Legitimacy (political science)

Legitimacy (political science)

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In political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

, legitimacy is the popular acceptance of a governing law or régime
Regime
The word regime refers to a set of conditions, most often of a political nature.-Politics:...

 as an authority
Authority
The word Authority is derived mainly from the Latin word auctoritas, meaning invention, advice, opinion, influence, or command. In English, the word 'authority' can be used to mean power given by the state or by academic knowledge of an area .-Authority in Philosophy:In...

. Whereas “authority” denotes a specific position in an established government, the term “legitimacy” denotes a system of government — wherein “government” denotes “sphere of influence
Sphere of influence
In the field of international relations, a sphere of influence is a spatial region or conceptual division over which a state or organization has significant cultural, economic, military or political influence....

”. Political legitimacy is considered a basic condition for governing, without which, a government will suffer legislative deadlock(s) and collapse. In political systems where this is not the case, unpopular régimes survive because they are considered legitimate by a small, influential élite.

In Chinese political philosophy, since the historical period of the Zhou Dynasty
Zhou Dynasty
The Zhou Dynasty was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang Dynasty and preceded the Qin Dynasty. Although the Zhou Dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history, the actual political and military control of China by the Ji family lasted only until 771 BC, a period known as...

 (1046–256 BC), the political legitimacy of a ruler and government was derived from the Mandate of Heaven
Mandate of Heaven
The Mandate of Heaven is a traditional Chinese philosophical concept concerning the legitimacy of rulers. It is similar to the European concept of the divine right of kings, in that both sought to legitimaze rule from divine approval; however, unlike the divine right of kings, the Mandate of...

, and that unjust rulers who lose said mandate, therefore lose the right to rule the people.

The Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

-era British social theoretician John Locke
John Locke
John Locke FRS , widely known as the Father of Liberalism, was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social...

 said that political legitimacy derives from popular explicit and implicit consent
Consent
Consent refers to the provision of approval or agreement, particularly and especially after thoughtful consideration.- Types of consent :*Implied consent is a controversial form of consent which is not expressly granted by a person, but rather inferred from a person's actions and the facts and...

: “The argument of the [Second] Treatise is that the government is not legitimate unless it is carried on with the consent of the governed
Consent of the governed
"Consent of the governed" is a phrase synonymous with a political theory wherein a government's legitimacy and moral right to use state power is only justified and legal when derived from the people or society over which that political power is exercised...

.” The German political philosopher Dolf Sternberger
Dolf Sternberger
Dolf Sternberger was a German philosopher and political scientist at the University of Heidelberg. Dolf Sternberger is known for his Concept of Citizenship in German Political Contemporary Thought and for coining the term "constitutional patriotism".- External links :* *...

 said, “Legitimacy is the foundation of such governmental power as is exercised, both with a consciousness on the government’s part that it has a right to govern, and with some recognition by the governed of that right.” The American political sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset
Seymour Martin Lipset
Seymour Martin Lipset was an American political sociologist, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, and the Hazel Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University. His major work was in the fields of political sociology, trade union organization, social stratification, public opinion, and...

 said that legitimacy also “involves the capacity of a political system to engender and maintain the belief that existing political institutions are the most appropriate and proper ones for the society.” The American political theorist Robert A. Dahl
Robert A. Dahl
Robert Alan Dahl , is the Sterling Professor emeritus of political science at Yale University, where he earned his Ph.D. in political science in 1940. He is past president of the American Political Science Association...

 explained legitimacy as a reservoir; so long as the water is at a given level, political stability is maintained, if it falls below the required level, political legitimacy is endangered.

In moral philosophy
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

, the term “legitimacy” often is positively interpreted as the normative
Norm (philosophy)
Norms are concepts of practical import, oriented to effecting an action, rather than conceptual abstractions that describe, explain, and express. Normative sentences imply “ought-to” types of statements and assertions, in distinction to sentences that provide “is” types of statements and assertions...

 status conferred by a governed people upon their governors’ institutions, offices, and actions, based upon the belief that their government's actions are appropriate uses of power by a legally constituted government.

