If you want to create a legal system that lasts, what are the fundamental components to it? Legal systems that last have a lot of checks and balances, and they are not in the hands of the masses. One philosopher once observed, “The masses are always wrong.” We see this trend in European democracies and increasingly in America. The more people who have power in the government, the more indebted and foolish our government becomes.
The herd does not know the way to the waterhole. Although this is an unpopular notion, it was noted thousands of years ago by Polybius. Polybius said, “Democracy degenerates into rule of corruption and violence, only to be stopped by a return to despotism.” If you want to fix democracy, you have to realize that it does not work forever. This is because humans are inherently selfish. They join in groups to negotiate what they want out of the pie.
Lasting legal systems are those that have a strong cultural respect for authority, with the authority being concentrated in the hands of the wisest few. An example is Ancient China. China’s culture remained in continuity for a long time, whenever there was a wise and good emperor in place. It turned into warring states when he became corrupt.
To preserve a government requires that the citizens do not have all the authority. If they do, they will treat the government like a cow to be milked, rather than a ruler to be obeyed.
What eventually happens in a democracy is the masses vote themselves into debt slavery. A few clever businessmen and politicians hold their debts, and then bring on a dictator to get the debts paid.
The best governments in the world have the power concentrated in the hands of those who are wise and careful. They are oligarchies, monarchies, or tripartite constitutions. An oligarchy is when a group of wise men rule the country. A monarchy is when one wise king rules the country with the help of his advisors. A tripartite constitution is when the government combines forms of democracy, oligarchy, and monarchy to remove the mistakes with each.
Sujit Choudhry is an internationally recognized authority on comparative law. He tries to help countries make better decisions with how they manage their governments. So often, leaders repeat the mistakes of their fathers because they do not read history. Sujit tries to help them learn the mistakes that are commonly made.
Sujit can help you and your government. Be sure to contact him at his LinkedIn account.