How does Max Weber characterize legitimacy and why do we have an obligation to obey the laws of the state?
Concerning Legitimacy the key discussion of Max Webbers writing focuses on the relationship between the ruler and the ruled, the king and the subjects. He distinguishes between three types of authority, Authority is based on the way a society has been socialized, people will believe in what they were taught to belief. He makes a tripartite distinction of the forms authority and how each is legitimized by the people. These are traditional, Charismatic and legal rationalism forms of authority.
According to Weber traditional form of authority is legitimized by customary practices which hinges on the beliefs in population within the authority’s domain. In this system of rulership the person in power is defined by virtue of hereditary success. The king is to rule by divine right and subjects are to submit to authority by traditional loyalty and dependence (Webber, 1947: 341).
Charismatic domination is a form of leadership where the followers obey because they are inspired by the leaders. This are peoples believed to have peculiar or exceptional abilities or even supernatural abilities and will often appear during a time of trouble or crisis and on this basis are thus credit by the ruled and therefore legitimate authority (Webber, 1947: 358). .
To the question of why we have an obligation to the laws of the state is explained by Legal rationalism form authority. Obedience by the ruled is a result of Government laws and of man. Webber and locked both suggest that all man is rational, but Webber explains that the society will obey because we belief in order and law (Simmons, 1999:745). We obey because we legitimized the authority of the state, legitimacy is linked to the obligation to obey the laws (Webber, 1947: 132).
People legitimize these three forms of authority.