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Fri Dec 8, 2017, 03:52 PM

Legitimacy (political)

In political science, legitimacy is the right and acceptance of an authority, usually a governing law or a régime. Whereas "authority" denotes a specific position in an established government, the term "legitimacy" denotes a system of government—wherein "government" denotes "sphere of influence". An authority viewed as legitimate often has the right and justification to exercise power. Political legitimacy is considered a basic condition for governing, without which a government will suffer legislative deadlock(s) and collapse. In political systems where this is not the case, unpopular régimes survive because they are considered legitimate by a small, influential élite. In Chinese political philosophy, since the historical period of the Zhou Dynasty (1046–256 BC), the political legitimacy of a ruler and government was derived from the Mandate of Heaven, and unjust rulers who lost said mandate therefore lost the right to rule the people.

In moral philosophy, the term "legitimacy" is often positively interpreted as the normative status conferred by a governed people upon their governors' institutions, offices, and actions, based upon the belief that their government's actions are appropriate uses of power by a legally constituted government.

The Enlightenment-era British social philosopher John Locke (1632–1704) said that political legitimacy derives from popular explicit and implicit consent of the governed: "The argument of the (Second) Treatise is that the government is not legitimate unless it is carried on with the consent of the governed." The German political philosopher Dolf Sternberger said that "legitimacy is the foundation of such governmental power as is exercised, both with a consciousness on the government's part that it has a right to govern, and with some recognition by the governed of that right". The American political sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset said that legitimacy also "involves the capacity of a political system to engender and maintain the belief that existing political institutions are the most appropriate and proper ones for the society". The American political scientist Robert A. Dahl explained legitimacy as a reservoir: so long as the water is at a given level, political stability is maintained, if it falls below the required level, political legitimacy is endangered.

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* Are we at the stage where our government only has legitimacy because this small elite says it does? If this is true, are we doing ourselves any favors by going along with this charade?

* In terms of moral philosophy, the DC government's legitimacy should clearly be in question when we had legislators more worried about what their donors thought about the tax bill than their constituents. Donors are not anywhere in the Constitution by the way. Are we prepared to call this out? If not here, then where is the line?

* We keep seeing polls and the actions of legislators widely diverge from each other: War on Drugs, Planned Parenthood, and more. What is the reason for this? Why is this sustaining itself? Is it because we are letting it?

* Are we really going to have a Senator who says the rich should get tax cuts because everyone else just spends their money on "booze, or women, or movies" and we have the possibility of having another Senator who says America was great when we had slavery? In what version of our government is this the "most appropriate and proper" way to govern?

* Questioning legitimacy and withdrawing consent to be governed does not require revolution or even bloodshed... but we need to be brave. Can we do it?

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Response to ck4829 (Original post)

Fri Dec 8, 2017, 04:18 PM

1. We are ruled by an oligarchy, rule by the elite. We should consider civil disobedience at some

point.

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Response to Irish_Dem (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 8, 2017, 10:59 PM

3. We totally should. I can't push this book enough.

Trump's not a dictator, not yet anyway, but it has all the things of a regime that we can apply to our joke of a government.

http://www.aeinstein.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/FDTD.pdf

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Response to Irish_Dem (Reply #1)

Sat Dec 9, 2017, 07:21 AM

6. VOTING is a form of civil disobedience and revolt.

Always.

Maybe we shouldn't rush to surrender democracy just because it's not skating along smoothly? Sure, we're weakened by having it so good, never knowing true political adversity, but we need to look inside ourselves and hopefully find capacity for commitment and guts.

Because this whiny abandonment of democracy is every bit as much of a problem as the right's passionate intensity.

Yeats saw it.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.


The "best" of his day were also clearly very far from their own best.





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Response to Hortensis (Reply #6)

Sat Dec 9, 2017, 10:31 AM

8. Just a single form of civil disobedience and revolt

We do need more than "Let's resist by ruminating how bad everything is, ride out this storm for a year, fill out the appropriate paperwork, and then maybe... just maybe we will politically overpower the people who think Sandy Hook was staged... if we get the right amount of votes... in the states where the votes matter... and where there is no voter suppression..."

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Response to ck4829 (Reply #8)

Sat Dec 9, 2017, 10:41 AM

9. Lol. Well, if you weigh in from prison we'll know

this isn't just frustrated hot air and that your expressed contempt for the processes and continuation of democracy is real.

Itm, I'll point out what President Obama has said in different words, that democracy is something you either have or you don't. You can't set it aside when you feel like it and then resume when it suits. It's gone.

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Response to ck4829 (Original post)

Fri Dec 8, 2017, 04:33 PM

2. Good post but you need to include that other concept

power because it is the power of the wealthy over the greedy politicians that is undermining all institutions. Truth be told my favorite American Political Scientist Michael Parenti has demonstrated that American democracy is Democracy for the Few.

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Response to malaise (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 8, 2017, 11:02 PM

4. Reading about him now

Makes a lot of sense. Power can be removed, just like legitimacy. All we need to do is find out how to do it and apply it.

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Response to ck4829 (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 9, 2017, 06:49 AM

5. He has some great videos as well but Democracy for the Few is

available for free - I think up to the 9th edition. I fell in love with his work during my undergraduate days - it was considered oh so radical then.

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Response to ck4829 (Original post)

Sat Dec 9, 2017, 07:24 AM

7. I wonder what Al Frankin would think about this book?

 

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