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Political LegitimacyNOMOS LXI$
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Jack Knight and Melissa Schwartzberg

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479888696

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479888696.001.0001

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Is Political Legitimacy Worth Promoting?

Is Political Legitimacy Worth Promoting?

(p.65) 3 Is Political Legitimacy Worth Promoting?
Political Legitimacy

Amanda R. Greene

NYU Press

This chapter develops and defends a new account of political legitimacy. I argue that a regime is legitimate insofar as it achieves quality assent to rule. Assent to rule is an evaluative assessment of the regime, by its subjects, about whether the regime realizes some goods through the exercise of power and authority. Assent is quality assent just when it is consistent with what I call the minimal claim of ruling, namely, the provision of basic security for all subjects. When legitimacy is characterized in these terms, its achievement will be naturally correlated with the realization of key political goods: non-alienation, stability, and political alignment among subjects. What makes this account distinctive, and attractive, is that it captures the crucial insights from both sides of the theoretical divide in the existing literature on political legitimacy, namely (i) that legitimacy is a good-making feature of a regime, but also (ii) that legitimacy depends upon people’s subjective attitudes.

Keywords:   legitimacy, stability, authority, political obligation

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