John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Saturday, August 25, 2007
  The Rule of Person vs the Rule of Law - Gang Culture
Human beings tend to operate on the basis of the "rule of person". This is not that nice an environment as it depends upon the good will of the person involved. What developed in the UK was that the King first had to operate in accordance with a system of rules in dealing with the Barons (Magna Carta). Then generally the role of the King as a strong state developed into the separation of the estates.

If we ignore the fact that the Family Division has a tendency to work on the basis of who likes whom (mainly in the lower courts although I have seen it in the High Court as well) rather than law we can assume that the courts operate on the basis of the rule of law.

In the absence of the rule of law, however, we devolve back into the "rule of person".

I am not sure what the reasoning was behind the liverpool shooting, but most shootings are gang related. Gangs operate mainly on the basis of the rule of person - the gang leader.

To be protected in an enviroment where the law is weak people associate with gangs for protection.

Interestingly the systems in politics, however, are substantally moreso like tribal groups where elected politicians associate with others and client-patron politics is very strong.

You can, therefore, see patterns of behaviour much like those of gangs, clans and tribes.

I take a relatively unusual view in politics in that I see the need for children to grow up respecting boundaries. Those boundaries will be mainly established by the rule of person (parents, teachers) and can then transfer to the rule of law. However, if they grow up not getting those boundaries then they can be establised by localised gang culture instead.

I take the view that musical culture tends to represent the reality possibly lagging behind, but also possibly emphasising it as well. Hence this is not the route towards improvement. Instead we need to emphasise the role of parents and the role of people "in loco parentis" viz teachers.

On the other hand we are getting much of the usual drivel about solutions. It is important to remember that poverty relative or absolute does not in itself create an environment in which the rule of law has no force. It is, however, true that a "rule of person" society tends to be corrupt with low social capital and as a consequence poor. It is also true that if people have little perceived "stake" in the rule of law that in itself will undermine support for it.
 
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