The Rule Of Law Is Not Enough

Charles F. Bingman


One of the most fundamental and cherished concepts advocated for any government is that “rightness” should be defined by the “rule of law”; that is, the basic design and operations of governments as stated in constitutions, enacted laws, the enduring structure of the national justice system, a body of common laws and precedents, and a legal structure of governments in which the powers and authorities are both authorized and limited. Citizen’s rights are protected and their obligations defined under these laws, and usually include the right to take legal action to protect themselves.  The rule of law has long been considered as the principal means by which governments are kept within proper limits.  Even totalitarian governments attempt to hide their arbitrary motives by issuing finely worded constitutions that appear to guarantee a rule of law but that in reality are doomed to be disregarded at the pleasure of the State.

Charles F. Bingman spent 30 years as a U. S. government official in NASA, the Transportation Department and the Executive Office of the President, and he has since taught public management at the George Washington University and the Johns Hopkins U. Washington Center.  He has undertaken consulting assignments in more than a dozen countries including China.  His most recent book is “Why Governments Go Wrong”, iUniverse, 2006.

[1] Concept of the supremacy of regular, as opposed to arbitrary, power; c. the exercise of these powers by those in authority; d. the doctrine that any person is subject to the ordinary laws of the region; e. the As used in this paper, the rule of law is: a.  A set of substantive legal principles and laws; b.  the doctrine that the general constitutional/legal principles are the result of judicial decisions determining the rights of private individuals in the courts.


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