In Defense of Discretionary Association Theories of Political Legitimacy: Reply to Buchanan

Allen Buchanan has argued that a widely defended view of the nature of the state – the view that the state is a discretionary association for the mutual advantage of its members – must be rejected because it cannot adequately account for moral requirements of humanitarian intervention. This paper argues that Buchanan’s objection is unsuccessful,and moreover, that discretionary association theories can preserve an important distinction that Buchanan’s alternative approach to political legitimacy cannot: the distinction between “internal” legitimacy (a state’s ability to morally justify itself to its own members) and “external” legitimacy (a state’s ability to morally justify itself to humanity more broadly).
Keywords legitimacy  contract  political  Rawls  Locke  humanitarian  aid  human rights  association  international
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