Sunday, 7 August 2016

Political Legitimacy In The Future

Sean M. Brooks' "Political Legitimacy In The Thought Of Poul Anderson," which was on the top of the blog for a week, is still here, further down the list, and has also been copied to here.

Most of the time, most of the population accepts the status quo and it would therefore be wrong to try to overthrow any current regime by force. Sometimes, it is impossible to continue running society in the old way and a majority wants change. The alternatives are a social breakdown or a new form of social organization.

Any new arrangements must quickly gain legitimacy if they are to last. Poul Anderson's Manuel Argos modeled his new Terran Empire on the ancient Roman Empire, recognizing, for example, that society would be strengthened by granting full citizenship to worthy aliens.

People building a new republic ransack history for examples of best practice. Ian Arnstein, the historian in SM Stirling's Nantucket, becomes a bore on the subject of Greek city-states!

The saying, "The King is dead; long live the King!" (here) expresses continuity but there will also be a continuity of ordered society when someone says, "The office of King is abolished; long live the Republic!" - as happened in pre-Imperial Rome.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Thanks for the nice mention of my "Political Legitimacy" article. And I had noticed how you copied it to the "Poul Anderson Contributors" section of your blog.

Yes, if a regime ruling a nation is not governing too terribly badly and is accepted by most of its people, it would be wrong to overthrow it.

Yes, sometimes a socio/political systems shows signs of breaking down, necessitating reforms and repairs to keep it from totally collapsing. MY fear is that we in the US are approaching the stage we saw in Anderson's Terran Empire during the reign of Josip.

Correct, any new regime has to become accepted as legitimate if it is to LAST. I would argue that while Manuel Argos took some ideas from the Roman Empire, the state he founded lasted a long, long time before a breakdown occurred. And this was probably, in part, because of non human influences also playing a role. Also, later developments in human political philosophy much have also done something to help shape the Terran Empire.