Power grows from the barrel of a gun. And the wealthy can purchase a whole lot of guns. There is only one power that has ever managed to even halfway prevent the wealthy from simply taking everything at gunpoint, and that is the power of the People as a whole getting together and using the wealth they produce to buy their own guns to offset the wealthy. We call the organization thus produced "democratic government", and the guns are "police", directed by "laws" produced by "legislators" that are interpreted by "courts" that decide the punishment for those brought at gunpoint before them (said punishment, of course, being enforced at gunpoint too). At least, that was the notion during the 20th century. Today, of course, that all seems rather quaint.
But Tom Engelhardt is only half-right when he says we're living in a post-legal society. We're living in a post-legal society for the rich. If you are an ordinary worker, one of the people who produces the wealth that the rich then steal at gunpoint on their own while returning a tiny portion to you (called "wages" -- note that the rich do not themselves make anything or do anything other than "manage" their "worker" serfs, i.e., they're overglorified slave masters enforcing the wage whip upon their workers), you will find that there is indeed "rule of law" -- that is, you will face "laws" produced by the slave masters, you will face "police" owned by the slave masters, you will face "courts" owned by the slave masters, and you will find yourself in "prison" owned by the slave masters if you in any way attempt to take back some of the goods and services you produce for your slave master. Your slave master will call it "theft" and "trespassing" if you and your fellow serfs decide you're tired of giving the output of your factory to your slave master and decide to instead keep that output and sell it yourselves, cutting the slave master out of the loop. Paramilitary police officers will break in and beat you and haul you out bodily, and then if you attempt to return, they will cage you like an animal for the crime of refusing to be a slave.
Of course, none of this would work if the slaves would refuse to work for their slave masters and instead chose to join together and work for themselves, but the slaves are cowed because the slave masters have vowed to deprive them of all sustenance and housing if the slaves refuse to labor for their slave masters, indeed claim that over 50% of all assets of the nation are "theirs" despite the fact that they built none of it, created none of it, but they wrote up pieces of paper (via their "laws") saying it's theirs so it's theirs. So the slaves go to work every day and accept the pitiful table scraps that the slave masters offer, and they call it freedom.
-- Badtux the Free(*) Penguin
(*) Offer void where prohibited. Attempts to exercise rights implied by the word 'Free' may lead to unemployment, starvation, beatings by armed thugs wearing badges, and lead poisoning. But you are free, citizen!