology though the struggle against nature is the motivating force of all life, human or not. The individual is faced with a few existential truths about life that must be accepted to live: “I exist”; “there is something out there that is not I”; and “I need power over that something to live.” If anyone reading this wants to contemplate this reality, I suggest Sand Pebbles Podcast.
When these individual existential realities become social, we have social classes and class struggles that also are not evils: they are a necessary part of reality. There is no basis in reality to hope for a Marxist end to social classes and class struggle: they are the substance and essence of reality. For some reason, God hates the poor and weak and wants to keep them poor and weak. The poor and weak must struggle to overcome this reality; they can only do so when they unite enough to overcome it; but despite any material progress they are doomed to fall back into being the poor and weak. This is the rule of power. If anyone reading this wants to contemplate this reality, again I suggest Sand Pebbles Podcast and Between World and Us. As summarized by George Orwell in is book 1984:
Throughout recorded time, and probably since the end of the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people in the world, the High, the Middle, and the Low. They have been subdivided in many ways, they have borne countless different names, and their relative numbers, as well as their attitude towards one another, have varied from age to age: but the essential structure of society has never altered. Even after enormous upheavals and seemingly irrevocable changes, the same pattern has always reasserted itself, just as a gyroscope will always return to equilibrium, however far it is pushed one way or the other.
This is the reality accepted by the rule of power. This is the reality ignored by the delusion, a delusion perhaps intentionally created, of the rule of law. The law is just another means by those in power to stay in power. Slavery, forced colonialism, forced imperialism, apartheid, and all evils of which those worshiping the rule of law complain were all legal in their day. It is delusional to maintain that the evil powers of the rule of law can or must be corrected not by simply removing the evil powers but by giving the rule of law new and different powers that will eventually become just as evil as those powers eliminated. The power of the rule of law will on its own try to expand and magnify and will expand and magnify as needed to keep the powers-that-be in power. To maintain and grow as a civilization, non-lawyers, honorable lawyers not part of the law’s 1984 Outer Party, and those not part of any given system of justice/injustice must acknowledge and be guided by the rule of power to fight and minimize as much as possible the law’s expansion and magnification in any form: Jim Crow laws are as evil as civil rights laws; legally enforced integration is as bad as legally enforced segregation; and so forth. Social bonding; communities of cooperative individuals; and creating empathetic communities of diverse individuals but not communities of different colors, races, and sexes who think and act the same and hate all who think differently require the absence of the rule of law as a secular religion not its presence. From the Roman plebes to the present working classes, it is only their knowledge of the rule of power and their acting upon it that creates civilization.