18 July 2018

“Law and order” politics often undermines the rule of law

“Law and order politics” regularly entails government officials breaking the law. Examples abound: from unconstitutional racial profiling under Joe Arpaio in his time as an Arizona sheriff; to extrajudicial executions of suspected drug abusers under President Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines; to assassination of pro-democracy activists following dictator Augusto Pinochet’s coup in Chile. When individual rights protections stand in the way of policy goals, advocates of “law and order” politics are often more than willing to ignore laws, constitutions, and even the democratic order.

So what is “law and order” politics really about, then? “Law and order politics” is not about the law. Instead, it is all about order.

Amy Erica Smith