taxizen wrote:When presidents order generals to take a pay cut then we soon see how much the generals value the legitimacy of presidents.
Presidents routinely ask generals to take a 100% pay cut, as when they are being fired. Supreme Court decisions often come against the interests of the President, sometimes against popular will.
You could argue that all those decisions are expedient. A rogue general or President won't survive long in power. That is true, but begs the question of why. The answer is that the legitimacy of the Constitution pervades American society. Officers are likely to refuse a patently-illegal command (say to storm Congress) from their general, and enlisted men may well refuse a similar command from their officers.
All of which comes to point out that in most societies, government enjoys broad, if only tacit, consent. Ultimately, it is this consent, rather than the power of guns, that keeps the regime stable. See Syria.
(btw, the quote was mine, not mike's).
Dr House wrote:Because in this context there is. Either a centralized, stable institution (i.e. a government) holds a monopoly over the legitimate use of force, or it does not.
The range of societal structures without a centralised, stable institution (i.e. government) is even wider than the range of possible governments. When you claim that "the alternative is much worse", you make a sweeping statement regarding an almost-infinite range of possibilities.
Isolated regions that no one governs because it's just not worth their while.
Ireland was effectively anarchically organised for centuries. And while Ireland might have been at the edge of Europe, it wasn't a frontier. It was a mature and stable society.
This is blatantly false. In the West's Middle Ages, the town and the family were the most important social units, and everyone was seen as having rights based on Christianity.
People had rights, but rarely individual
rights. More often, they shared in communal rights associated with their class, guild or station.
I don't want to suggest that the journey was always in one direction. Clearly, the 20th century presented ample examples of violent individual right violations of unprecedented scope and scale.
But still, if you compare sentiments in Medieval England, Colonial America, Victorian England and modern Western democracies, I think you will recognize increasing respect to individual rights in such things as choice of occupation, marriage, sexual choices, religious freedom, freedom of speech and freedom of movement. The authority of authority (which was admittedly split between church and state in medieval Europe) over individuals is declining. This is not to be confused with technological changes that allow a much more effective expression of that authority in modern times.
Medieval rulers had as much (or more) authority to tax as modern governments, but lacked the organisation and technology to enforce that authority as effectively.
Thus recognition in limitations on the power of authority (or is it the authority of power?) (whether state, church or guild) over individual choice has generally declined, with notable (but so-far temporary) exceptions.
As a monarch you can enforce your vision of a free society,
That's what I had in mind when I predicted a violent overthrow of myself as a monarch.
Free men are not equal and equal men are not free.
Government is not the solution. Government is the problem.