How should international law’s role in determining international distributive outcomes, economic and otherwise, affect how we think about its legitimate authority? Domestic institutions’ legitimate authority in respect of distribution derives in large part from their concurrent roles in enabling security and coordination. Internationally, by contrast, functional disaggregation means that distribution must be legitimised in its own right. I begin by distinguishing the phenomenon of Distributive International Law, on which my argument focuses. I next introduce a number of wide instrumental accounts (...) of legitimate authority, including Rawls’ Natural Duty account, Buchanan’s metacoordination view, and Williams’ political realism, showing how each understands legitimacy as an institution-level characteristic, allowing an institution’s success in one area to support its legitimacy in another where it may be less successful. This poses the question of how we distinguish amongst distinct institutions, which I answer by reference to the causal and constitutive (in)dependence amongst activities. This approach explains why distributive legitimacy does not arise as a separate question domestically: we cannot distinguish the state’s security and coordination activities from its distributive activities, so if the former are legitimate then so, ipso facto, are the latter. Internationally, by contrast, these mutual dependencies are limited, requiring that the legitimacy of distribution be established independently of other roles that international law plays. (shrink)
Recent literature on Christian nationalism by sociologists of religion in the United States identifies a perceived novel phenomenon: the fusion of authoritarian governmental forms with Christianity. However, the socio-historical origin of this international trend has been left relatively unexplored. Therefore, the goal of this chapter is to create a single international account that lends itself to future comparative theoretical frameworks and analyses through the term "Christofascism." -/- The chapter can also be accessed on google books at the link included in (...) the description. Finally, order the book on Routledge's website, also linked in the description. (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.
Political instrumentalism claims that the right to rule should be distributed such that justice is promoted best. Building on a distinction made by consequentialists in moral philosophy, I argue that instrumentalists should distinguish two levels of normative thinking about legitimacy, the critical and applied level. An indirect instrumentalism which acknowledges this distinction has significant advantages over simpler forms of instrumentalism that do not.
Law and Morality at War offers a broadly instrumentalist defense of the authority of the laws of war: these laws serve combatants by helping them come closer to doing what they have independent moral reason to do. We argue that this form of justification sets too low a bar. An authority’s directives are not binding, on instrumental grounds, if the subject could, within certain limits, adopt an alternative, and superior, means of conforming to morality’s demands. It emerges that Haque’s argument (...) fails to vindicate the law’s authority over all combatants. (shrink)
I argue for a new conception of practical authority based on an analysis of the relationship between authority and subject. Commands entail a demand for practical deference, which establishes a relationship of hierarchy and vulnerability that involves a variety of signals and commitments. In order for these signals and commitments to be justified, the subject must be under a preexisting duty, the authority’s commands must take precedence over the subject’s judgment regarding fulfillment of that duty, the authority must accept the (...) position and responsibilities of command, and the authority must be sufficiently trustworthy relative to how vulnerable the subject makes herself by deferring. This results in an instrumentalist conception of practical authority that can be favorably compared to Joseph Raz’s famous service conception. The relational conception’s main advantage is that it focuses on the authority as much as the subject, requiring that the authority accept responsibility for the relationship and be sufficiently trustworthy. (shrink)
The Kantian account of political authority holds that the state is a necessary and sufficient condition of our freedom. We cannot be free outside the state, Kantians argue, because any attempt to have the ‘acquired rights’ necessary for our freedom implicates us in objectionable relations of dependence on private judgment. Only in the state can this problem be overcome. But it is not clear how mere institutions could make the necessary difference, and contemporary Kantians have not offered compelling explanations. I (...) present a detailed analysis of the problems Kantians identify with the state of nature and the objections they face in claiming that the state overcomes them. I then sketch a response on behalf of Kantians. The key idea is that only under state institutions can a person can make claims of acquired right without presupposing that she is by nature exceptional in her capacity to bind others. (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.
