Tuesday, June 25, 2024



With the elections coming up, let's take a closer look at what it means to have power, legitimate power.


What is power?


“Power is the capacity of a person to influence another parties' behavior (e.g., Freiberg, 2010; Gangl et al., 2015).”*


What is Legitimate Power?


“Legitimate power is defined as “soft” power and refers to the power of position, expertise, dissemination of relevant information, and identification (Raven et al., 1998, cf. Tyler, 2006). 


And it is defined by formal and informal rules established by a rightfully elected government (power of position), and by their knowledge about skillful procedures (power of expertise). 


In addition, information power and power of identification are seen as means of legitimate power, 


whereby information is given on how to behave in accordance with the law, and individuals identify with the ideas of the authority, such as a specific political party.”*


Therefore, when speaking of legitimate power, information on how to behave is granted within the confines of rule of law and any misuses and anything outside the law is considered abuse of power and is thus illegal.


What is abuse of power?


“Abuse of power is the misuse of a position of power to take unjust advantage of individuals, organizations, or governments.”***


Abuse of power is often referred to as the color of law.


“The term is often used to describe the abuse of power under the guise of state authority, and is therefore illegal.”**


One does not have to be formally elected to have power.  


Under color of law, there only has to be the appearance of legal authority, such as a de facto leader of a political party to have power.


What happens when power is abused? 


The consequences of abuse of power in illegal activities (Section 242 of Title 18) can be extensive, ranging from imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty.****


Again, when speaking of power, legitimate power, especially in government, we are talking about following the set of rules and regulations governing the whole and the purpose of the honest services provided within.


Any conduct outside the rule of law and honest service is considered illicit and fraudulent.


Any allowances for abuse of power, illegal activities, and dishonest services is corruption.


Much like bad referees in a football game, the more technical foals not called, the more the bad calls, the less trust, more harm comes to the players and the more stench comes to the game.


Corruption only undermines legitimate power and tarnishes trust* in our leaders and institutions of power.  


This in turn decreases legitimate power and trust, thus lowering  credibility and standing with the people and the world.







*https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5241301/


**https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/color_of_law#:~:text=Color%20of%20law%20refers%20to,authority%2C%20and%20is%20therefore%20illegal.


***https://www.ojp.gov/ncjrs/virtual-library/abstracts/crime-and-abuse-power-offenses-and-offenders-beyond-reac

h-law


****https://www.justice.gov/crt/deprivation-rights-under-color-law


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