According to a prominent argument, citizens in unjust societies have a duty to resist injustice. The moral and political principles that ground the duty to obey the law in just or nearly just conditions, also ground the duty to resist in unjust conditions. This argument is often applied to a variety of unjust conditions. In this essay, I critically examine this argument, focusing on conditions involving institutionally entrenched and socially normalised injustice. In such conditions, the issue of citizens’ duties to (...) resist is complicated. I conclude by considering how my discussions may clarify a contemporary problem about engaging in resistance to aid potential migrants who have been turned away by states in accordance with widely accepted rules. (shrink)
How to respond to unauthorized migration and migrants is one of the most difficult questions in relation to migration theory and policy. In this commentary on Gillian Brock’s discussion of “irregular” migration, I do not attempt to give a fully satisfactory account of how to respond to unauthorized migration, but rather, using Brock’s discussion, try to highlight what I see as the most important difficulties in crafting an acceptable account, and raise some problems with the approach that Brock takes. In (...) thinking about unauthorized migration, both while trying to craft positive policies and while critiquing existing practices, we need to ask if we are most interested in a general account of how to respond to unauthorized migration, one that would apply to the large majority of cases and provide us a default approach, or if we are better served by taking a piecemeal approach, looking at why certain people or certain groups should be exempt from removal, even if they would otherwise be liable to it. In this paper, I will focus primarily on this distinction, and argue that it is at least important to provide an account of the "generic unauthorized". (shrink)
The paper offers a realist account of political obligation. More precisely, it offers an account that belongs to the Williamsian liberal strain of contemporary realist theory (as opposed to a Geussian radical realist strain) and draws on and expands some ideas familiar from Bernard Williams’s oeuvre (thick/thin ethical concepts, political realism/moralism, a minimal normative threshold for distinctively political rule). Accordingly, the paper will claim that the fact of membership in a polity provides people with sufficient reason for complying with those (...) political authority claims whose source is that particular polity. The paper will explain that membership in a polity is constituted not by communitarian identification (Horton), nationhood (Tamir), joined commitment/plural subjectivity (Gilbert), but by the fact that people are stably exposed to political authority claims associated with a particular polity which they find making sense as passing the minimal normative threshold for a distinctively political form of rule (as opposed to the rule of terror or sheer coercion). This political-ethical phenomenon is widely known as political obligation but the paper will argue that the label is in fact a misnomer because it does not refer to a generic obligation. The implications of this account are manifold but two seem especially important: first, the notion of political obligation makes sense even beyond the realm of moralist political theory and, second, realist political theory should pay more attention to the problem of compliance than it used to do. (shrink)
This essay contributes to developing a new approach to political legitimacy by asking what is involved in judging the legitimacy of a regime from a practical point of view. It is focused on one aspect of this question: the role of identity in such judgment. I examine three ways of understanding the significance of identity for political legitimacy: the foundational, associative, and agonistic picture. Neither view, I claim, persuasively captures the dilemmas of judgment in the face of disagreement and uncertainty (...) about who “I” am and who “we” are. I then propose a composite, pragmatic picture. This view casts the question of political legitimacy as an existential predicament: it is fundamentally a question about who you are—both as a person and as a member of collectives. The pragmatic picture integrates rational, prudential, and ethical qualities of good judgment that were heretofore associated with mutually exclusive ways of theorizing legitimacy. It also implies that the question of legitimacy cannot be resolved philosophically. (shrink)
This article identifies an argument in Hobbes’s writings often overlooked but relevant to current philosophical debates. Political philosophers tend to categorize his thought as representing consent or rescue theories of political authority. Though these interpretations have textual support and are understandable, they leave out one of his most compelling arguments – what we call the lesser evil argument for political authority, expressed most explicitly in Chapter 20 of Leviathan. Hobbes frankly admits the state’s evils but appeals to the significant disparity (...) between those evils and the greater evils outside the state as a basis for political authority. More than a passing observation, aspects of the lesser evil argument appear in each of his three major political works. In addition to outlining this argument, the article examines its significance both for Hobbes scholarship and recent philosophical debates on political authority. (shrink)
Vigilantism, commonly glossed as “taking the law into one’s own hands,” has been analyzed differently in studies of comparative politics, ethnography, history, and legal theory, but has attracted little attention from philosophers. What can “taking the law into one’s hands” amount to? How does vigilantism relate to mobs, protests, and self-defense? I distinguish between several categories of vigilantism, identify the questions they are most useful for addressing, and offer an analysis on which vigilantism is a kind of political initiative done (...) for the sake of enacting an immediate realignment of power in a polity in accordance with a political vision. In addition to defining a special kind of political initiative, my analysis helps us understand a range of rhetorical powers related to vigilantism, including some of the ways that attributions of vigilantism can mask instances of self-defense, and attributions of self-defense can mask instances of vigilantism. (shrink)
The thought presented in this short piece is purely hypothetical, or a guess, if you like to put it that way. However, the nature of the mindsponge process will lead to the possibility of bringing our BMF analytics's power into further investigation later on.
