Who Cares About Legitimacy?

Megan, Megan, Megan. You write:

Earlier I wrote about the King v. Burwell case, which was heard before the Supreme Court today and will decide whether insurance subsidies can be offered on federally run health-care exchanges. Specifically, I wrote that the folks who are screaming that a ruling against the government would deliver a mortal blow to the legitimacy of the court are themselves the ones with a legitimacy problem. “Nice court you have there … it’d be a shame if anything happens to it” is not the tone that responsible citizens should take with one of our most important institutions.

How very non-postmodern of you. They don’t care about legitimacy. They care about authenticity and they’ve got that in abundance. They support the White House’s position, don’t they?

6 comments… add one
  • Andy Link

    Yes, I find the ends-justify-the-means thinking that is so common today disturbing.

  • sam Link


  • ... Link

    Yes, Sam, today.

    PD and I are the same age, and I believe Andy is about the same age, and the condition has clearly gotten worse in our lifetime. I think it started trending badly (that is, I believe an inflection point occurred) in the mid’90s, after the end of the Cold War. I could speculate as to why it started getting worse, but that’s all it would be. I think Bill Clinton and Newton Gingrich were more symptomatic than causative, but feedback mechanisms are probably operative, too.

  • sam Link

    Ah, well I was thinking of the sweep of history in which you can find countless examples of perfectly awful behavior being justified by ends.
    Unfortunately, it’s an all-too-human pattern of behavior.

  • TastyBits Link

    The Cold War was an end-justifies-the-means as was fire-bombing Dresden and Tokyo. Actually, realpolitik is an ends-justifies-the-means policy. President Nixon was an ends-justifies-the-means and an a$$hole. Fiat money and fractional reserve lending is an ends-justifies-the-means monetary system.

    I am with @sam on this one. It is difficult to see because it is so pervasive.

  • Andy Link

    Sure, it’s pervasive in human experience, but I agree with Ice that, in the context of domestic politics at least, it appears worse today than in recent decades. And yes, I’m roughly the same age as PD and Ice (born in 1968).

    My perception very well could be wrong, the product of cognitive bias, but I think there is some evidence for my position – two factors (of several) are the dysfunction and polarization of Congress and the polarization of our two major political parties.

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