Good for All of Us

In his American Spectator article "Crony Nation," F. H. Buckley, professor at George Mason University, maintains that the rule of law is necessary for prosperity.

Prosperity fails when corruption erupts, and sadly, America is rife with corruption.

However, we can change this state of affairs by once again making the rule of law central part of our national belief and practice.


Most prosperity cannot in fact be secured without rule of law because the most expensive items are out of the reach of the owner and must be secured by abstract means. A Viking warrior-trader can guard his own possessions by the strength of his good right arm. However that would apply only to possessions within his reach; he can be a captain of his own ship but not a captain of industry. By contrast the massive amounts of prosperity available in modern times assume a minimal amount of trust between traders and in the state that enforces contracts and prevents brigandage. Not indeed trusting the state to be free of corruption; that is not necessary. But trusting that if you leave property in a warehouse and leave it has a reasonable enough chance of being there when you get back.

There is one story of a Moslem prince who was ordered flogged by the local Cadi(market warden). The prince appealed to the Sultan. Whereupon the Sultan backed up the Cadi and ordered the prince flogged. The Sultan knew perfectly well that it was traders that were paying the tariffs that paid for his glorious palace. And that more traders would come to his city if the rules of his bazaar were justly enforced.

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