Social expectations, technical progress, European legislation and other international cooperation mechanisms are making difficult demands today in terms of legal coordination. The reaction to this difficulty is frequently a large quantity of special legislation which tends to do more to weaken legal certainty and confidence in the law than to strengthen them. The tightly-woven web of non-constitutional statutes, springing from national as well as international and supranational sources, renders the law less comprehensible, consistent and authoritative. This is related to the public sector’s tendency to focus on pursuing specific goals – for example of environmental or consumer protection, energy or economic policy. The common good is equated to specific regulatory goals, and ultimately to the tasks falling within the functions of the State. The fundamental mandate as expressed in European legislation, namely to create an area of freedom, security and justice, is however neglected in this process. Here, the idea of the law is capable of offering a solution. The idea of the law is that of generality. This finding in ideational history, which was already in evidence in the law in ancient times, and which was particularly stressed in the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries, is now forgotten. Binding requirements of generality, such as those in Art. 19 para. 1, sentence 1, of the German Basic Law (GG), are hardly followed. People can only be equal before a general law. The generalising rule guarantees freedom. It satisfies the principle of the separation of powers because it clearly distinguishes the mandate of parliament from that of the administration. The generality of the law makes the law more comprehensible, the legal system more consistent, and the laws, and hence parliamentary democracy, more effective. The Basic Law and European legislation make demands in terms of generality which differ as to the degree to which they are binding. Some of them are justiciable requirements, whilst others are also only legally-binding standards for the executive and the legislative, but not for judges. The generality of the law furthermore gives rise to rules of wisdom which are derived from legal tradition and which address the legislative bodies, wishing to impart to them new knowledge. Legal calls for the formation of general rules provide major opportunities when it comes to protecting fundamental rights and democracy. The attempt to reinvigorate the old idea of the law is therefore worthwhile.