Thursday, July 06, 2006


A question...

What makes a government legitimate?

I think governments can be made legitimate by unanymous consent of the governed; made pracicable by the right to universal secession.

Or, via the Divine Right of Kings ordained directly by God, of course.

Do we really want to get into this?
I don't see why not...

What about the Son of God?
I read an article about Kim Jong Il and the continuation of the Communist dynasty. Since he (Il) is techniquely the Son of God, how can a government legitimize itself through lineage?

Not really a government at all if there is universal seccession, is it? It is more like a covenant. Does anyone have an example of something like this. A homeowner's association is the closest I can think of, but that is not really universal seccession. You can't wide-load your house out of the neighborhood if you want out--unless its already on wheels! You have to sell and move away and might be made worse because of it.

I guess a fraternal organization might be an example. Or even a gated community.
Obviously, the "Divine Right of Kings" bit was a joke.

Onto Universal Secession. My contention is that consent of the governed is what creates legitimacy. The only way a government can really have consent is to know that everyone, at all times, are part of it voluntarily. Only if given the right to secede, can we be certain that everyone is truly a volunteer.
For me it doesn't seem like a voluntary government is really a government at all.

I think it would be interesting to discuss the divine right of kings as a legitimizing factor for their actions and the activities of a government.
If all government is coercive (involuntary) how can it ever be legitimate?
The only legitimacy is either god-given or self-given.
Self-given legitimacy? I'm not buying it. Power over others cannot come from onesself.
Honestly, that's the way I see it. I don't buy it either. The only way a government legitimizes its monopoly on coercive power is through self-given authority. What else do they do?

Some think that is legitimate. I am not one of them.
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