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DaphneT's avatar

Is it the position of the ruler rather than the ruler that holds the power?

Asked by DaphneT (5745points) September 4th, 2012

What do you consider essential for a real ruler? What trends, which context, what facts are pertinent to today’s rulers? How do we figure out which rulers are good rulers? What say you?

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11 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

I say you’ve asked enough questions that it would require ten books to answer them. I’m not going to write ten books, I’m sure you will be relieved to know.

One aspect of being a ruler is that you have legitimacy. That is, the ruled believe your rule is a legitimate one. They accept it and perhaps even support it.

There are many ways of achieving legitimacy. In Democratic countries, if people believe you are elected in a fair election, they will mostly consider you to be the legitimate ruler. Of course, if they think you cheated, such as running on a fake birth certificate, they might not think you are a legitimate ruler.

You can gain legitimacy through violence, as well. If you are strong and fight off all contenders, many people will see you as a legitimate ruler. Or they would have in the past. In countries where there is democracy, violence is unlikely to gain you legitimacy, but it can in other places.

It is both the position of the ruler that holds the power, and the person holding that position, so long as the person is legitimately in the position, and only during the time the person is legitimately in that position. As soon as the term of the person is over, they lose all the power that accrued to them because of the position they held.

So that is the introductory paragraph on legitimacy. I shall leave it to others to introduce you to other concepts involved in this discussion.

gailcalled's avatar

The position of CEO, POTUS, big Kahuna or Headmaster each comes with a job description. That is an abstraction and is attendant on the person who sits on the throne, at the head of the table, above the salt or on the facing bench.

The theories of power, as @wundayatta explained, are not going to fit into two or three terse paragraphs.

Trillian's avatar


Adirondackwannabe's avatar

The position might get you in the door, but it’s up to the person to show they are up to the job. And what works in one job won’t work in another.

marinelife's avatar

It is both and you can’t really have one without the other. A weak ruler cannot rule. n empty ruling position cannot hold power.

Paradox25's avatar

The power of any type of ruler is only as powerful as his/her support is.

Pazza's avatar

I don’t personally like rulers.
I prefer the term ‘public servants’
I think it’s time all elected mp’s, presidents and monarch’s remembered their place, and the oaths they swore to ‘the people’ they represent.

I’ve heard Obama named or hailed even on western main stream media as ‘THE LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD’

Is that what he really thinks?
Or thinks he should be looked on as?
Or what the bought and paid media network wants us to think he is?

Ridiculous nonsense….....

wundayatta's avatar

The President of the United States is often called the leader of the free world. That’s because of the US role in WWII and in the cold war. It is because of the size of our standing army and the number of bases we maintain around the world. We’ve also been referred to as the World’s Policeman. These are not titles that all Americans aspire to or think of as good.

Pazza's avatar

Well said….
And so they shouldn’t….
And neither do I…. ;0)

Ps. In WWII, they called bases in other countries ‘military occupation’.~

zenvelo's avatar

Those truly elected officials are not Rulers. Rulers are in a position of authority that may have come from an election, but have now gone beyond the terms of the election. Think Idi Amin or Ferdinand Marcos.

I took a Military Science class once that taught me the overarching rule of authority is control over the means of violence, whether it be the Police or the military. Rulers have control over the means of violence in their country.

Rulers are those who have control over the means of violence in their sphere.

@Pazza Once democratically elected governments were in place and stable following World War II, the US negotiated to establish bases in the formerly occupied areas. Some were there under authority of NATO. There was not just a grammatical change

Pazza's avatar

@zenvelo Are yes, the spoils of war.
The fruits of military labor sown by bomb and fertilised by cannon fodder.

Is that like when the US negotiated with the Turk’s when they invaded Cyprus?
Or when they negotiated with Cuba?
Or when they negotiated with south Vietnam?
Or when they negotiated with south Korea?
Or when they negotiated with Iraq?
Or when they negotiated with Afghanistan?
(looks like negotiations with Syria and Iran are braking down…....)
They do a lot of negotiating to get overseas bases the US don’t they?
One can only ponder what they’re all for?
Sorry, I forgot, they’re fighting a global network of al-qaeda terrorists keeping the free world safe…............

Well, I’m being silly I know, they’ve got about 560 overseas, so they can’t have bullied all of them.

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