The Rule of Law.
A foundation of democracy.
All societies I know of have laws. Not all societies codify laws the way that we do.
But in general people are expected to know the law of the land and voluntarily comply.
The rule of law is a bit different.
In many societies the law can change at the whim of a ruler. When that happens you end up with kleptocracies where nobody is safe. I think that history shows that this doesn't work. People just don't spend as much energy developing resources if the resource and be just removed with the stroke of a pen. And in the long run the "the beatings will continue until morale improves" meme doesn't work.
In a democracy laws are hard to make. The political and procedural processes are intense. It takes years to build a majority. This lends a certain momentum to the whole process. This is a feature of the system - not a bug.
Laws are challenged in courts. The legal system is presented all the time with a major constraint. Present decisions have to be seen to be just in terms of past decisions. (Precedence). I think the idea is that if Fred got penalized for a crime it's not fair for Don to be let off for the same crime.
An important aspect of the rule of law is that the agencies that have to enforce the law do it without taking instructions from those in power at the moment. Law enforcement should be "Just gimme the facts ma'am' - not that we are investigating you because a politician doesn't like you.
An important aspect of the rule of law is that it's not good enough for justice to be done in some narrow sense - also justice must be seen to be done in a broader sense. The courts actually do need - ultimately - to be seen to be just. Actions by defendants that claim the court isn't just rightfully draw contempt of court charges.
All of this depends on people being honest and open with each other. It's hard enough to handle sincere disagreements honestly discussed. It's impossible when people lie and are manipulative.
Democracy is progressive but also is profoundly conservative. It's progressive in the way a ratchet is. It's quite hard to make a change, but once the change is made then it's quite hard to undo it. These days its the so-called conservatives who are radical.
I liken the structure of laws in a democracy to the bones in our bodies. They are rigid but also enable us to move. The conservatives now trying to destroy the rule of law are in a way worse than autocrats like Putin. They would drive society hither and yon at the whim of power hungry opportunists.
It may not end well
What do you think?
I open the floor.