Organizations have neither a right to the vote nor a weighty right to life. We need not enfranchise Goldman Sachs. We should feel few scruples in dissolving Standard Oil. But they are not without rights altogether. We can owe it to them to keep our promises. We can owe them debts of gratitude. Thus, we can owe some things to organizations. But we cannot owe them everything we can owe to people. They seem to have a peculiar, fragmented moral status. (...) What explains this? Individualistic views explain this in terms of individualistic notions alone. Such notions don’t invoke any distinctive features of organizations. They just invoke the features of individual members of organizations. Collectivistic views, instead, explain this in terms of collective notions alone. Such notions don’t invoke the features of individual members of organizations. They just invoke the features of those organizations. We argue that neither approach works. Instead, one needs to synthesize the two approaches. Some individual interests, we think, are distinctively collective. We, as individuals, have a distinctive interest in playing a part in successful collective action. From this, so we argue, flows the apparently peculiar, fragmented moral status of organizations. (shrink)
Violence seems to be such that, once it has set in, it is hard to extract. Getting rid of violence appears to require violence. It reproduces only itself. Peace appears but a sheep exposed to predators. If the world were to abruptly become peaceful, it would only await the next Thrasymachus to reimpose tyranny. This sticky nature of violence and how to cope with it are the most potent themes of this much-needed work. It provides a fair though critical overview (...) of the subject of politics and violence through history. Violence and Political Theory examines a judicious selection of political thinkers, from Hobbes and Locke to Gandhi and Ruddick, on their notions of the role of violence in political life. (shrink)
Some authors have argued that legitimacy without authority is possible, though their work has not found much uptake in mainstream political philosophy. I provide an improved model how legitimate political institutions without authority are possible, the Transmission Model, which I couple with a thin substantive position, the Moral Value View. I defend the model against three common objections.
In this essay I question the liberal faith in the efficacy and morality of citizenship education (CE) as it has been traditionally (and is still) practiced in most public state schools. In challenging institutionalized faith in CE, I also challenge liberal understandings of what it means to be a citizen, and how the social and political world of citizens is constituted. I interrogate CE as defended in the liberal tradition, with particular attention to Gutmann’s ‘conscious social reproduction’. I argue that (...) CE in practice does not operate on the bases of non-repression or non-discrimination, and has weak claims for legitimacy. In fact, CE in many forms reproduces social inequalities, and contributes to the expulsion of disadvantaged students from schools and from the ranks of recognized citizens. (shrink)
Philosophical anarchists claim that all states lack political authority and are illegitimate, but that some states are nevertheless morally justified and should not be abolished. I argue that philosophical anarchism is either incoherent or collapses into either statism or political anarchism.
