Political AuthorityMarrie Angela D. Santiago x Jeffrey Angelo R. Gorith
Political Authority
• Authority
– power that people accept as right
• Power
– the ability to influence or control the beha...
Therefore…
• Political Authority
– Is the power of the government to enact laws and
control the behavior of the people
Political Authority
• How we govern ourselves today? Under what
arrangements do we live together in society?
– We are gove...
Political Authority
• It would not be going too far to say that
today…
WE ARE CREATURES OF THE STATE.
Political Authority
• Human History
– Tribal societies – small scale
• Authority might rest in the hands of the village el...
• Impact on people’s lives was limited
– They neither attempted to regulate them nor
provided most of the goods and servic...
Political Authority
• Political authority was woven into
the social fabric in such a way that its
existence seemed relativ...
Political Authority
• The only arguments that took place were
about
– Who in particular should wield it
– Whether it shoul...
Political Authority
• The problem of political authority
has preoccupied political
philosophers for the last 500 years.
Political Authority
• When we say the state exercises political
authority, what do we mean?
– Two sides
• People generally...
Political Authority
• These two sides are complementary
– Those who do keep the law out of a sense of
obligation are encou...
Political Authority
• Political authority then…
–Neither pure authority nor pure force,
but a blend of the two
• Combines ...
Political Authority
• But the question remains…
Why do we need it?
Political Authority
Thomas Hobbes vs. Anarchists
Political Authority
• Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan (1651)
– Political rule is one of the ferocious competitions for
the neces...
Political Authority
“In such condition, there is no place of Industry; because the
fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequ...
Political Authority
• Hobbes reaches pessimistic conclusion
– People are naturally selfish or greedy, and will
therefore t...
Political Authority
• Without political authority = mistrust = fear of others
–Turns life into ‘a perpetuall warre of
ever...
Political Authority
• Was Hobbes’s pessimism justified?
– Critics
• If we look around us, we can find enough evidence of
p...
Political Authority
• Although Hobbes has low opinion of human
nature, his real point…
– In the climate of fear that would...
Political Authority
We need political authority because it
gives us the security that allows us to
trust other people, and...
Political Authority
• But how can we create authority where it
does not exist?
– Hobbes envisaged everyone gathering toget...
Political Authority
• Anarchists
– Say societies can govern themselves perfectly well
without political authority
– The st...
Political Authority
• Anarchists
– Two directions
• Towards community
• Towards the market
Political Authority
• Towards community – Communitarian
anarchists
– Communities as the building blocks that make
trust an...
Political Authority
• Towards community – Communitarian
anarchists
– It can also be attained in a larger scale
• Small com...
Political Authority
• Towards community – Communitarian
anarchists
– That makes them believe that there is no need for
a c...
Political Authority
• Critics
– What is wrong with this peaceful picture of life
without the state?
• It is no longer appl...
Political Authority
• Critics
– Cooperation between communities is also less
straightforward than the anarchist picture
su...
Political Authority
• Towards market – Market anarchists
(Libertarians)
– We could contract and pay individually for the
s...
Political Authority
• E.g. If my neighbor steals, I would call my
protective agency
– What if the neighbor disputes my cla...
Political Authority
• There would be…
– Primary market – protective services
– Secondary market – arbitration services
Political Authority
• Critics
– It is impossible for everyone to sign up with the
same protective agency. And since there ...
Political Authority
• We would be slipping back into Hobbes’s
condition of
– “Warre where every man is enemy to every man”
Political Authority
• And in this condition…
– The only rational decision for each person is to
sign up with the agency th...
Political Authority
• The other services that the state now provides
would also be handed over to the market
– Health insu...
Political Authority
• There is another problem with relying on the
market to carry out all the functions that
states now p...
Political Authority
• Could these goods be provided through an
economic market?
– Critics
• The market operates on the bas...
Political Authority
• We need Political authority with the power to
compel in order to ensure that these goods
are provide...
Political Authority
• Therefore, since neither communities nor
markets can replace political authority and its
embodiment,...
Political Authority
• But there is still one crucial question that
needs to be answered…
– Why should I obey it, when it t...
