Monday, January 23, 2006

Mandate of Heaven

I was just poking around in law wikis when I came across this definition that seemed appropriate for an election day.

'Great balls of fire' by Butterme

Mandate of Heaven [From Wikilaw] A term of Chinese origin.

Traditionally, the Chinese emperors were considered to rule by divine right, but the recurrence of disasters under an emperor would be a sign that the emperor had lost the mandate of heaven, that is, that he could be deposed without fear of divine retribution.

In modern times, the non-Chinese use of the term is metaphorical, usually to signify that a current ruler's policies are disastrous, and that he too has lost the mandate of heaven and should therefore lose the next election.

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