In law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

, “legitimacy” is distinguished from “legality” (see colour of law), to establish that a government action can be legal whilst not being legitimate, e.g. a police search without proper warrant; conversely, a government action can be legitimate without being legal, e.g. a pre-emptive war, a military junta
Government Junta of Chile (1973)
Government Junta of Chile was the military junta established to rule Chile during the military dictatorship that followed the overthrow of President Salvador Allende in the 1973 Chilean coup d'état. It was the executive and legislative branch of government until December 17, 1974...

. An example of such matters arises when legitimate institutions clash in a constitutional crisis
Constitutional crisis
A constitutional crisis is a situation that the legal system's constitution or other basic principles of operation appear unable to resolve; it often results in a breakdown in the orderly operation of government...

.

Types of legitimacy



Legitimacy is “a value whereby something or someone is recognized and accepted as right and proper”. In political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

, legitimacy usually is understood as the popular acceptance and recognition, by the public, of the authority of a governing régime, whereby authority has political power through consent and mutual understandings, not coercion. The three types of political legitimacy are: traditional, charismatic, and rational-legal.

I. Traditional legitimacy derives from societal custom and habit that emphasize the history of the authority of tradition
Tradition
A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

. Traditionalists understand this form of rule as historically accepted, hence its continuity, because it is the way society has always been. Therefore, the institutions of traditional government usually are historically continuous, as in monarchy
Monarchy
A monarchy is a form of government in which the office of head of state is usually held until death or abdication and is often hereditary and includes a royal house. In some cases, the monarch is elected...

 and tribalism
Tribe
A tribe, viewed historically or developmentally, consists of a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states.Many anthropologists use the term tribal society to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship, especially corporate descent groups .Some theorists...

.

II. Charismatic legitimacy derives from the ideas and personal charisma
Charisma
The term charisma has two senses: 1) compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others, 2) a divinely conferred power or talent. For some theological usages the term is rendered charism, with a meaning the same as sense 2...

 of the leader, a man or woman whose authoritative persona
Persona
A persona, in the word's everyday usage, is a social role or a character played by an actor. The word is derived from Latin, where it originally referred to a theatrical mask. The Latin word probably derived from the Etruscan word "phersu", with the same meaning, and that from the Greek πρόσωπον...

 charms and psychologically dominates the people of the society to agreement with the government’s régime and rule. A charismatic government usually features weak political and administrative institutions, because they derive authority from the persona of The Leader, and usually disappear without him or her in power. Yet, a government derived from charismatic legitimacy might continue if the charismatic leader has a successor.

III. Rational-legal legitimacy derives from a system of institutional procedure, wherein government institutions establish and enforce law and order in the public interest. Therefore, it is through public trust that the government will abide the law that confers rational-legal legitimacy.

Forms of legitimacy


Numinous legitimacy
In a theocracy
Theocracy
Theocracy is a form of organization in which the official policy is to be governed by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided, or simply pursuant to the doctrine of a particular religious sect or religion....

, government legitimacy derives from the spiritual authority of a god or a goddess.
  • In Ancient Egypt
    Ancient Egypt
    Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

     (ca. 3150 BC) the legitimacy of the dominion of a Pharaoh
    Pharaoh
    Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

     (god–king) was theologically established by doctrine that posited the pharaoh as the Egyptian patron god Horus
    Horus
    Horus is one of the oldest and most significant deities in the Ancient Egyptian religion, who was worshipped from at least the late Predynastic period through to Greco-Roman times. Different forms of Horus are recorded in history and these are treated as distinct gods by Egyptologists...

    , son of Osiris
    Osiris
    Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

    .

  • In the Roman Catholic Church
    Roman Catholic Church
    The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

    , the priest
    Priest
    A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

    hood derives its legitimacy from a divine source; the Church doctrines establish that the papacy based upon Jesus Christ’s designation of St. Peter as head of the earthly church, thus the sanctity and legitimacy of each pope.


Civil legitimacy
The political legitimacy of a civil government derives from agreement among the autonomous constituent institutions —legislative, judicial, executive — combined for the national common good; legitimate government office as a public trust, is expressed by means of public elections.

