Can Political Legitimacy be defined?

Can Political Legitimacy be defined?
  • Can Political Legitimacy be defined?

Political Legitimacy Defies Definition

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy describes Political Legitimacy as ‘a virtue of political institutions and of the decisions-about laws, policies, and candidates for political office-made within them.’

The perspective of Political Legitimacy may differ vastly; from mere ‘creation of political authority by force’ to ‘moral justification by the loyalty and free will of the enlightened citizens,’ there can be several levels of Political Legitimacy. In the democratic form the government is of the people, by the people and for the people; and so the Political Legitimacy is normally evaluated using the parameters like the authenticity of the constitution, fairness of the elections, standard of governance etc.

Legitimacy is a deeper issue than popularity. Particular leaders and policies may be unpopular without generating a desire for a fundamental change of political system. Academic research based on large-scale surveys suggests that: China’s political system enjoys high levels of legitimacy; and this legitimacy has multiple sources. [1]

In an ABS survey (2008), to a proposition, “Although our political system has various kinds of problems, it is still the best that fits our national conditions,” only 11% of the people strongly agreed; 84% somewhat agreed; 4% somewhat disagreed; and 1% strongly disagreed. Obviously we cannot say that Political Legitimacy here is 100%. So it is clear that though we have to agree on Political Legitimacy most of the times, it is only for the purpose of having a working mechanism in position, in spite of obvious gaps.

Can Political Legitimacy be defined?  How do people feel of their government – may be one way?  We want your feedback. There are many ways of describing this — We @ are looking to network with other politics sites.

Interesting note – Julius Caesar divorced his wife Pompeia because of rumors, not because he believed them but because ‘Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion.’


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