Why is the rule of law so important? Chapman University School of Law professor Tom W. Bell explains how the rule of law is a critical part of a free and tolerant society. The rule of law means that people are not subject to the arbitrary will of others. It means they can engage in activities that others might disapprove of without fear of persecution. When there is rule of law, people can buy property, plan businesses, and otherwise plan for the future with confidence. As Bell explains, the rule of law provides a necessary framework for civil society. To make his argument, Bell draws from such thinkers as Aristotle, John Locke, Thomas Paine, James Madison and Friederich Hayek.