On the European continent, administrative law is often seen through the lense of the relationship between authority and liberty. This is a relationship that is accepted as its own paradigm in the description of the laws of each nation, and which also seeks to reimpose itself as an interpretative model of reference for EU law. The current relevance of the authority-liberty pairing seems, however, to be the fruit of the crisis of the liberal-democratic orders rather than the expression of their intrinsic characteristic. The paper first examines the main deficits of the rule of law in the European context. Eventually, it critically reflects on the autority-freedom opposition and it finally proposes a different paradigm in which the individual (and/or the person) is the base of public power.