Political Authority
• Political Philosophers call this…
– ‘The Problem of Political Obligation’
The Problem of Political Obligation
• Why should we obey the law?
– Of course, one reason is we are likely to be
punished ...
The Problem of Political Obligation
• Two solutions
– Consent approach
– Appeal to fairness or ‘fair play’
The Problem of Political Obligation
• Consent approach: First solution claims…
– We are obliged to obey because we have ag...
The Problem of Political Obligation
• Let’s transfer the argument to the state
– Generally speaking, people do not choose ...
The Problem of Political Obligation
• Hobbes:
– We choose to belong to the state because it is
preferable to the state of ...
The Problem of Political Obligation
• Problem:
– But Hobbes’s argument stretches the idea of
consent beyond recognition
– ...
The Problem of Political Obligation
• John Locke (Second Treatise of Government,
1689):
– We all accept benefits from the ...
The Problem of Political Obligation
• Problem:
– We really have little choice about accepting these
benefits: we cannot li...
The Problem of Political Obligation
• Other ideas
– When we take part in elections, we agree to
comply with the government...
The Problem of Political Obligation
• But unfortunately, there still seems a gap
between voting and registering your conse...
The Problem of Political Obligation
• Perhaps the voters’ consent can help explain
why governments have legitimate authori...
The Problem of Political Obligation
• Appeal to fairness of ‘fair play’
– E.g. A group of us are living in a house with a
...
The Problem of Political Obligation
• Why ought I to do this?
– I have benefited from the work the others have
put in and ...
The Problem of Political Obligation
• There’s no need to assume that I have
agreed/consented to take part in cleaning rota...
The Problem of Political Obligation
• Let’s transfer the idea to political obligation
– Keeping the law, and complying wit...
The Problem of Political Obligation
• Compliance is a benefit to others.
– When you pay your taxes, the rest of us benefit...
The Problem of Political Obligation
• Difficulties on justifying. First…
– We have to show that the benefits the state
pro...
The Problem of Political Obligation
• The argument can work, however, so long as
the whole package of benefits makes
every...
The Problem of Political Obligation
• Second…
– What would a fair distribution of social benefits
look like, given that pe...
The Problem of Political Obligation
• It seems that the preferred solution requires
us to tackle the issue of SOCIAL JUSTI...
of 63

Political Authority

Pol Sci 303 class
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Published in: Presentations & Public Speaking      
Source: www.slideshare.net


Transcripts - Political Authority

  • 1. Political AuthorityMarrie Angela D. Santiago x Jeffrey Angelo R. Gorith
  • 2. Political Authority • Authority – power that people accept as right • Power – the ability to influence or control the behavior of people • Political – Of, relating to, or dealing with the structure or affairs of government, politics, or the state
  • 3. Therefore… • Political Authority – Is the power of the government to enact laws and control the behavior of the people
  • 4. Political Authority • How we govern ourselves today? Under what arrangements do we live together in society? – We are governed by the state that wields unprecedented power to influence our lives • Provides us with basic protection against attack on our persons and possessions • Regiment us in countless ways, laying down the terms on which we may make our living, communicate, travel to and fro, raise children, and so on • Supply us with a huge range of benefits – health care, education, roads, etc
  • 5. Political Authority • It would not be going too far to say that today… WE ARE CREATURES OF THE STATE.
  • 6. Political Authority • Human History – Tribal societies – small scale • Authority might rest in the hands of the village elders, who would meet to settle any disputes that arose among the members of the tribe, or interpret tribal law – Larger scale • Supreme authority rested in the hands of kings/emperors
  • 7. • Impact on people’s lives was limited – They neither attempted to regulate them nor provided most of the goods and services that modern states provide Political Authority
  • 8. Political Authority • Political authority was woven into the social fabric in such a way that its existence seemed relatively uncontroversial.
  • 9. Political Authority • The only arguments that took place were about – Who in particular should wield it – Whether it should be divided between different bodies
  • 10. Political Authority • The problem of political authority has preoccupied political philosophers for the last 500 years.