A prominent way of justifying civil disobedience is to postulate a pro tanto duty to obey the law and to argue that the considerations that ground this duty sometimes justify forms of civil disobedience. However, this view entails that certain kinds of uncivil disobedience are also justified. Thus, either a) civil disobedience is never justified or b) uncivil disobedience is sometimes justified. Since a) is implausible, we should accept b). I respond to the objection that this ignores the fact that (...) civil disobedience enjoys a special normative status on account of instantiating certain special features: nonviolence, publicity, the acceptance of legal consequences, and conscientiousness. I then show that my view is superior to two rivals: the view that we should expand the notion of civility and that civil disobedience, expansively construed, is uniquely appropriate; and the view that uncivil disobedience is justifiable in but only in unfavorable conditions. (shrink)
Standard accounts of civil disobedience include nonviolence as a necessary condition. Here I argue that such accounts are mistaken and that civil disobedience can include violence in many aspects, primarily excepting violence directed at other persons. I base this argument on a novel understanding of civil disobedience: the special character of the practice comes from its combination of condemnation of a political practice with an expressed commitment to the political. The commitment to the political is a commitment to engaging with (...) others as co-members in the on-going political project of living together. I show how such an understanding of civil disobedience is superior to the Rawlsian strain of thought, which focuses on fidelity to law. Rawls was concerned with civil disobedience solely in the context of overriding political obligation. The project of characterizing a contestatory political practice that can be distinguished and used in a wider variety of contexts than Rawls is concerned with, including under illegitimate regimes, beyond the nation-state, or on behalf of anarchism, requires a different understanding of civil disobedience. (shrink)
In this short paper I hope to use some ideas drawn from the theory and practice of civil disobedience to address one of the most difficult questions in immigration theory, one rarely addressed by philosophers or other theorists working on the topic: How should we respond to people who violate immigration law? I will start with what I take to be the easiest case for my approach—that of so-called “Dreamers”—unauthorized immigrants in the US who were brought to this country while (...) still children (often as infants) and who have spent the majority of their lives in the US. Members of this group have engaged in wide-scale protests, making the civil disobedience paradigm all the more plausible. I will then move on to the case of unauthorized immigrants who have engaged in protests, but who do not fall into the “Dreamer” category. Finally, I will consider whether thinking about immigration law violations from the perspective of civil disobedience—and the proper response to that—can help us think about immigration enforcement more generally. (shrink)
Staaten beanspruchen für sich das Recht, Gesetze geben und mit Zwangsgewalt durchsetzen zu dürfen. Doch unter welchen Bedingungen haben sie dieses Recht tatsächlich? -/- Das ist die grundlegendste Frage der Politischen Philosophie. Obwohl wir die Autoritätsansprüche des Staates oft als selbstverständlich hinnehmen, erscheinen sie moralisch durchaus fragwürdig, wenn man Personen als frei und gleich begreift. Wie können wenige Parlamentsmitglieder das Recht haben, für Millionen Menschen verbindliche Gesetze zu erlassen? Wie können Polizeibeamte und Richter das Recht haben, diese Gesetze gegenüber Personen (...) durchzusetzen, die sie ablehnen? In diesem kurzen, verständlichen und anregenden Buch stellt Fabian Wendt die fünf wichtigsten Theorien politischer Autorität aus der zeitgenössischen Politischen Philosophie vor. Er diskutiert darüber hinaus den Anarchismus, der als Alternative ernst zu nehmen ist, falls alle Begründungsversuche politischer Autorität fehlschlagen sollten. (shrink)
From citizens paying taxes to employees following their bosses’ orders and kids obeying their parents, we take it for granted that a whole range of authorities have the power to impose duties on others. However, although authority is often accepted in practice, it looks philosophically problematic if we conceive persons as free and as equals. -/- In this short and accessible book, Fabian Wendt examines the basis of authority, discussing five prominent theories that try to explain how claims to authority (...) can be vindicated. Focusing in particular on the issue of how states can rightfully claim authority, he rigorously analyses the theories’ arguments and evaluates their strengths and weaknesses. He also debates anarchism as an alternative that should be taken seriously if no theory ultimately succeeds in explaining state authority. -/- This clear and engaging book will be essential reading for anyone grappling with the most fundamental questions of authority and obligation in political theory and political philosophy. (shrink)
