Moral authority is earned over time and may be thought of as a double cousin of a good reputation. Moral authority grants you the power to influence the thoughts and decisions of others with nothing but words or even body language. No contracts, no courts, no exchange of goods, no hostages, no armies.
If over time I have come to trust you and have confidence in your judgment and you then tell me ‘Mark, you OUGHT to do that’ or ‘Mark, you OUGHT NOT do this’ then your judgment will cause me to stop and consider myself.
He who can move events by his opinion possesses real power.
But gaining this power comes at a high cost, namely consistent, open, and sincere conduct.
Like all other American institutions our democracy has always been vulnerable to self-serving cheats who do not understand or respect the nature and function of the institution, and by their cheating would undermine it.
But after 240 years our record of conducting fair and above board elections, at the local, state, and federal levels has been good enough to grant to us great moral authority as the democratic idea has spread around the globe over the last couple of centuries, at times with our direct encouragement and involvement, but always in the light of our example.
We have moral authority.
As a result of this unfolding coup the American Left has squandered it. Much like the well respected upright Christian loses his moral authority when he is caught with his neighbour’s wife.
We will no longer be able to lecture despots who win 95% of the vote. When we do criticise other countries for the weakness of their democratic institutions, they will be able to just laugh at us and point to 2020.
Food for thought.
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