The Expanding Symmetry of the Rule of Law

Giovanni Sartori 'democracy on a large scale is not the sum of many little democracies.’ I ask the same question of the rule of law. If rule of law applied similarly to every subsidiary unit, would this achieve a more complete rule-of-law? Most accounts of the rule of law stress the importance of congruence between law and administration. However, there are differences of emphasis. Some accounts present the rule of law as a set of requirements that rectify officials rather than institutions and this idea has deep roots in the Chinese constitutional and philosophical tradition, but the contrast is fine. Institutions are created and maintained by officials. In this paper, I explain why the distinction is both real and important. As Andrew Nathan observes, government by moral, rather than institutional reform leads to “authoritarianism that says that rules and regulations are powerless … in the absence of indoctrination … and such that indoctrination makes constitutions superfluous.”