Any social and political arrangement depends on acceptance. If a substantial part of a people does not accept the authority of its rulers, then those can only remain in power by means of force, and even that use of force needs to be accepted to be effective. Gramsci called this acceptance of the socio-political status quo “hegemony.” Every stable state relies primarily on hegemony as a source of control. Hegemony works through the dissemination of values and beliefs that create acceptance (...) and that serve the interests of the state and/or the ruling elite (the “hegemones”). Hegemony is most efficient if it remains invisible. A key hegemonic belief is the idea that there is no alternative to the current socio-political status quo or that the way things are is “natural.” The current hegemony – that is, the set of values and beliefs that bolster the current socio-political status quo – is a hegemony of psychopathy: it promotes “cultural psychopathy” and destroys empathy and compassion, thus threatening everything that makes us human. The hegemony of psychopathy is responsible for massive human suffering. It must be fought and replaced with a counter-hegemonic set of values and beliefs that promote compassion and care. Fighting hegemony requires fighting the “pillars” that support it. Most important among these are the mass media and culture industry, and mainstream economics. The former is responsible for a continuous stream of hegemonic propaganda; the latter – among others – for providing a pseudo-scientific justification for the false belief that there is no alternative. The book concludes with some considerations on tactics and strategy in the struggle against the hegemony of psychopathy, but does not – and cannot – offer any concrete advice. (shrink)
The variety of religious communities present in today’s western-European countries, and their subsequent political impact, urgently calls for a new model of articulation between church and state, religion and politics. This essay makes some suggestions for one such model based on Saint Augustine’s sermons and letters. In those writings, Augustine shows us the everyday political practices of his Christian community – practices based on which this article proposes a model where both the religious communities are entitled to be present in (...) the public arena, and the political authorities have the tools to assure peace and order. For that reason, revisiting Augustine’s work is crucial for a contemporary reflection on the relationship between state and church. Finally, this essay also systematizes the Augustinian distribution of political tasks between Monks, Christian laity, Christian magistrates, and Bishops. (shrink)
Certain non-voluntarists have recently defended political authority by advancing two-part views. First, they argue that the state, or the law, is best (or uniquely) capable of accomplishing something important. Second, they defend a substantive normative principle on which being so situated is sufficient for de jure authority. This paper uses widely accepted tenets to show that all such defenses of authority fail.
It is rare to find a book in political philosophy whose arguments successfully utilize both ideal and non-ideal theory. Rarer still does one find a book in political philosophy that takes seriously the proposition that the oppressed are not merely passive victims to injustice, but rather rational and moral agents, capable of making meaningful and informed choices concerning those things they have reason to value. Dark Ghettos does both.
Recent debate in the literature on political obligation about the principle of fairness rests on a mistake. Despite the widespread assumption to the contrary, a person can have a duty of fairness to share in the burdens of sustaining some cooperative scheme even though that scheme does not represent a net benefit to her. Recognizing this mistake allows for a resolution of the stalemate between those who argue that the mere receipt of some public good from a scheme can generate (...) a duty of fairness and those who argue that only some voluntary action of consent or acceptance of the good can generate such a duty. I defend a version of the principle of fairness that holds that it is the person’s reliance on a scheme for the provision of some product or service that generates duties of fairness to share in the burdens of sustaining the scheme. And, on this version, the principle of fairness is politically significant: regardless of whether the citizen has a duty to obey the law, she will still have important political duties of fairness generated by her reliance on the various public goods provided by those society-wide cooperative schemes sustained by the sacrifices of her fellow citizens. (shrink)
On a proceduralist account of democracy, collective decisions derive their jus- tification—at least in part—from the qualities of the process through which they have been made. To fulfill its justificatory function, this process should ensure that citizens have an equal right to political participation as a respectful response to their equal status as agents capable of self-legislation. How should democratic participation be understood if it is to offer such a procedural justification for democratic decisions? I suggest that, in order to (...) overcome the structural procedural disadvantages affecting the actual, effective opportunities that citizens who hold nonmainstream views have to exercise their right to political participation, the enhancement of such opportunities requires securing space for contestation. Against this background, I vindicate the (currently underestimated) role of conscientious objection as a form of political participation. (shrink)
How could a state have the moral authority to promulgate and enforce laws that citizens are thereby obliged to obey? That is the problem of political authority. The Consequentialist Explanation of Political Authority contends that great social benefits depend upon there being a state with political authority. In his book, The Problem of Political Authority, Michael Huemer considers different types of explanation of political authority and he rejects them all. I show that the objections he raises to consequentialist accounts are (...) confused and that they fail to connect with the Consequentialist Explanation of Political Authority. Huemer argues that anarchy of a particular kind would be better than the states that exist in current Western societies. I explain why that argument, if it were successful, would be an effective objection to the Consequentialist Explanation of Political Authority. (shrink)
