Justice in the Premodern State

Shifting the focus from “Who makes the decision?” to “How is a given decision made?” subjects the process of governing to the power of procedures and, in this way, limits the rulers. This process is carried out through written regulations, without the ruler’s right to decide being called into question. The creation of statutes governing how rulers make decisions has been known since antiquity and has gone through different variations, according to the specificities of the countries and the cultural characteristics of the societies in which they have functioned.

When, in today’s complex world, we are gripped by political fear of the future and we fall into extremes or pessimism, it is important to remind ourselves that we can easily control the power and governments of the countries in which we live. Public discontent on social networks and mass protests for several weeks alone are sufficient for us to change our government. Only a few generations in the history of human civilization have had this comfortable relationship with the government. In the historical perspective, people have improved the condition of their states and political organizations primarily, if not entirely, as a result of crises, wars, or catastrophic decisions by inadequate rulers. Today we have the chance to improve our countries without the help of crises and cataclysms.

In our day, power is fragile, and our rulers are paper tigers who disintegrate into tiny pieces with each more serious flurry of public discontent. That is, the presence in elected political positions of people who are visibly inadequate, or even completely devoid of intellect, should not worry us. We must, however, be horrified by a situation in which people stop putting pressure on those in power. Or when they let the rulers govern without any control.

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