How can one person’s having political power over another be justified? This essay explores the idea that such justifications must be in an important sense derivative, and that this ‘Derivative Justification Constraint’ bars certain justifications widely endorsed in political and philosophical debates. After critically discussing the most prominent extant articulations of the Constraint (associated with a view often called ‘political instrumentalism’), the essay offers a novel account of what precisely the Constraint bars (in short: justification by appeal to non-derivative goods (...) that include among their elements one person’s ruling over another), what motivates it (in a nutshell: a deeply non-instrumental concern for each person’s moral independence), and what it entails for how we may justify democratic political arrangements in particular. (shrink)
Call “epistocracy” a political regime in which the experts, those who know best, rule; and call “the epistocratic claim” the assertion that the experts’ superior knowledge or reliability is “a warrant for their having political authority over others.” Most of us oppose epistocracy and think the epistocratic claim is false. But why is it mistaken? Contemporary discussions of this question focus on two answers. According to the first, expertise could, in principle, be a warrant for authority. What bars the successful (...) justification of epistocracy is that the relevant kind of expertise does not exist in politics (either because there are no procedure-independent standards of right or wrong in politics, or because, though such standards exist, no one knows better than anyone else what they require). This skeptical position comes, however, at a significant cost: Without the assumption that some political decisions are better than others, and that some people know better than others what these decisions are, it is difficult to make sense of much of our political practice, including how we criticize politicians and choose among candidates for office. The second answer accepts that there is expertise of the relevant sort in politics. It argues, however, that such expertise does not justify political authority because political justifications are subject to special “acceptability requirements.” Since claims to expertise are normally not acceptable to all qualified (reasonable etc.) points of view, they cannot function as premises in the justification of political authority, and the epistocratic claim fails. Yet as a number of critics have pointed out, this (broadly Rawlsian) strategy faces significant problems: it is at least unclear whether the strategy in fact bars all epistocratic conclusions whether there is any principled way to draw the distinction between qualified and non-qualified points of views on which it depends; and whether principled defenses for it are available and internally consistent. This article outlines a third and previously largely overlooked answer, which resists the epistocratic claim without either denying the existence of expertise in politics or invoking special acceptability requirements for political justifications. The only plausible argument for the epistocratic claim, this article argues, focuses on the compensatory role that the expert’s authority plays in correcting the subject’s relative unreliability or other agential shortcomings. The expert’s authority is thus justified only if the subject, by adopting a policy of obeying the expert’s directives, does not face problems that are very similar to the ones that the expert’s authority was meant to solve in the first place. If, for instance, the subject finds it no easier to reliably identify what the expert’s directives require of him than to reliably assess and act on the reasons with which the expert is meant to help him, then the expert’s directives lack the compensatory value that would justify her authority. But if some widely accepted empirical conjectures about politics in a pluralistic political community are correct, then citizens normally either have no reason to adopt a policy of obeying experts, or the experts with regard to whom they have reason to adopt such a policy differ, so that no expert has the kind of general authority over the polity that we associate with political rule. (We may call this the “non-compensation argument” against epistocracy.) The argument is important both because it helps shed light on the proper relation between authority and expertise in general, and because it shows that we can normally reject the epistocratic claim without adopting either the skeptical or the Rawlsian strategy, thus undercutting whatever support these views derive from the mistaken perception that they are necessary for resisting the threat of epistocracy. Finally, because the anti-epistocratic constraints it introduces apply only to justifications of the subjects’ duty to obey, but not to the existence or activities of political institutions as such, the compensation argument can accommodate our anti-epistocratic intuitions without excluding epistemic considerations from the design of political institutions more generally. (shrink)
Robert Nozick and Eric Mack have tried to show that a minimal state could be just. A minimal state, they claim, could help to protect people’s moral rights without violating moral rights itself. In this article, I will discuss two challenges for defenders of a minimal state. The first challenge is to show that the just minimal state does not violate moral rights when taxing people and when maintaining a monopoly on the use of force. I argue that this challenge (...) can be met. The second challenge is to show that the just min-imal state has political authority including, most importantly, the moral power to im-pose duties on citizens. I argue that both Nozick and Mack lack the resources to meet that challenge, and that political authority cannot be deflated. This is an important prob-lem because a lack of political authority also undermines a state’s justness. (shrink)
In the contemporary philosophical literature, political legitimacy is often identified with a right to rule. However, this term is problematic. First, if we accept an interest theory of rights, it often remains unclear whose interests justify a right to rule : either the interest of the holders of this right to rule or the interests of those subject to the authority. And second, if we analyse the right to rule in terms of Wesley Hohfeld’s characterization of rights, we find disagreement (...) among philosophers about what constitutes the conceptual core of political authority: a power-right or a claim-right to rule. In this paper I show that both of these are problematic for a number of reasons. First, if we think that it is only the interests of the holders of a right to rule that justify the possession of authority, the conceptual core of authority must consist in a claim-right. However, this understanding of authority biases our thinking about legitimacy in favor of democratic exercises of power. Second, if we hold such a decisively democratic view of legitimacy, we confront an impasse with respect to addressing global collective action problems. Although it is clear that political authority is necessary or useful for solving these issues, it is doubtful that we can establish global institutions that are democratically authorized anytime soon. The paper suggests an alternative ‘Power-Right to Command View’ of political legitimacy that avoids the democratic bias and allows for thinking about solutions to global problems via global service authorities. (shrink)
Was geht verloren, wenn Staaten zerfallen? Das Auseinanderbrechen von staatlichen Institutionen ist heute eines der drängendsten Probleme der internationalen Politik. Mit Cord Schmelzles Studie liegt nun die erste Monografie vor, die dieses Phänomen aus Perspektive der politischen Theorie und Philosophie untersucht. Ausgehend von einer Analyse der Begriffe Legitimität und Staatlichkeit entwickelt der Autor eine neuartige Theorie der Rechtfertigung von Herrschaftsverhältnissen und des Wertes staatlicher Ordnungssysteme und fragt, wie die internationale Gemeinschaft auf Fälle von Staatszerfall reagieren sollte.