This paper gives a novel reading of the argument addressed by the Laws of Athens to Socrates in Plato's Crito. Many philosophers have suggested that the argument of the Laws is merely a weak 'rhetorical sop' to Crito. However, I offer an interpretation of that argument that brings out its plausibility, particularly in the context of the post-Oligarchic demos of early fourth-century Athens. For on Crito's plan, Socrates would have undermined a critical form of civic trust in Athens, not by (...) merely disobeying the sentence imposed on him by the jury, but by openly displaying the legal impunity of the rich. -/- We can call this 'legal trust.' By that coinage, I mean citizens' faith in their fellow citizens' willingness and ability to collectively defend the law---to enforce it against the powerful, and refrain from acting to undermine that capacity. When the members of a democratic political community recognize one another's commitment to their legal system, they are able to defend the laws that hold their democracy together; in such a state, the laws are both conceptually constitutive of democratic authority and practically necessary for democracy. -/- Taken in the context of the strategic structure of the Athenian legal system, in the appeal to the filial loyalty Socrates owed the Laws we can see just such an account of the interweaving of law, trust, and citizenship in the preservation of a democracy. The Laws demand that Socrates be trustworthy, and thereby refrain from undermining his fellow citizens' trust in them, where that trust is necessary for the citizens' collective defense of the democratic legal system; they make this demand on Socrates in virtue of the Laws' role in Socrates's identity as citizen. (shrink)
This article explores a concept of artistic transgression I call aesthetic disobedience that runs parallel to the political concept of civil disobedience. Acts of civil disobedience break some law in order to publicly draw attention to and recommend the reform of a conflict between the commitments of a legal system and some shared commitments of a community. Likewise, acts of aesthetic disobedience break some entrenched artworld norm in order to publicly draw attention to and recommend the reform of a conflict (...) between artworld commitments and some shared commitments of a community. Considering artistic transgressions under the concept of aesthetic disobedience highlights often-overlooked features of modern artworld practices. Most significantly, it draws attention to the deliberative participation of a wide variety of citizens of the artworld, including not just artists and performers but also members of audiences, in the transformation of the rules and boundaries of the artworld itself. (shrink)
Much has been written about the possibility of human trust in robots. In this article we consider a more specific relationship: that of a human follower’s obedience to a social robot who leads through the exercise of referent power and what Weber described as ‘charismatic authority.’ By studying robotic design efforts and literary depictions of robots, we suggest that human beings are striving to create charismatic robot leaders that will either (1) inspire us through their display of superior morality; (2) (...) enthrall us through their possession of superhuman knowledge; or (3) seduce us with their romantic allure. Rejecting a contractarian-individualist approach which presumes that human beings will be able to consciously ‘choose’ particular robot leaders, we build on the phenomenological-social approach to trust in robots to argue that charismatic robot leaders will emerge naturally from our world’s social fabric, without any rational decision on our part. Finally, we argue that the stability of these leader-follower relations will hinge on a fundamental, unresolved question of robotic intelligence: is it possible for synthetic intelligences to exist that are morally, intellectually, and emotionally sophisticated enough to exercise charismatic authority over human beings—but not so sophisticated that they lose the desire to do so? (shrink)
The moral principle of fairness or fair play is widely believed to be a solid ground for political obligation, i.e., a general prima facie moral duty to obey the law qua law. In this article, I advance a new and, more importantly, principled objection to fairness theories of political obligation by revealing and defending a justificatory gap between the principle of fairness and political obligation: the duty of fairness on its own is incapable of preempting the citizen‟s liberty to reciprocate (...) fairly in ways other than obeying the law. This justificatory gap is unaffected by the ongoing debate between the voluntarist and the nonvoluntarist accounts of fairness, and it cannot be bridged by the two arguments that are perhaps implicit in Klosko‟s account, namely the presumptive benefits argument and the democratic procedure argument. (shrink)
Sobrepondo-se ao ideal que se impõe à teoria política que circunscreve a sua atividade à busca do bem comum e se detém, por essa razão, na investigação dos princípios capazes de viabilizar a instauração do bom governo, a perspectiva de Maquiavel, através do fundamento da experiência e das exemplificações da historialidade, converge para a descoberta de leis que possibilitem a fundação de um Estado, a obtenção do poder e a sua conservação, a instituição da ciência empírica da política, que, caracterizada (...) pela objetividade e realismo, demanda, no âmbito da relação que envolve ética e política, uma distinção entre a moral privada e a moral pública, implicando uma correspondência com a interpretação de Weber, que analisa os fundamentos do poder e imputa ao Estado a condição de detentor da violência “legítima”, identificando a política como uma relação de dominação e a possibilidade do exercício de duas éticas, a saber, a “ética das últimas finalidades” (“ética da convicção”) e a “ética da responsabilidade”. (shrink)