Sources of legitimacy



The German economist and sociologist Max Weber
Max Weber
Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber was a German sociologist and political economist who profoundly influenced social theory, social research, and the discipline of sociology itself...

 identified three sources of political legitimacy.
  • Charismatic authority derived from the leader’s charisma
    Charisma
    The term charisma has two senses: 1) compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others, 2) a divinely conferred power or talent. For some theological usages the term is rendered charism, with a meaning the same as sense 2...

    , based upon the perception that he or she possesses supernatural
    Supernatural
    The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

     attributes, e.g. a clan
    Clan
    A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship and descent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor. The kinship-based bonds may be symbolical, whereby the clan shares a "stipulated" common ancestor that is a...

     chieftain, a priestess, or an ayatollah
    Ayatollah
    Ayatollah is a high ranking title given to Usuli Twelver Shī‘ah clerics. Those who carry the title are experts in Islamic studies such as jurisprudence, ethics, and philosophy and usually teach in Islamic seminaries. The next lower clerical rank is Hojatoleslam wal-muslemin...

    .

  • Traditional authority derived from tradition
    Tradition
    A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

    , wherein the governed populace accept that form of government as legitimate because of its longevity by customs, e.g. monarchy
    Monarchy
    A monarchy is a form of government in which the office of head of state is usually held until death or abdication and is often hereditary and includes a royal house. In some cases, the monarch is elected...

    .

  • Rational–legal authority derived from the popular perception that the government's power derives from established law and custom (a political constitution), e.g. representative democracy
    Representative democracy
    Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

    .


Moreover, like the British philosopher Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury , in some older texts Thomas Hobbs of Malmsbury, was an English philosopher, best known today for his work on political philosophy...

, Weber proposed that societies behave cyclically in governing themselves with different types of governmental legitimacy. That democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 was unnecessary for establishing legitimacy, a condition that can be established with codified laws, customs, and cultural principles, not by means of popular suffrage. That a society might decide to revert from the legitimate government of a rational–legal authority to the charismatic government of a leader, e.g. the Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 of Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

, Fascist Italy under Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

, and fascist Spain under General Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

.

The French political scientist Mattei Dogan
Mattei Dogan
Mattei Dogan is a French political sociologist and senior research officer emeritus of the French National Center for Scientific Research and professor emeritus of political science of the University of California, Los Angeles...

’s contemporary interpretation of Max Weber’s types of political legitimacy (traditional, charismatic, legal-rational) proposes that they are conceptually insufficient to comprehend the complex relationships that constitute a legitimate political system in the twenty-first century. Moreover Prof. Dogan proposed that traditional authority and charismatic authority are obsolete as forms of contemporary government, e.g. the Islamic Republic of Iran (est. 1979) rule by means of the priestly Koranic interpretations by the Ayatollah
Ayatollah
Ayatollah is a high ranking title given to Usuli Twelver Shī‘ah clerics. Those who carry the title are experts in Islamic studies such as jurisprudence, ethics, and philosophy and usually teach in Islamic seminaries. The next lower clerical rank is Hojatoleslam wal-muslemin...

 Khomeini. That traditional
Tradition
A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

 authority has disappeared in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

; that the rule-proving exceptions are Islamic Iran and Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

. Furthermore, the third Weber type of political legitimacy, rational–legal authority exists in so many permutations no longer allow it to be limited as a type of legitimate authority.

Forms of legitimate government


In determining the political legitimacy of a system of rule and government, the term proper — political legitimacy — is philosophically an essentially contested concept
Essentially contested concept
In a paper delivered to the Aristotelian Society on 12 March 1956, Walter Bryce Gallie introduced the term essentially contested concept to facilitate an understanding of the different applications or interpretations of the sorts of abstract, qualitative, and evaluative notions — such as...

 that facilitates understanding the different applications and interpretations of abstract, qualitative
Qualitative properties
Qualitative properties are properties that are observed and can generally not be measured with a numerical result. They are contrasted to quantitative properties which have numerical characteristics....

