Political philosophy has the occasional moment of clarity. The sociologist Max Weber’s 1919 lecture “Politics as a Vocation”, delivered at the University of Munich, is one of those moments. In the lecture, Weber defined the state as “a human community that [successfully] claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory”. 

Legitimate, in this sense, doesn’t equate to moral. Dictatorships and other morally reprehensible states successfully claim dominion over populations. There are three forms of legitimacy for Weber. The first is traditional: for example, kings harking back to ancient custom or divine anointment. The second is what Weber terms “charismatic”, and in SA’s context that means the winner of the popular vote...

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