Political authority is the moral power to impose moral duties upon a perhaps unwilling citizenry. David Enoch has proposed that authority be understood as a matter of "robust" duty-giving. This paper argues that Enoch's conditions for attempted robust duty- or reason-giving are, along with his non-normative success condition, implausibly strong. Moreover, Enoch's attempt and normative- success conditions ignore two facts. The first is that success requires that citizens be tolerant of modest errors by the authority, which means that, in conditions (...) of modest error, performing as directed must have a non-instrumental, intrinsic value. The second is that an attempt to exercise authority involves an intention to trigger a moral principle endowing conforming performances with intrinsic value. The mystery of political authority is the mystery of how official directives could possibly suffice to endow conforming performances with intrinsic value. (shrink)
In his recent book Democratic Authority, David Estlund defends a strikingly new and interesting account of political authority, one that makes use of a distinctive kind of hypothetical consent that he calls ‘normative consent’: a person can come to have a duty to obey another when it is the case that, were she given the chance to consent to the duty, she would have a duty to consent to it. If successful, Estlund’s account promises to provide what has arguably so (...) far remained elusive: the basis for the authority of suitably democratic laws. In this paper, I argue that, despite its promise, the account Estlund develops is, in a crucial respect, incoherent: the principle of normative consent that he offers relies on a claim about a hypothetical situation, but the hypothetical situation at issue is one that, according to the principle itself, is morally impossible. (shrink)
This analysis challenges the discourse of "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness." Drawing on prior research and historical literature it offers an in-depth discussion of the flawed contextual framework and fundamental problems of The New Jim Crow. It establishes that The New Jim Crow paradoxically excludes an analysis of mass incarceration’s most central and defining factors, its most salient, affected and revolutionary voices (especially the voices of African Americans), and shows how the book engages in (...) a paradoxical counterrevolutionary protest that misleads readers about the context, causes and possible remedial methods of mass incarceration in the United States. In extension, it suggests that readers, students and would-be agents of social change move “toward détournement of The New Jim Crow,” or toward a discovery of “the strange career of The New Jim Crow.”. (shrink)
Aeon Skoble and other libertarians fail to show that libertarianism supports anarchism. The focus on whether persons would rationally consent to the state misses the issue. Instead, the truth of anarchism depends on whether all or most persons actually have consented to the state. Tacit consent to the acquisition of property rights in previously unowned things provides us with a model as to how valid consent might occur. However, whether persons actually have done so is an empirical issue.
The concept of authority crosses many social sciences, but there is a lack of common taxonomy and definitions on this topic. The aims of this review are: to define the basic characteristics of the authority relationship, reaching a definition suitable for the different domains of social psychology and social sciences; to bridge the gap between individual and societal levels of explanation concerning the authority relationship, by proposing an interpretation within the framework of social representations. The authority relationship can be conceived (...) as a negotiation of meanings and it is closely linked to shared value orientation and the attribution of meanings negotiated within a society. We assume that the authority relationship is socially constructed and represents both a shared representation of society and a normative principle of social life. A multidisciplinary approach is adopted, crossing definitions and studies provided in sociology, political science, law and social psychology. (shrink)
In this paper I outline a theory of legitimacy that grounds the state’s right to rule on a natural duty not to harm others. I argue that by refusing to enter the state, anarchists expose those living next to them to the dangers of the state of nature, thereby posing an unjust threat. Since we have a duty not to pose unjust threats to others, anarchists have a duty to leave the state of nature and enter the state. This duty (...) correlates to a claim-right possessed by those living next to them, who also have a right to act in self-defence to enforce this obligation. This argument, if successful, would be particularly attractive, as it provides an account of state legitimacy without importing any normative premises that libertarians would reject. (shrink)
This article adopts the framework set out in ‘Associative Political Obligations’ to ask two further questions about the theory of associative political obligation. (i) Which of the different interpretations of the theory of associative political obligation is most plausible? And (ii) what would be the implications of such a view? It is argued that (i) the most attractive version of the argument is one according to which such obligations obtain only in morally acceptable communities, and only between what may be (...) called ‘thick’ members. And (ii) that such a theory should give up on at least some of the conclusions that associativist theorists have tried to defend, such as that associative political obligations can establish the legitimacy of states. However, it is also suggested that this should not be considered a regrettable retreat. (shrink)
Facing a decline of meta-narratives and the political subjects associated with them, substraction (‘Entzug’) has been proposed as a political strategy that seems more apt to present times. Drawing on Hegel’s ‘Philosophy of Right’ and Benjamin’s ‘Critique of Violence’, this paper argues that substraction too requires a meta-narrative and a political subject if it shall be a viable political strategy.
