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Constitutional and Administrative Law - The rule of Law and Human rights - Essay Example

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“Can you deny that by this act [of escaping] which you are contemplating you intend, so far as you have the power, to destroy us, the laws, and the whole state as well1? Thus one of the finest minds in philosophy chose its own end in compliance with the sentence his peers had…
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Download file to see previous pages Was it so hard for Socrates to conclude that he constituted ‘a majority of one2’ on that matter? No doubt Socrates, having believed in the Rule of Law when he was alive sought to die in the same manner. This discussion will seek to explore the notion of the supremacy of law and in light of any exposition obtained will consider whether Socrates could have chosen another way to enlighten us.
The idea of the supremacy of law is ideally one of the fundamental principles in a society, translating into the law being above all and all being subject to the ordinary law of the land. As such there exist a variety of views about the rule of law, forming a spectrum in light of the culture or society in consideration. What is significant is the recognition of the existence of the rule of law in various societies and to mark how this creature has changed shape over the centuries. For instance, half a millennium ago the rule of law would be seen to be present where the monarch ruled by right of conquest and everyone else was subservient to the monarchy. The monarchs were later substituted for ruling senates or governments but the status of the conquered nations would remain the same. This is exemplified by the Greek, Roman and later the British colonial empires where the conquered peoples were subject to the law introduced by the conquerors. Today such a rule would be considered undemocratic and singularly abhorrent.
In the West, freedom had already attained its due significance as long ago as the Battle of Thermopylae and although it has often been in danger since then it is now too deeply ingrained in the system to be rooted out. It is this freedom that has led to liberal democracies and the idea of the rule of law as understood here is different from the eastern-more conservative societies. The supremacy of law in the West is often taken to be a fundamental principle because it gives way to equality, thereby making all equal, with none being above the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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