Date: April 2, 2009
Creator: Siddiqi, Ahmed & Ruderman, Richard
Description: This paper discusses research on the subjectivity of state legitimacy. Political philosophers that have attempted to legitimize the state as an objectively just entity have traditionally drawn upon three distinct bases: consent of the ruled, the objectivity just nature of the state's laws, and the state's unique potential to reduce societal harms. This paper attempts to demonstrate the shortcomings of each strategy, specifically with respect to their shared reliance upon practical necessity as a rationalization for the alleged legitimacy of the state. This paper does not attempt to establish a criterion according to which the merit of a given state may be judged, but rather only to demonstrate that the state is, in every case, the mechanism by which the politically powerful impose their will upon society at large.
Contributing Partner: UNT Honors College