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)
This article argues against the claim that democracy is a necessary condition of political legitimacy. Instead, I propose a weaker set of conditions. First, I explain the case for the necessity of democracy. This is that only democracy can address the ‘egalitarian challenge’, i.e. ‘if we are all equal, why should only some of us wield political power?’. I show that if democracy really is a necessary condition of political legitimacy, then (what I label) the problems of domestic justice and (...) of international legitimacy become intractable. I then argue that the egalitarian challenge is addressed where the requirements of (1) horizontal equality, (2) acceptable vertical inequality, and (3) publicity, are met and where (4) citizens have some institutionalized opportunity for a voice in decisions. I show that these conditions can be realized in non-democratic form and conclude by explaining how the four conditions can be employed to make the problems of domestic justice and of international legitimacy more tractable. Overall, my ambitions are limited. I do not offer an all-things-considered case against democracy but I do show that (some) forms of non-democratic government are permissible. (shrink)
One of the main challenges faced by realists in political philosophy is that of offering an account of authority that is genuinely normative and yet does not consist of a moralistic application of general, abstract ethical principles to the practice of politics. Political moralists typically start by devising a conception of justice based on their pre-political moral commitments; authority would then be legitimate only if political power is exercised in accordance with justice. As an alternative to that dominant approach I (...) put forward the idea that upturning the relationship between justice and legitimacy affords a normative notion of authority that does not depend on a pre-political account of morality, and thus avoids some serious problems faced by mainstream theories of justice. I then argue that the appropriate purpose of justice is simply to specify the implementation of an independently grounded conception of legitimacy, which in turn rests on a context- and practice-sensitive understanding of the purpose of political power. (shrink)
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)
Three concepts—authority, obedience and obligation—are central to understanding law and political institutions. The three are also involved in the legitimation of the state: an apology for the state has to make a normative case for the state’s authority, for its right to command obedience, and for the citizen’s obligation to obey the state’s commands. Recent discussions manifest a cumulative scepticism about the apologist’s task. Getting clear about the three concepts is, of..
Political legitimacy is a virtue of political institutions and of the decisions—about laws, policies, and candidates for political office—made within them. This entry will survey the main answers that have been given to the following questions. First, how should legitimacy be defined? Is it primarily a descriptive or a normative concept? If legitimacy is understood normatively, what does it entail? Some associate legitimacy with the justification of coercive power and with the creation of political authority. Others associate it with the (...) justification, or at least the sanctioning, of existing political authority. Authority stands for a right to rule—a right to issue commands and, possibly, to enforce these commands using coercive power. An additional question is whether legitimate political authority is understood to entail political obligations or not. Most people probably think it does. But some think that the moral obligation to obey political authority can be separated from an account of legitimate authority, or at least that such obligations arise only if further conditions hold. (shrink)
This article raises a principled objection to the privatization of certain core police services. Whereas most of the literature critical of privatizing security services has focused on the negative consequences of doing so (corruption, waste, etc.), the argument here focuses squarely on the standing of private parties to perform police services. According to an important strain of liberal political theory, certain tasks are assigned to the state not because it is deemed to be more efficient at delivering those services but (...) simply because such services must be rendered by a party that acts in the name of the polity as a whole and not in the name of some narrower private interest. The author argues that all those policing functions – such as arrest, search, and detention – that require criminal law justification (because they involve conduct on the part of officers that is generally criminally prohibited) are of this nature. The article also summarizes the different dimensions of the larger privatization debate and traces the development of the debate about legitimate policing in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. (shrink)
