SOC 102 Topic 7 Discussion 2:
The video shows how rational-legal authority can be upheld in a nation such as the UK. Unlike traditional authority where the leader rules by his/her power and decides what laws to impose, rational-legal authority has a constitution, which is a set of guidelines or standards that defines the powers of government officials. The Queen in this video is highly respected because she embodies rational-legal authority. Currently, President Obama does not embody rational-legal authority; he requires Congress to make decisions for him. There have been several occasions where Obama made decisions that were completely against Congress’ wishes. Therefore, I would rather live under an authoritative system such as the UK’s rational-legal system than the US’s current traditional system.<
The coronation ceremony of Queen Elizabeth demonstrates the type of authority that I would rather live under. Queen Elizabeth has been demonstrating her authority by becoming Queen, when everyone knows she is just a daughter of King George VI.
The following is a video of the coronation ceremony of Queen Elizabeth. Her authority is clearly established and conveyed through the appearance of crowns, costumes, music, and procession. The music and procession reflect a certain level of rationality in that they are traditional and widely recognized as authoritative.
In the video, you will see a formal coronation ceremony. The ceremony is carried out in an isle and involves a Royal procession, then a repeat of the coronation. There is an appearance by trumpeters followed by drummers and chorus singers before the Queen takes her place on the throne. The processional song has great importance and follows religious traditions that are centuries old. By contrast, our President’s authority comes from the Constitution. He is not ordained by God or anyone else to have this authority.
What factors must exist for authority to be legitimate? A country lacking legitimate authority is often in conflict, such as the one in Kenya under British Colonial Rule. Their citizens did not have a voice in their government or the ability to participate in it to any significant degree. In stark contrast, the ceremonies that took place at Westminster Abbey following the ascension of Queen Elizabeth demonstrate an operation of state-society relations with legitimacy and even a sense of charisma. Also, there are many rituals that add spice to life by imputing authority upon them, such as entering into adulthood through marriage or completing college through a ceremony.
Why do monarchies still exist today? In Scotland and England, the British royal family is legend. But did you know that the Queen of England reigns over fourteen countries worldwide? And this new tradition-filled ceremony takes place every year! Watch this video from the radiant coronation ceremony at www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCL2DamCeXY to understand more about the way the monarchy operates. Then decide for yourself if you’d rather have a monarchical system or a presidential system of government in your country.
One of the most important symbols of British rule and tradition, the monarchy is upheld as a symbol of law and order in both countries. Beginning from the coronation ceremony by which a new king or queen is installed, the monarchy serves to maintain confidence throughout the population.
The Queen is a great leader that has watched over England for 60 years. She was born into this position and has received the highest books of award as recognition of her service. There have been toasts, parties and celebrations to honor her legacy. In contrast, our president is self-appointed and is not well liked by many of the American people.
The president of the United States is the foremost symbol of authority and leadership in the country. When the president speaks, people listen, both from citizens and from other countries. The presidential election is based on who has the most authority, not who can make the best promises for future change. Consequently, in order to vote for candidates, their policies must be able to address a multitude of problems in an authoritative way. Each candidate’s leadership style should not just be considered by each citizen’s party affiliation but also by how well they believe that individual will lead this country–whether they are an authoritative leader or a follower of others’ ideas.
Both King George VI and President Ford lacked the power to personally remove the Prime Minister from office. They could not appoint, dismiss or themselves administer justice, nor directly legislate. Instead, they led by persuasion, gaining support for their governments’ policy platforms. The Prime Minister held political power during the years in which he commanded the confidence of the lower house of Parliament.
In England and in countries that derive their legal structure from it, such as Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, law emanates from the will of Parliament. In countries whose legal system is derived from the common law tradition, like our own, law arises not from parliamentary statute but from court decisions (known as case law) in a similar manner to that by which statutes arise from acts of Parliament (legislation). However, there is a fundamental difference between common-law courts and courts under a civil-law system: Whereas common-law courts decide cases based on existing precedent and statute, civil-law courts have the authority to make law under the doctrine of “”stare decisis””.