The rule of law is a system based on retribution and punishment, has a long history dating back to Mesopotamian laws, including the Sumerian Code of Lipit-Ishtar and Ur-Nammu and the Code of Hammurabi.
Although the Code of Hammurabi includes many harsh punishments, sometimes demanding the removal of the guilty party's tongue; hands; breasts; eye or ear, Hammurabi’s reputation remains as a pioneering lawmaker who worked—in the words of his monument ”to prevent the strong from oppressing the weak and to see that justice is done to widows and orphans.” The U.S. Supreme Court building features Hammurabi on the south wall of the courtroom, as a marble carving giving honor to historic lawgivers.
But can't we as a society see clearly by now, through history, that laws can be used unjustly against society? And that they often are?
A system of harsh or unrelated punishment creates a society of cowards and liars.
Rules are important. We need them to create flow in society; and there should be consequences when your actions have negative outcome for others. But those consequences should be directly related to the offense and focused around making right our wrongs. And those consequences should come with unconditional compassion and understanding.
No matter who we are or where we live, the rule of law affects us all. It is the foundation for communities of justice, opportunity, and peace—underpinning development, accountable government, and respect for fundamental rights. Research shows that rule of law correlates to higher economic growth, greater peace, less inequality, improved health outcomes, and more education.
We can do much better than we are. The change we require starts with us as individuals.