Why should one person obey another? Why (to ask the question from the first-person perspective) ought I to submit to another and follow her judgment rather than my own? In modern political thought, which denies that some are born rulers and others are born to be ruled, the most prominent answer has been: “Because I have consented to her authority.” By making authority conditional on the subjects’ consent, political philosophers have sought to reconcile authority’s hierarchical structure with the equal moral (...) standing of governor and governed. Yet such consent accounts of authority have long been deemed problematic on a number of grounds, not the least of which is that few citizens have given their consent to the state under whose laws they live. So unless we are willing to deny the state’s authority over those who have not consented, or revert to the pre-modern assumption of a natural political hierarchy, we must find another way of reconciling authority with our standing as free and equal moral agents. In recent political and legal philosophy, the most influential solution to this problem has been Joseph Raz’s service conception of authority, according to which legitimate authority, while it does not require the consent of the governed, must exist for their sake, or serve them. The normal way to justify someone’s authority, on the service conception, is to show that, by treating her directives as binding, the subjects are likely better to conform to reasons that apply to them anyway. The service conception has, however, recently been criticized (by, among others, Thomas Christiano, Scott Hershovitz, and Jeremy Waldron) for being insufficiently attuned to the significance that procedural, and in particular democratic, features of political and legal institutions have for the justification of their authority. If these ‘democratic critics’ are right, then two commitments that many in the liberal-democratic tradition may find independently attractive turn out to be in tension: the liberal idea that authority is normally legitimate only insofar as it serves its subjects, and the democratic idea that legitimate authority can (and regularly does) rest on fair procedures. In this article I argue that the critics’ arguments rest on a misunderstanding of the service conception; yet their worries point the way to an under-appreciated and interesting view of democracy as an authoritative arbitration procedure. After introducing the service conception’s view of justified authority, I briefly distinguish a broad and a narrow interpretation of it, and suggest that we should embrace the latter to make sense of the idea that political authority serves its subjects (Section I). Next I turn to the objection raised by the democratic critics: the service conception, they say, cannot make room for the intrinsic fairness of democratic procedures because it is preoccupied with the quality of outcomes (Section II). But, I argue, the objection rests on an illicit identification of two different kinds of outcomes: the outcome of the decision-making procedure on the one hand, the outcome or result of treating that first outcome as authoritative on the other. Distinguishing between these is crucial for an adequate understanding of democracy’s authority. While the service conception is indeed organized around the latter, this does not commit it to an exclusive concern with the former; yet it is a singular commitment to the former that is problematic from a democratic point of view (Section III). To bring home this point, I sketch a model of authority as arbitration that is frequently overlooked in recent discussions of authority even though it is centrally concerned with procedural (and ultimately democratic) values and fits squarely into the service conception of authority (Section IV). (shrink)
This chapter contains sections titled: The Ideal of Democracy In Favor of Instrumentalism The Instrumentalist Case against Democracy Democracy and Mutual Respect Rights, Disagreement, and Democracy Political Liberalism The Ideal of Democratic Equality Conclusion Notes.
George Mason University, USA It has been suggested that the production of public goods through a government involves a circularity problem. Since government itself is a public good, how can we use government to produce other public goods? Several solutions to this supposed circularity are offered. Government is a unique kind of public good with some potentially self-generating and self-supporting features. The public goods theory of government remains intact, and this enterprise helps shed some light on the special features of (...) government. Key Words: public goods theory of the state free riders circularity problem. (shrink)
Governments compel their subjects to obey laws and duly empowered commands of public officials. Under what circumstances is this coercion by governments morally legitimate? In the contemporary world, many say a legitimate government must be democratic, and, with qualifications, I agree. (Let us say that in a democracy all nontransient adult residents are eligible to be citizens and each citizen if free to vote and run for office in free elections that determine who shall be lawmakers and top public officials.) (...) More controversially, I hold that what renders the democratic form of government for a nation morally legitimate (when it is) is that its operation over time produces better consequences for people than any feasible alternative mode of governance. (shrink)
The Scylla and Charybdis of institutions of cooperative enterprises are the potential for free riders, on the one hand, and the fact that some people may not value certain public goods. If we go to the one side, we encourage people who do value the public goods but whom cannot be excluded from enjoying them, to refuse to pay their share of the costs of providing them; if we go to the other side and force everyone to pay for them, (...) we make people who do not value the public goods subsidize those who do and who perhaps have gained special control over the agenda of selecting which public goods are to be required. (shrink)