  • 11. Political Authority • When we say the state exercises political authority, what do we mean? – Two sides • People generally recognize it as authority – Obey the law – they think that the body has the right to do so, they have to comply • People who refuse to obey – But are compelled to do so because of threat of sanctions
  • 12. Political Authority • These two sides are complementary – Those who do keep the law out of a sense of obligation are encouraged to do so by knowing that people who break it are likely to be punished – So people who comply with authority voluntarily know that they are protected from being taken advantage of by less scrupulous persons
  • 13. Political Authority • Political authority then… –Neither pure authority nor pure force, but a blend of the two • Combines authority proper with forced compliance
  • 14. Political Authority • But the question remains… Why do we need it?
  • 15. Political Authority Thomas Hobbes vs. Anarchists
  • 16. Political Authority • Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan (1651) – Political rule is one of the ferocious competitions for the necessities of life – Hobbes has experienced the absence of political authority during English Civil wars – the picture he painted of life in its absence was unremittingly bleak. – Natural condition of mankind: without political rule, leaving people in constant fear, and constantly inclined, therefore, to strike at each others first
  • 17. Political Authority “In such condition, there is no place of Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no Culture of the Earth; No navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the Life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
  • 18. Political Authority • Hobbes reaches pessimistic conclusion – People are naturally selfish or greedy, and will therefore try to grab as much for themselves as they can when unrestrained by political authority. But his real point is… • Cooperation between people is impossible in the absence of trust, and that trust will be lacking where there is no superior power to enforce laws • It is not safe to expect people to work together and do their part in the absence of political authority
  • 19. Political Authority • Without political authority = mistrust = fear of others –Turns life into ‘a perpetuall warre of every man against his neighbor’
  • 20. Political Authority • Was Hobbes’s pessimism justified? – Critics • If we look around us, we can find enough evidence of people trusting, cooperating, and even helping each other with nothing expected in return, without any involvement by the state – E.g. group of neighbor may decide to repair a derelict playground, form a team, divide up the work, without any legal agreement or means of enforcement
  • 21. Political Authority • Although Hobbes has low opinion of human nature, his real point… – In the climate of fear that would follow the breakdown of authority, the kinder, more trusting, side of human nature would be destroyed – And from what we know of human behavior when people are caught up in civil war and other situations in which their survival is at stake, he seems to have been right
  • 22. Political Authority We need political authority because it gives us the security that allows us to trust other people, and in a climate of trust people are able to cooperate to produce all those benefits that Hobbes listed as signally lacking in the ‘natural condition’
  • 23. Political Authority • But how can we create authority where it does not exist? – Hobbes envisaged everyone gathering together and covenanting with one another to establish a sovereign who would rule them from that day forward; alternatively, they might submit themselves individually to a powerful man
  • 24. Political Authority • Anarchists – Say societies can govern themselves perfectly well without political authority – The state is essentially a racket run for the benefit of those who hold positions of power – Believe social cooperation is possible in the absence of political authority
  • 25. Political Authority • Anarchists – Two directions • Towards community • Towards the market
  • 26. Political Authority • Towards community – Communitarian anarchists – Communities as the building blocks that make trust and cooperation between people possible • Small community – Social order is easy to maintain; makes it possible to have cooperation – One of the most important human motives is a desire to be accepted and respected by those around you, even if people are not saints
  • 27. Political Authority • Towards community – Communitarian anarchists – It can also be attained in a larger scale • Small communities will agree and collaborate to exchange services with one another • These communities voluntarily know that if they break that agreement, other communities won’t be able to cooperate with them in the future.
  • 28. Political Authority • Towards community – Communitarian anarchists – That makes them believe that there is no need for a central authority to tell people what to do – the system will be effectively self-policing
  • 29. Political Authority • Critics – What is wrong with this peaceful picture of life without the state? • It is no longer applicable in this modern times – Societies are highly mobile » There’s a need for a legal system that will track down and punish people
  • 30. Political Authority • Critics – Cooperation between communities is also less straightforward than the anarchist picture supposes • For loyalty to your own community frequently goes along with a fairly intense distrust of others, and agreements may therefore collapse • We need the state – can impose solution: it can require each person or each community to contribute a certain amount, say through taxation.
