Legitimate Illegitimacy

We have a president who achieved his office though unconventional – and in some cases, unusual – electoral means in several key states, of that there is little question among honest people. He won despite a personal lockdown in his basement and socially distanced campaign events where the press made up most of his “crowds”, all the while his opponent drew enthusiastic (and often raucous) overflow crowds in the tens of thousands. That Joe Biden, a lifelong politician of little achievement and substance, won the 2020 presidential sweepstakes after living pictures of incongruence played out on our televisions each night for month after month, leaves the rational mind with questions.

Often phrased in this way, “How the Hell did this happen?”, several of the questions are about the same characteristic – legitimacy.

What is legitimacy?

In a 1922 essay titled “The Three Types of Legitimate Rule”, Max Weber, the noted German sociologist and political economist, proposed there are three sources of legitimacy:

  1. Traditional Authority: Legitimacy may rest on an established belief in the sanction of immemorial traditions and on the need to obey leaders who exercise the authority according to the traditions.
  2. Charismatic Authority (Exceptional Personal Qualities): Legitimacy may secondly be based on “devotion to the specific and exceptional sanctity, or exemplary character of an individual person.”
  3. Legal Authority: Legitimacy may rest on the belief that power is wielded in a way that is legal. What is done legally is regarded as legitimate.

If we accept these three aspects as accurate, it seems reasonable that the greatest legitimacy will be achieved by satisfaction of all three criteria and diminished legitimacy would result if there were failings in one or more. It would also seem logical that the opposite of these would lead to illegitimacy, or at least a form of false legitimacy, one marked by doing things “the approved way” and rising to positions of authority through imitations of tradition, presenting exaggerated or false personal qualities to the public or achieving office, status or power thought the use of corrupted legal processes.

I would propose that it is difficult, if not impossible, for a leader to be legitimate if they ascend to their positions through any of the latter.

I speak only for myself when I say that I have issues with how Joe Biden was elevated to the Oval Office.

Since our traditions are those of a representative republic, it could be generally assumed that no person has a right to rule based on “immemorial traditions”; however, it has become a belief within the progressive left that there is a “right to rule” tradition within the Democrat party. That belief verges on believing it is almost a divine right, as the left as adopted the good/evil dichotomy with themselves on the “good” side. The left seemingly has trouble recognizing evil, unless the object of their observation is their opposition, then they know and recognize evil (they think).

Biden charismatic? Only if bland, colorless, anodyne, and subservient personalities attract you. Biden has had a few moments in his career – notably the 1994 Crime Bill, the Clarence Thomas hearings, and becoming Obama’s harmless VP – but for every highlight, there is a lowlight. The self-aggrandizing lying about his personal history, the plagiarism, the hair sniffing, the sexual misconduct allegations, the kowtowing to America’s enemies and his willingness to be manipulated offset anything “good” about his career in public life.

Both of the aforementioned are givens, so now we come to the situation giving me the most pause – the legal authority, in this case, that is the process by which Biden was aided in reaching office by irregularities in the way election rules were changed by various executive and judicial branches of various states, the cavalier handling of both unvoted and voted ballots (mailed out to everybody with an address), the strange events during the counting processes, the statistical improbabilities in the vote counts, the refusal by the judiciary to entertain arguments by using procedural excuses and the final insult, the claims that Congressmen and Senators were insurrectionists for simply trying to use constitutional procedures to authorize an investigation.

I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it – I have no credible evidence that the election was compromised, but by the same token, I have no credible evidence that it was not. I take no comfort in assurances, especially when those assurances are based on even less tangible evidence than that of real and obvious irregularities.

President Biden meets none of Weber’s criteria for legitimacy.

And given that he has accelerated Obama’s “fundamental transformation”, that is a problem for me.

2 thoughts on “Legitimate Illegitimacy

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