1 readers online now  |  69 million page views

The use of terms "lawful" versus "legitimate"

Reader comment on item: Debating the Khalil Gibran International Academy

Submitted by Stuart Fagin (United States), May 29, 2008 at 08:39

Daniel Pipes' efforts to oppose the establishment of Shari'a law as part of our legal framework is quite valuable. Lawful efforts to establish Shari'a law contrast favorably with violent efforts that utilize terrorism, so there is an impulse to look upon these lawful efforts favorably. Pipes warns against this and calls attention to the fact that the lawful efforts have greater scope for success and therefore merit strong attention and opposition.

My quibble is that Pipes should avoid using the term "legitimate" to describe these efforts because the word carries a connotation of approval that "lawful" does not. I note the interviewer's confusion: "Host: But you've also just described it as legitimate".(Some definitions of "legitimate" from Merriams online and Dictionary.com: "Conforming to recognized principles or accepted rules and standards", "in accordance with the laws of reasoning; logically inferable; logical", "to show or declare to be legitimate or proper", "to justify; sanction or authorize")

Establishing Shari'a law in the United States does not conform to the recognized principle of a living under a secular legal system and attempts to do so are neither logical, justified, nor proper. They are just lawful. Stick with "lawful".

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

Should Islamists seek to reverse the 1st Amendment, that would be both lawful and legitimate. I see the same principle applying in these lesser efforts.

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to The use of terms "lawful" versus "legitimate" by Stuart Fagin

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List
eXTReMe Tracker

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2020 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)