Contributed by: filbert Thursday, January 21 2010 @ 07:49 AM CST
The conflict is thus not, as it has often been misconceived in nineteenth-century discussion, one between liberty and law. As John Locke had already made clear, there can be no liberty without law. The conflict is between different kinds of law--law so different that it should hardly be called by the same name; one is the law of the Rule of Law, general principles laid down beforehand, the "rules of the game" which enable individuals to foresee how the coercive apparatus of the state will be used, or what he and his fellow-citizens will be allowed to do, or made to do, in stated circumstances. The other kind of law gives in effect the authority power to do what it thinks fit to do. Thus the Rule of Law could clearly not be preserved in a democracy that undertook to decide every conflict of interests not according to rules previously laid down but "on its merits."