Probably, I should not blog about it but I can't help it. So here is the question of the day. What is the "rule of law"?
I am looking right now at the official answer to this question. The "rule of law" is the following:
- everyone must follow the law;
- leaders must obey the law;
- government must obey the law;
- no one is above the law.
I think that it's pretty good answer. When I asked the same question couple weeks ago in Ukraine, I received the following answer: "The rule of law is the respect for the law." I wondered what was the correct Ukrainian translation of the "rule of law". A very intellectual group of Lvivians told me that the rule of law was the respect for the law (ukr. povaga do zakony).
Well, it poses a certain ethical puzzle. In Ukraine people are proud of their respect for the elderly. If you see an old man on a subway or bus, you always give him your seat. It's definitely a sign of respect. Is it the "rule of the elderly"? Definitely, not. None obeys the elderly. Is it the same issue with the law in Ukraine? People respect it but none obeys it. If it's the case, the rule of law does not exist in Ukraine. But I've got a feeling that it's more structural problem than it seems. The current society is full of people who are more likely to respect the law rather than to obey the law. I doubt that it was always like that. I am not sure when the paradigm shift took place. The 1990s definitely aggravated the issue. Can the present society shift back towards the "rule of law"? Yes. The major change will require a social system that rewards people who follow and obey the law. The major change, however, faces the major problem. The system does not exist in Ukraine.