Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Legitimacy

The Electoral College is a Distraction

There are some people who feel that because Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, Donald Trump’s victory in the electoral college is illegitimate. This is a very poor argument–there are many much more interesting grounds for challenging Trump’s legitimacy than the electoral college.

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How the Left Can Thrive Under Trump

In the previous post, we talked about the threats Trump poses and how the American left can meet some of those threats in the short-term. In this one I want to talk about opportunities, because there’s a case to be made that in the long-run a Trump presidency may be the best thing that ever happened to the left in America.

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The Case for a Coup in Turkey

In July Turkey experienced a failed military coup against the elected government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, leader of the conservative Justice and Development Party (in Turkish, Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi or AKP).  The Turkish government blames the coup on Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish preacher living in exile in the United States whom the government regards as a terrorist. It is demanding his extradition, but the United States has to this point refused to comply without hard evidence connecting Gülen to the coup. In the meantime, the Turkish government has declared a state of emergency and begun suspending, imprisoning, or firing tens of thousands of political opponents, including 9,000 police officers, 21,000 private school teachers, 10,000 soldiers, nearly 3,000 judges, 1,500 university deans, and more than 100 media outlets have been forcibly shuttered. This political purge is an escalation of a pattern of behavior that existed before the coup. For a long time Erdoğan and the AKP have concentrated power, acting against the press and against Turkey’s civil society and eroding Turkey’s secular norms. Those who support Erdoğan tell a story in which an embattled democratically elected president is beset by a would-be junta, but the situation in Turkey is considerably more complicated than that, and there is a strong case that Turkey’s constitution is not up to the task of protecting Turkey’s political system from increasingly unlimited abuse.

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When is Civil Disobedience Ethical?

When civil disobedience comes up, we often think of Gandhi, King, Mandela, men who are heroes to many and who fought great injustices. However, it must be recognised that civil disobedience is a tool and not an end in itself–it can be used for bad as well as good. So how does one determine when it is ethically permissible to use civil disobedience? It is a question the answers to which I frequently find unsatisfactory, so today I will attempt to unpack it myself.

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Democratic Illegitimacy

Democratic theorists are fond of saying that democracy has a unique claim to legitimacy because it is the only system of government that can be accepted by all reasonable people without qualifications. Today I will illustrate precisely what this argument says and then endeavour to kill it via a metaphor I call “Mount Democracy”.

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