, and evaluative
Evaluation
Evaluation is systematic determination of merit, worth, and significance of something or someone using criteria against a set of standards.Evaluation often is used to characterize and appraise subjects of interest in a wide range of human enterprises, including the arts, criminal justice,...

 concepts such as “Art
Art
Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect....

”, “social justice
Social justice
Social justice generally refers to the idea of creating a society or institution that is based on the principles of equality and solidarity, that understands and values human rights, and that recognizes the dignity of every human being. The term and modern concept of "social justice" was coined by...

”, et cetera, as applied in aesthetics
Aesthetics
Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste, and with the creation and appreciation of beauty. It is more scientifically defined as the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste...

, political philosophy
Political philosophy
Political philosophy is the study of such topics as liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it...

, the philosophy of history
Philosophy of history
The term philosophy of history refers to the theoretical aspect of history, in two senses. It is customary to distinguish critical philosophy of history from speculative philosophy of history...

, and the philosophy of religion
Philosophy of religion
Philosophy of religion is a branch of philosophy concerned with questions regarding religion, including the nature and existence of God, the examination of religious experience, analysis of religious language and texts, and the relationship of religion and science...

. Therefore, in defining the political legitimacy of a system of government and rule, the term “essentially contested concept” indicates that a key term (communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

, democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

, constitutionalism
Constitutionalism
Constitutionalism has a variety of meanings. Most generally, it is "a complex of ideas, attitudes, and patterns of behavior elaborating the principle that the authority of government derives from and is limited by a body of fundamental law"....

, etc.) has different meanings within a given political argument. Hence, the intellectually restrictive politics of dogmatism (“My answer is right, and all others are wrong”), scepticism (“All answers are equally true or [false]; everyone has a right to his own truth”), and eclecticism
Eclecticism
Eclecticism is a conceptual approach that does not hold rigidly to a single paradigm or set of assumptions, but instead draws upon multiple theories, styles, or ideas to gain complementary insights into a subject, or applies different theories in particular cases.It can sometimes seem inelegant or...

 (“Each meaning gives a partial view, so the more meanings the better”) are inappropriate philosophic stances for managing a political term that has more than one meaning. (see: (Walter Bryce Gallie
W. B. Gallie
Walter Bryce Gallie was a Scottish social theorist, political theorist, and philosopher.Bryce Gallie, the son of an engineer, was born in Lenzie, East Dunbartonshire, near Glasgow on 5 October 1912....

)
  • Communism — The legitimacy of a Communist state
    Communist state
    A communist state is a state with a form of government characterized by single-party rule or dominant-party rule of a communist party and a professed allegiance to a Leninist or Marxist-Leninist communist ideology as the guiding principle of the state...

     derives from having won a civil war
    Civil war
    A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state or republic, or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly-united nation state....

    , a revolution
    Revolution
    A revolution is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time.Aristotle described two types of political revolution:...

    , or from having won an election; thus, the actions of the Communist government are legitimate, authorised by the people. In the early twentieth century, Communist parties
    Communism
    Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

     based the arguments supporting the legitimacy of their rule and government upon the scientific nature of Marxism
    Marxism
    Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

    . (see: dialectical materialism
    Dialectical materialism
    Dialectical materialism is a strand of Marxism synthesizing Hegel's dialectics. The idea was originally invented by Moses Hess and it was later developed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels...

    )

  • Constitutionalism — The modern political concept of constitutionalism
    Constitutionalism
    Constitutionalism has a variety of meanings. Most generally, it is "a complex of ideas, attitudes, and patterns of behavior elaborating the principle that the authority of government derives from and is limited by a body of fundamental law"....

     establishes the law
    Law
    Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

     as supreme over the private will, by integrating nationalism
    Nationalism
    Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

    , democracy
    Democracy
    Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

    , and limited government. The political legitimacy of constitutionalism derives from popular belief and acceptance that the actions of the government are legitimate because they abide the law codified in the political constitution
    Political constitution
    A political constitution is a constitution where the legislature is the main check upon executive power. It can be contrasted to a legal constitution, where it is the judiciary which provides the greater checks upon government. In many countries both political and legal checks will be used to...

    . The political scientist Carl Joachim Friedrich
    Carl Joachim Friedrich
    Carl Joachim Friedrich was a German-American professor and political theorist....