  • 31. Political Authority • Towards market – Market anarchists (Libertarians) – We could contract and pay individually for the services that the state now provides – Including crucially for personal protection • In the absence of the state, agencies would offer to protect clients and their property – includes retrieving property that had been stolen, enforcing contracts, and obtaining compensation for personal injury.
  • 32. Political Authority • E.g. If my neighbor steals, I would call my protective agency – What if the neighbor disputes my claim and calls his agency which may be different from mine? • If the two agencies cannot agree, they may refer the case to an arbitrator, who again would charge for services • After all it is not in the interest of either agency to get into a fight
  • 33. Political Authority • There would be… – Primary market – protective services – Secondary market – arbitration services
  • 34. Political Authority • Critics – It is impossible for everyone to sign up with the same protective agency. And since there is no authority proper, the other party can always fight back because it is not obliged to recognize the agency of the other party – Each agency would need force to protect their clients’ rights • This would mean that increasingly disputes would have to be settled by physical force, with the risk to ordinary people of being caught in the cross-fire
  • 35. Political Authority • We would be slipping back into Hobbes’s condition of – “Warre where every man is enemy to every man”
  • 36. Political Authority • And in this condition… – The only rational decision for each person is to sign up with the agency that is likely to win the most fights • Result: to create a body with the power and authority to impose the same body of rules on everyone – in other words, we would inadvertently have recreated the state
  • 37. Political Authority • The other services that the state now provides would also be handed over to the market – Health insurance, pay for education, pay to use toll roads, etc
  • 38. Political Authority • There is another problem with relying on the market to carry out all the functions that states now perform • Provision of what are called ‘public goods’ – benefits that everyone enjoys and that no one can be excluded from enjoying – Clean air, water, access to roads, parks, etc » These goods are created either by imposing restrictions on people or by raising taxes and using the revenue to pay environmental protection, transport systems, etc
  • 39. Political Authority • Could these goods be provided through an economic market? – Critics • The market operates on the basis that people pay for goods and services they want to use while with public goods, they are provided for everyone whether they pay or not • But it is very tempting to free ride
  • 40. Political Authority • We need Political authority with the power to compel in order to ensure that these goods are provided to everyone fairly, and there is maintenance and no delays.
  • 41. Political Authority • Therefore, since neither communities nor markets can replace political authority and its embodiment, the state… –WE NEED POLITICAL AUTHORITY.
  • 42. Political Authority • But there is still one crucial question that needs to be answered… – Why should I obey it, when it tells me to do things that dislike or disapprove of (e.g. taxes us)?
  • 43. Political Authority • Political Philosophers call this… – ‘The Problem of Political Obligation’
  • 44. The Problem of Political Obligation • Why should we obey the law? – Of course, one reason is we are likely to be punished if we don’t • But we are looking for a more principled reason and some philosophers conclude that the problem is insoluble but others have tried to provide positive solutions
  • 45. The Problem of Political Obligation • Two solutions – Consent approach – Appeal to fairness or ‘fair play’
  • 46. The Problem of Political Obligation • Consent approach: First solution claims… – We are obliged to obey because we have agreed or consented to do so • E.g. I joined a local soccer club. I turn up for the match, but instead of playing by the rules, I insist on picking up the ball and running with it because my argument is that the game is more fun if I do so. Club members would no doubt be highly angry. And they would say that by joining the club, I am agreeing to play football by the normal rules whether or not I have signed an explicit agreement to that effect. Anyone who joins implicitly accepts the prevailing rules
  • 47. The Problem of Political Obligation • Let’s transfer the argument to the state – Generally speaking, people do not choose to join states: they are required to obey them whether they like it or not • In what sense do they give their consent?