In many African states, numerous different pre-colonial systems of power – such as kingships, sultanates or chieftaincies – which have a traditional legitimacy often confirmed in colonial and post-colonial times, have survived till our day. Their role in the contemporary republican state has been studied by many African intellectuals, and the views of Kwame Anthony Appiah, a thinker originating from Ghana, are of particular interest. He believes that in order to understand the significance of traditional authority and the phenomenon of (...) its continued existence in contemporary Africa, it is important to consider the source of its legitimacy. Appiah presents various sources – symbolic, religious and state – from which local African rulers derive the right to exert power and to exact obedience from their subjects. He minimizes the significance of most of these, however, and concludes that the basic source of legitimacy for traditional authority in the contemporary African state is the fact that this power, being a very important point of reference for the group over which it is wielded, reinforces its members’ sense of self-respect, and helps form their identity. He uses this idea to attempt to reconcile the continued existence of African power systems with liberal theory. Appiah, who is very unfavorably disposed towards most political and social hierarchies, views the political rights of individuals as the rights of citizens, not as the rights of persons who are the depositaries of some attributed or hereditary status. He enumerates the costs, in terms of liberal principles, of allowing traditional monarchy to persist. In his view, it is contrary to the liberal principle of public offices being open to persons of merit for the king of the Ashanti to be chosen from among persons of royal lineage. Such a perspective should generate a generally negative attitude towards the monarchy of the Ashanti, a people from whom Appiah originates, and yet he views Ashanti’s traditional monarchy as a source of pride. Published in "Africana Bulletin" 2010, No. 58, pp. 47-74. (shrink)
Krzysztof Trzciński, Źródła legitymacji tradycyjnego władztwa we współczesnej Afryce jako przyczynek do lepszego zrozumienia jego roli i fenomenu trwania, "Afryka" 2009, t. 29-30, s. 47-70. Legitymacja należy do kluczowych zagadnień myśli politycznej i jest nierozerwalnie powiązana między innymi z takimi terminami jak państwo, władza, obywatele, poddani, prawa i obowiązki. Pojęcie legitymacji jest niezwykle ważne i być może właśnie z tego powodu jego istota stanowi temat wielu dyskusji. W tym artykule nie będziemy jednak analizować sporów definicyjnych. Ograniczymy się do podejścia, jakie (...) proponuje Roger Scruton, unikając przedstawienia ścisłej definicji. Termin ‘legitymacja’ określa, jego zdaniem, to samo, co pojęcia ‘prawomocność władzy’ bądź ‘prawowite panowanie’. Gdy rządzący dzierżą władzę nie posiadając do tego uprawnienia, wówczas mówimy, że władza jest przez nich wykonywana bez legitymacji. Legitymacja dotyczy relacji między obywatelami (poddanymi) a władzą państwową lub – jak ma to miejsce na przykład w Afryce Subsaharyjskiej – lokalnym władztwem tradycyjnym. Pojęcie legitymacji odnosi się przede wszystkim do tak podstawowych zagadnień jak podporządkowanie się obywateli (poddanych) decyzji władz oraz prawo władzy państwowej (lub tradycyjnej) do ograniczania wolności obywateli (poddanych). Legitymacja była istotnym problemem politycznym na przestrzeni ludzkich dziejów i we wszystkich obszarach świata. Również i dziś stanowi aktualną kwestię. Władza we współczesnych państwach demokratycznych czerpie legitymację z woli elektoratu wyrażonej w wyborach. Nawet w takim wydawałoby się idealnym stanie rzeczy legitymacja niejednokrotnie stanowi przedmiot dyskusji. Seymour Martin Lipset pisze w tym kontekście o ‘szacunkowości’, czy też względności legitymacji i uważa, że ludzie w państwie uznają istniejący w nim system polityczny jako posiadający legitymację lub nie w zależności od tego, czy wartości systemu odpowiadają wartościom przez nich wyznawanym. I tak na przykład, gdy