Introduction: the rule of law as the common sense of global politics
The rule of law is humanity's greatest creation, the essential precondition of a civilised, just society. (Schuck 2000, p. 454) It is difficult to find anyone, whether in government, foundations, corporations or universities, who does not favour encouraging the rule of law in virtually every country and society. (Upham 2004, p. 280) In an age of images and symbols, elections are easy to capture on film. But how do you televise the rule of law? (Zakaria 2003, p. 156) The rule of law is often presented as preferable to the rule of men or the rule of force, and as I will argue throughout this book, this has become the common sense of global politics, an unquestioned statement about the world in which we live. To make my starting point clear, it seems to me that common sense includes three elements: norms (preferred practices); ideas (arguments and reasons to support such norms); and rhetoric (discussion of the settled character of such practices). Thus, a common sense notion is a set of practices or actions that are regarded as if not natural, then certainly not requiring extensive or detailed justification. When we push we might encounter statements about why these actions are sensible and require little justification, but common sense is mostly seen as unobjectionable and seldom subject to any extensive critical discussion.