Democracy and the Rule of Law

By José María Maravall; Adam Przeworski | Go to book overview

Chapter Two
Power, Rules, and Compliance

General Pinochet warned in October 1989, a few weeks before Chile's first democratic elections after the 1988 referendum, that “if someone touches one of my men, the rule of law is over” (si me tocan a uno de mis hombres, se acabó el Estado de Derecho). There seems to be something profoundly paradoxical about the general's subtle warning. It implies that the existence of the rule of law depends on the will of a single person, but part of the meaning of the rule of law is precisely that the institutional order is something other than the product of a single will.

This is usually misunderstood by those who discuss the rule of law. They often affirm that the point is to institute “a government of laws, not of men.” Yet this statement is at best ambiguous. A government cannot consist of laws. A government of laws can only mean that the rulers are bound by what the law establishes, that is, that a government of men complies with the laws. The underlying confusion is also apparent in other, equally misleading phrases that people link to the rule of law, such as “the sovereignty of the law” or “the supremacy of the law.” All this is empty rhetoric. The law, being a human creation, must necessarily be subject to human will. In fact, the very term “the rule of law” is in itself rhetorical.1 The law cannot rule. Ruling is an activity, and laws cannot act.

What all these metaphorical expressions have in common is the assumption that the law somehow stands above men. Because Pinochet,

1 In other languages the term used for the rule of law (e.g., Rechtsstaat, Estado de Derecho)
is free of these metaphysical implications. I am going to consider that, with respect to the
argument I defend in this chapter, there are no significant differences between the doc-
trine of the rule of the law as it has developed in the Anglo-Saxon world and continental
Europe.

I thank Adam Przeworski for his very valuable comments.

-62-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Democracy and the Rule of Law
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 321

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.