prezydentem demokratycznego państwa zostanie popierany przez nas kandydat, automatycznie uznajemy jego władzę za legitymowaną. Jeśli jednak wybory prezydenckie wygra osoba, której nie darzymy poparciem czy zaufaniem, wówczas zdarza się nam podważać jej legitymację, zwłaszcza gdy została wybrana na urząd w sytuacji niskiej frekwencji wyborczej. W państwach pokolonialnej Afryki problem legitymacji jest daleko bardziej skomplikowany niż w świecie zachodnim. Podczas gdy Max Weber wyróżnił trzy czyste typy prawomocnego panowania (legalne, tradycyjne i charyzmatyczne) w państwie, David Beetham uznał, że typologia ta jest nieadekwatna ze względu na różnorodność rodzajów władzy, które istniały w XX wieku. Pogląd Beethama odpowiada po części sytuacji w Afryce, gdzie w przypadku wielu pokolonialnych państw przetrwały różne lokalne systemy władzy przedkolonialnej (królestwa, sułtanaty, wodzostwa) o legitymacji tradycyjnej, przy jednoczesnym istnieniu na poziomie ogólnopaństwowym panowania legalnego lub quasi-legalnego, mniej lub bardziej zgodnego z państwowym porządkiem prawnym. (shrink)
Claude Ake was interested in how the depoliticization of African societies has led to their existing in a state of permanent crisis, and, in particular, to the impossibility of their development. He understood depoliticization as a situation where the right to possess a political sphere of life is withheld from most members of the state and, at the same time, politics is monopolized by those in power. He showed the error of seeing the African crisis primarily as an economic crisis (...) and emphasized that in the literature concerning African problems it was mistakenly assumed that African political elites were interested in development. Ake’s thoughts about the connection between, on the one hand, authoritarian power and the depoliticization of African societies, and, on the other, the lack of development does not exhaust the question of the crisis of the African state. But his opinions are valuable as an African viewpoint, which is not often taken into account. (shrink)
Mengzi believed that tyrannical rulers can be justifiably deposed, and many contemporary scholars see this as evidence that that Mengzi endorsed a right of popular rebellion. I argue that the text of the Mengzi reveals a more mixed view, and does so in two respects. First, it suggests that the people are sometimes permitted to participate in a rebellion but not permitted to decide for themselves when rebellion is warranted. Second, it gives appropriate moral weight not to the people’s judgments (...) about the justifiability of rebelling, but rather to certain affections and behaviors that closely track their life satisfaction. I contend that in both respects the permissions Mengzi grants the people fall short of a proper right of rebellion. I conclude that the more historical account of Mengzi’s “just revolt theory” suggests an intriguing division of justificatory labor, and note some of the advantages of this account. (shrink)
The central purpose of this paper is to sketch the logic of being a democrat. That is, what is involved in being a democrat will be defined and delineated. I shall proceed by first examining Richard Wollheim's alleged paradox of democratic theory. Wollheim's solution to the paradox will then be shown to be unsatisfactory. Next, the concept of being a democrat will be clarified. The stage will then be set for showing that Wollheim's alleged paradox of democratic theory dissolves upon (...) discerning what a democrat qua democrat is committed to believe. In the process of clarifying what is involved in being a democrat and dissolving the alleged paradox of democratic theory, it will become evident that one popular argument often levelled against resistance to democratic law is without foundation. This is the argument that any democrat who conscientiously disobeys valid democratic law is necessarily behaving inconsistently with his democratic principles; and, therefore, if someone does conscientiously disobey valid democratic law, it proves he is not ‘really’ a democrat after all. (shrink)