5 Things You Need to Do When There’ll Be No Rule of Law

Mention a dystopia to most people and they’ll probably think of Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Thought Police and Big Brother. That’s understandable, because there are worrying hints of it in our own society – are ideas like no-platforming, safe spaces and misgendering really so different from wrong-thinking and thought-crime? – but there’s a different kind of dystopia that’s a lot more common. Unfortunately it’s just as scary.

The word dystopia itself just means a society that’s unpleasant or frightening. That can mean a brutal, highly centralized authoritarian state like the one ruled by Big Brother’s Party (Orwell modeled it on the Soviet Union under Stalin) – but it can also mean a society where the rule of law has broken down (WROL – without the rule of law), and that’s a lot more common in the world today. For every North Korea there are half a dozen collapsed societies like Somalia or Pakistan. And, while it’s difficult to impose a one-party state and organize things to the point where you have absolute control over what people do and even think, it’s easy for a society to collapse. A natural disaster can do it – think New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Of course, that didn’t last; New Orleans is one city in a big, advanced country and the rule of law was quickly restored. But what if the government was weaker, or society was less stable to begin with? Or what if it isn’t one single event that causes the collapse, but years of neglect? Many countries are a disputed election or an economic crisis away from collapse – and there are even parts of the USA where the rule of law is too fragile to be taken for granted….continue reading

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