Hayek’s Perception of the ‘Rule of Law’

Leube, Kurt R. “Hayek's Perception of the ‘Rule of Law’.” The Intercollegiate Review (Winter 1976/1977).


“Of society’s many organizations, the biggest one called Government, has the double task of enforcing the general rules of society and providing those services to the citizens which have to be provided by the organization of government. But society itself is not an organization, but a spontaneous order. To help understand governments in relation to society it is useful to keep the two functions apart, distinguishing between legislation and government in a sense in which this distinction was once used, but has been forgotten.

Professor Hayek uses legislation in the sense of the laying down of general rules equally applicable to all citizens and intended to be applied in an unknown number of future instances. Governments consists of the activity of telling those people who are members of the governmental organization what particular things they must do in order to provide specified services to the Government and the people. These tasks must be clearly separated in a free society. They have become hopelessly mixed up in modern developments.”

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