Politics Ends Where Violence Begins Essay
In order to understand the statement under discussion, there must first be a definition of the two main terms with which we are dealing, namely those of politics and …show more content…
"The sudden dramatic breakdown of power, which ushers in revolutions, reveals in a flash how civil obedience - to the laws, to the rulers, to the institutions - is but the outward manifestation of support and consent." (2002; 30)
A key concept of power is legitimacy. In order for there to be power there must be legitimacy as "power needs no justification, as it is inherent in the very existence of political communities; what, however it does need is legitimacy." (Arendt, 2004; 31). However, power is apparent when people gather to act together in concert and legitimacy is derived by this power by the initial gathering rather than from any actions that may follow of those acting in concert (Arendt, 2002; 31-32).
Legitimacy is derived, as stated by Heywood, "from the Latin legitimare, meaning `to declare lawful'" (2002; 210). The term is also found in the Oxford Concise English Dictionary, defined as, "lawful, proper" (1995; 777).
Then, if, to go back to the definition mentioned earlier in this paper, violence is the "unlawful exercise of force" and legitimacy is "lawful (and) proper", therefore violence cannot be legitimate. Or as put by Arendt,
"Legitimacy, when challenged, is claimed by an appeal to the past, while justification relates…