  • 48. The Problem of Political Obligation • Hobbes: – We choose to belong to the state because it is preferable to the state of nature where life, as we saw, is ‘nasty, brutish, and short’ and it doesn’t matter how the state arises • We consent to the authority to escape a worse fate
  • 49. The Problem of Political Obligation • Problem: – But Hobbes’s argument stretches the idea of consent beyond recognition – And take note that the football club example was compelling because of the fact that I freely chose to join • Later writers rejected his argument and tried to find something other than the mere fact of subjection to the state which could use to indicate our consent to the law
  • 50. The Problem of Political Obligation • John Locke (Second Treatise of Government, 1689): – We all accept benefits from the state, and our acceptance can be treated as a form of consent • E.g. since one of the chief functions of the state is to protect our property, when we acquire it by purchase of inheritance, we are also tacitly consenting to the state’s jurisdiction over that property, and therefore to its law
  • 51. The Problem of Political Obligation • Problem: – We really have little choice about accepting these benefits: we cannot live without property, we cannot escape from the state without travelling the highway to the border • Still stretching the idea of consent too far to say that anyone who enjoys state benefits is giving her consent, and obliging himself to obey the law
  • 52. The Problem of Political Obligation • Other ideas – When we take part in elections, we agree to comply with the government that emerges and the laws it enacts. • We do at least have a free choice as to whether to vote or not, and there would be no point in holding elections unless people recognized the government that emerged as legitimate
  • 53. The Problem of Political Obligation • But unfortunately, there still seems a gap between voting and registering your consent. – What if you deeply disagree with both parties, but vote because you think that one is slightly less bad than the other? Or what if you think that although you have in a sense consented to the overall package of policies that the winning party has announced in its manifesto, there are few items you find unacceptable – and you have no choice to vote on these individually?
  • 54. The Problem of Political Obligation • Perhaps the voters’ consent can help explain why governments have legitimate authority, but not why people have an obligation to obey the law.
  • 55. The Problem of Political Obligation • Appeal to fairness of ‘fair play’ – E.g. A group of us are living in a house with a shared kitchen. Every week or so, one of the residents tidies the kitchen and gives the pans and the surfaces a really thorough clean. Now, everyone else has done the cleaning routine and it is my turn.
  • 56. The Problem of Political Obligation • Why ought I to do this? – I have benefited from the work the others have put in and so I ought to carry my share of the cost too – manual labour. If I don’t take my turn, I’ll be taking advantage of the other residents, and that’s unfair.
  • 57. The Problem of Political Obligation • There’s no need to assume that I have agreed/consented to take part in cleaning rota – My obligation stems directly from the fact that I am the beneficiary of a practice that requires each person to contribute in turn
  • 58. The Problem of Political Obligation • Let’s transfer the idea to political obligation – Keeping the law, and complying with political authority more generally, means forgoing opportunities that would otherwise be available to you. • Each of us would prefer to do exactly what he pleases – respecting other people’s rights, paying taxes, and observing traffic laws
  • 59. The Problem of Political Obligation • Compliance is a benefit to others. – When you pay your taxes, the rest of us benefit from the roads, schools, and hospitals that the taxes are used to pay for. – When you stop at the red light, you make it safer for other motorists to cross on green. • So it looks as though the person who breaks the law but benefits from the fact that other people are observing it is behaving unfairly in just the same way as the person who uses the kitchen but won’t take his turn at cleaning it.
  • 60. The Problem of Political Obligation • Difficulties on justifying. First… – We have to show that the benefits the state provides really are benefits for everyone • E.g. what if the laws protect property, but only some people are property owners? What if taxes are being used to fund art galleries and many people care nothing for art?
  • 61. The Problem of Political Obligation • The argument can work, however, so long as the whole package of benefits makes everyone better off and are shared reasonably fairly among all the people whose compliance makes the system of authority possible.
  • 62. The Problem of Political Obligation • Second… – What would a fair distribution of social benefits look like, given that people have very different needs, abilities, preferences, and so forth? And if the way that benefits are actually distributed in societies today falls very far short of this ideal, can we still say that everyone has an obligation to obey the law in order to maintain a fair practice?
  • 63. The Problem of Political Obligation • It seems that the preferred solution requires us to tackle the issue of SOCIAL JUSTICE.

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