31 October 2010

The battle of legitimacy

By the 19th century "Conquest as well as empire building had fallen into disrepute for very good reasons. They had been carried out successfully only by governments which, like the Roman Republic, were based on law, so that conquest could be followed by integration of the most heterogeneous peoples by imposing upon them a common law. The nation-state, however, based upon a homogeneous population's active consent to its government ... lacked such a unifying principle and would, in the case of conquest, have to assimilate rather than to integrate, to enforce consent rather than justice, that is, to descend into tyranny." (The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt, 1994; page 125). 
Consent is legitimate and cannot be imposed by authoritative edict. The law, on the other hand, is authoritative and depends on consent only in the most basic way for it to operate well in a society. 
The anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox leadership lost the battle of legitimacy and have been trying through the application of authority to compensate for that loss. 
Down that road is the way of tyranny. 

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