Books/ Excerpts
Comments 2

The Principle of Legitimacy

I picked up Malcolm Gladwell’s “David and Goliath” tonight and decided to flip through the pages quickly, to see what the owners had underlined. Ron Freise​ and I had a conversation last weekend about something. Well, that thing led him to bring out Malcolm’s book. So I was a bit excited to see what he was talking about.

So, in this post I would like to share an excerpt from Malcolm’s book for “underdogs, misfits and all those who want to discover the art of battling giants.”

Malcolm writes:
When people in authority want the rest of us to behave, it matters – first and foremost – how they behave. This is called the “principle of legitimacy,” and legitimacy is based on three things:

First of all, the people who are asked to obey authority have to feel like they have a voice – that if they speak up, they will be heard.

Second, the law has to be predictable. There has to be a reasonable expectation that the rules tomorrow are going to be roughly the same as the rules today.

And third, the authority has to be fair. It can’t treat one group differently from another.

Therefore, the excessive use of force creates legitimacy problems and force without legitimacy leads to defiance, not submission.

Thank you Ron for making it easy to spot.

I pray that our God, the One who “causes wars to end throughout the earth,” will break the bow and snap the spear. I pray that he will raise us up to be instruments of peace, even in the midst of injustice and excessive force. I pray that he will create an atmosphere in which this conversation can take place without violence and chaos. I pray that he will help everyone to take a step back and decide to do the right thing.

Excerpt:  Malcolm Gladwell, David And Goliath, (Little Brown & Company, 2013) 208; 273

This entry was posted in: Books/ Excerpts


There are three things I think about every moment of everyday... they consume me deeply. How to: 1. Refine my theological understanding 2. sharpen my ethical rigor 3. and heighten my devotional intensity. These are the things I write about. Welcome you to my blog... Join me on this incredible journey of exploration and discovery of all the things God has in store for His children. Join by following or subscribing. I appreciate your thoughts, comments and friendship. Walter


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s