The rule of law: beyond state and law

The rule of law is conventionally cast as an ideal for law and applied to states. But the ideal is relevant to all entities in a position to exercise untempered power with harmful effect. And its partisans should be open to any remedies that might help avoid or reduce such dangers. If untempered, arbitrary, power is harmful, then the ideal of the rule of law must follow the power, whatever its source, so long as the harms it can do are significant. And they often are. Significant power can be found in many places, and if one seeks to approach the ideal, one should explore them. And one will need all the help one can get, both to make laws effective, and beyond the law. With the important qualification that ought implies can, and subject to potentially competing values, there is no prima facie reason why non-state power or non-state responses to power should lie outside the domain of the ideal of the rule of law.