     (1901–84) said that in dividing political power among the organs of government, constitutional law effectively restrains the actions of the government. (see checks and balances)

  • Democracy — In a democracy
    Democracy
    Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

    , government legitimacy derives from the popular perception that the elected government abides democratic
    Democracy
    Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

     principles in governing, and thus is legally accountable to its people.

  • Fascism — In the 1920s and the 1930s, Fascism
    Fascism
    Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

     based its political legitimacy upon the arguments of traditional authority
    Tradition
    A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

    ; respectively, the German National Socialists
    Nazism
    Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

     and the Italian Fascists
    Italian Fascism
    Italian Fascism also known as Fascism with a capital "F" refers to the original fascist ideology in Italy. This ideology is associated with the National Fascist Party which under Benito Mussolini ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1922 until 1943, the Republican Fascist Party which ruled the Italian...

     claimed that the political legitimacy of their right to rule derived from philosophically
    Ethics
    Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

     denying the (popular) political legitimacy of elected liberal
    Liberalism
    Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

     democratic
    Democracy
    Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

     governments.

During the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

 (1918–33), the political philosopher Carl Schmitt
Carl Schmitt
Carl Schmitt was a German jurist, philosopher, political theorist, and professor of law.Schmitt published several essays, influential in the 20th century and beyond, on the mentalities that surround the effective wielding of political power...

 (1888–1985), whose legal work as the “Crown Jurist of the Third Reich” promoted fascism
Fascism
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

 and deconstructed
Deconstruction
Deconstruction is a term introduced by French philosopher Jacques Derrida in his 1967 book Of Grammatology. Although he carefully avoided defining the term directly, he sought to apply Martin Heidegger's concept of Destruktion or Abbau, to textual reading...

 liberal democracy, addressed the matter in Legalität und Legitimität (Legality and Legitimacy, 1932) an anti-democratic polemic treatise that asked: How can parliamentary government make for law and legality, when a 49 per cent minority accepts as politically legitimate the political will of a 51 per cent majority?

  • Monarchy — In a monarchy
    Monarchy
    A monarchy is a form of government in which the office of head of state is usually held until death or abdication and is often hereditary and includes a royal house. In some cases, the monarch is elected...

    , the divine right of kings
    Divine Right of Kings
    The divine right of kings or divine-right theory of kingship is a political and religious doctrine of royal and political legitimacy. It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God...

     establishes the political legitimacy of the rule of the Monarch (King or Queen); legitimacy also derives from the popular perception (tradition
    Tradition
    A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

     and custom
    Custom
    Custom may refer to:* Convention , a set of agreed, stipulated or generally accepted rules, norms, standards or criteria, often taking the form of a custom* Customization , anything made or modified to personal taste...

    ) and acceptance of him or her as the rightful ruler of nation and country. Contemporarily, such divine-right legitimacy is manifest in the absolute monarchy
    Absolute monarchy
    Absolute monarchy is a monarchical form of government in which the monarch exercises ultimate governing authority as head of state and head of government, his or her power not being limited by a constitution or by the law. An absolute monarch thus wields unrestricted political power over the...

     of the House of Saud
    House of Saud
    The House of Saud , also called the Al Saud, is the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia and one of the wealthiest and most powerful dynasties in the world. The family holds thousands of members...

     (est. 1744), a royal family
    Royal family
    A royal family is the extended family of a king or queen regnant. The term imperial family appropriately describes the extended family of an emperor or empress, while the terms "ducal family", "grand ducal family" or "princely family" are more appropriate to describe the relatives of a reigning...

     who have ruled and governed Saudi Arabia
    Saudi Arabia
    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

     since the 18th century.

Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

 is a variant form, of monarchic political legitimacy, which combines traditional authority
Tradition
A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

 and legal–rational authority
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

, by which the monarch maintains nationalist
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 unity (one people) and democratic administration (a political constitution
Political constitution
A political constitution is a constitution where the legislature is the main check upon executive power. It can be contrasted to a legal constitution, where it is the judiciary which provides the greater checks upon government. In many countries both political and legal checks will be used to...

).