Rule of Law
If there is no constraint on a ruler’s power, then he can make whatever rules he pleases and not obey the rules he makes. He can also change the rules whenever he wants. If he doesn’t like someone who owns a business, he can make that business illegal, or create a regulation that he knows will bankrupt it. If he doesn’t like what people say about him, he can make criticism of him illegal. He has total power to punish anyone he wants and to exempt his friends from laws that others must obey.
When government officials can make any laws they please—and hold themselves above the law—there is less economic growth, less creativity, and less happiness. Entrepreneurs won’t be willing to risk time and money starting businesses. Writers and speakers will restrain their words. Everyone will worry that his freedoms can be destroyed at the whim of a powerful government agent.