The absence of all law is anarchy. Which is a state of things that most closely resembles that of having returned to the "law of the jungle". Where each person is a law unto themselves, and governs their actions according to their own selfish will, whether good or bad. Having no respect or regard for anyone or anything else, other than themselves. Which clearly defeats the whole idea of people forming together into a society for their mutual benefit to begin with.
The problem that enters into the picture in regards to the laws of society. Is that those laws are made by those that are chosen to govern. And those that govern are as equally fallible as all of the rest of us. When they are clothed with "authority" and "power", then they have the means to impose their own selfish will on society. For they are plagued by the same selfishness as all of the rest of society is. Which more often than not, is detrimental rather than beneficial to society. For people that have "authority" or "power" often crave more of the same. To the point where they seek total control of every thing and every one, other than themselves of course.
In order to "govern" the governors, written constitutions of society have been adopted down throughout the ages. None of which have been immortal. For, as touched upon in the previous paragraph. Those that have been delegated, or assumed, "authority" and "power" always seek to enlarge the scope of their control. And the only way of accomplishing their lust for even more "control". Is by loosing the bounds that those being governed attempted to bind them with. It is a vicious cycle indeed. And has led to the deaths of hundreds of millions down through the ages.
Words printed on paper "bind" no one. Nor does a good set of moral values always contain those that possess them. Such is the malady of fallen human nature. To give an example; how many of us actually stick with the grocery list we have made before going shopping? My, how we do get distracted by our wants and desires. And this, regardless of how it may effect our budget. And with many, to such an extent that it leads to financial ruin. And this very same scenario applies to those that have "authority" and "power" as well....
The people that framed our form of government, having previously educated themselves concerning the multitudes of mistakes made by predecessors. Finally, after much deliberation and debate, decided that they had come upon a possible solution to this age old problem. The first solution in their minds was to diffuse and separate "power" so that it isn't concentrated into the hands of a very few, or worse; just one. For they themselves had personally experienced the horrific results of "power" lodged in the hands of a very few, or just one. As is the case with a "king", "queen", or even a "dictator".
This was accomplished by branching out "power" into different departments. With each branch having different "authorities" and "powers", yet working together for the same object. And, that due to the assumed natural jealousy that each of these branches would have over their own respective "authorities" and "powers". That the branches would pay careful attention to each other in order to ensure that they didn't cross the boundary lines imposed upon them. And that this "natural jealousy" would prevent the branches from combining together in order to consolidate "power". The fact that there were entirely different governments; state and local, would even further diffuse "authority" and "power". And that "natural jealousy" would cause each of them to keep a careful eye not only on their own respective branches, but on the other governments as well.
This however, would work only if the people that composed the different branches and governments had good moral character. Otherwise, it would form itself into an engine of despotism. And destroy not only the original object for which it was formed; the governing and security of the people that had established it. But destroy itself as well. For the inherent selfishness of those that desire "authority" and "power" doesn't like to have others share in it. So after all is said and done, we find ourselves back to the "law of the jungle". Where only "the strong [and/or most cunning and diabolical] survive".
How is this vicious cycle to be prevented? Was the question that many which were instrumental in forming our governments had pondered. Simple: respectful FEAR.
Just as those that govern have the "authority" and "power" to punish those that have transgressed the law. So do those that are governed have the same "authority" and "power" to punish those that "govern" which have transgressed the "supreme" law. And the severity of the transgression against the governed, by those that govern, dictates the punishment.
For a mild transgression, the offender could face public humiliation and shame. And be condemned to ridicule and distrust by their fellow citizens. For a more flagrant violation, the loss of office - never again to be permitted into a position of honor or trust. Which would effect not only the offender, but their families and livelihood as well. The offender that has criminally abused their "authority" and "power", of course might face fines and or imprisonment in addition to the aforementioned.
Although, all of the previous punishments mentioned seem to have had little to no effect as a deterrent. For not only has it not stopped the abuses of "authority" and "power". But the abuse seems to be more bold, as well as escalating. Many of those that have offended have actually benefited greatly afterward from their offenses. And this by the sale of "books", as well as "speeches", etc. Worse yet, many of these offenders have faced no punishment at all. And have not only been permitted to stay in office and continue their abuses. But have been elevated into higher positions of "authority" and "power" in order to abuse on a much grander scale.
The "long train of abuse" is now readily apparent, but the caboose is nowhere in sight. And history plainly shows, that unless that "train" is derailed. All it will do is take on more freight, gain momentum, and become a "runaway". And soon, all the "brakes" are broken and it is unstoppable.
The only thing that prevents that train from being fueled and loaded to begin with. Is cold, hard, stop it in its tracks; FEAR. And so enters the
All experience proves that the threat of possible immediate retaliation keeps the vast majority of would-be aggressors at bay. This was conclusively proven during the "cold war" between the United States and the Soviet Union. Both of whom had a long history of being quite capable of being aggressive. And just as it is with nations, so it is with individuals. The heat of passion found in those that lust for more "authority" and "power". Is radically cooled by the natural instinct of self-preservation. And when it is quite apparent that an armed people have reserved in themselves the spirit of resistance. It has a decided chilling effect on those prone to be in "heat". It not only stops them in their tracks, but keeps them on the right track.