This article is intended as an introduction to the general framework for the study of the question of political legitimacy. In the first place, some elements related to the nominal definition of the term “legitimacy” are offered. Then a distinction is made between “legitimacy” (of power), “validity” (of law) and “justification” (of the State). Finally, two main theoretical answers to the question of political power legitimacy are presented
The purpose of this contribution is to determine the essential features and main properties of the notion of political power according to the philosophical political tradition of classical Aristotelianism, represented here by some of its most eminent medieval, modern and contemporary exponents. Through a dialectical procedure (i.e., the dialogue with other positions) this paper aims at explaining the presence of seven key notes in the notion of political power as has been understood so far by the political philosophy of classical Aristotelianism, and at, indirectly, trying to suggest how, from the viewpoint of that tradition, it is possible to formulate a suitable answer to the objective problem of the reality of power as expressed by “the things themselves”, in Husserl’s terms.
The reality of the constituent power, between the liberal myth and the counterrevolutionary objection
Part I of this article starts by approaching the idea of the constituent power of the people, typical of liberal constitutionalism, as posited by Sieyès and received by the political and legal system currently in force in the West. Then comes a demonstration of the unviability of the concept that proposes that someone could be entitled to social or political command without exercising it (as postulated by the so-called “sovereignty of the people”): as a matter of fact, social and political command is a form of legal power essentially linked to the performance of a duty, and therefore the holder of that power will be the person who (legitimately) exercises command; some remarks on the so called sovereignty “in the State” and on the real sovereignty of the State; and finally a suggestion in favor of a realistic view of the causal role of consensus at the constitutional level. Part II aims to give a systematic answer to the question of the constituent power. Firstly, the two terms that make up the locution are analyzed (i. e., “political power” and “constitution”). Then it is made clear that the constituent power is one of the functions of political power. Consequently, it is concluded that the principle of the constituent power of the people (or the nation) has no foundations in objective reality. Part III focuses on the modern counterrevolutionary assumptions concerning the constitution (as posited by Joseph de Maistre) and demonstrates how questionable are the grounds –particularly for a thomist philosophy- from which a critical thesis against the reality and legitimacy of constituent power can be made by such position
El conde Joseph de Maistre (1754-1821) ha pasado a la historia de las ideas políticas como un frontal adversario de la revolución francesa, de la que fue contemporáneo. Su obra de polemista, con todo, ha mostrado tener quilates suficientes como para trascender los fragores enconados de la época y para pasar a constituir una de las principales manifestaciones del pensamiento de la reacción contrarevolucionaria. Otros exponentes de esta corriente son el vizconde Louis de Bonald y el parlamentario whigh Edmund Burke. Con éste último, en particular, de Maistre guarda similitudes relevantes. Ninguno es un constructor de sistemas; antes bien, ambos exudan un realismo de acendrado carácter histórico, atento a las circunstancias concretas y en franca oposición a las teorizaciones del jusnaturalismo racionalista de su tiempo. No obstante, la concepción de fondo de de Maistre ostenta rasgos en los que es dable advertir la presencia de elementos típicamente modernos (en sentido doctrinal, y no cronológico).