Definition: to diminish or destroy the legitimacy, prestige, or authority of as in, "delegitimize a government."
The Chinese "Mandate of Heaven" cycle.
The Mandate of Heaven (Chinese: 天命; pinyin: Tiānmìng) is a traditional Chinese philosophical concept concerning the legitimacy of rulers. It is similar to the European concept of the divine right of kings, in that both sought to legitimize rule from divine approval; however, unlike the divine right of kings, the Mandate of Heaven is predicated on the conduct of the ruler in question. The Mandate of Heaven postulates that heaven (Tian) would bless the authority of a just ruler, as defined by the Five Confucian Relationships, but would be displeased with a despotic ruler and would withdraw its mandate, leading to the overthrow of that ruler. The Mandate of Heaven would then transfer to those who would rule best. The mere fact of a leader having been overthrown is itself indication that he has lost the Mandate of Heaven. -- Wikipedia.
So believe the Chinese, even in the 21st Century. In Western civilization, we tend to be a bit more scientific about what makes up political legitimacy.
In political science, legitimacy is the popular acceptance of a governing law or régime as an authority. . . . Political legitimacy is considered a basic condition for governing, without which, a government will suffer legislative deadlock(s) and collapse. In political systems where this is not the case, unpopular régimes survive because they are considered legitimate by a small, influential élite.
The Enlightenment-era British social theoretician John Locke said that political legitimacy derives from popular explicit and implicit consent: “The argument of the [Second] Treatise is that the government is not legitimate unless it is carried on with the consent of the governed.” The German political philosopher Dolf Sternberger said, “Legitimacy is the foundation of such governmental power as is exercised, both with a consciousness on the government’s part that it has a right to govern, and with some recognition by the governed of that right.” The American political sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset said that legitimacy also “involves the capacity of a political system to engender and maintain the belief that existing political institutions are the most appropriate and proper ones for the society.” The American political theorist Robert A. Dahl explained legitimacy as a reservoir; so long as the water is at a given level, political stability is maintained, if it falls below the required level, political legitimacy is endangered. -- Wikipedia.
If political legitimacy is a reservoir, the past twenty years of chronic two-party corrupt misgovernance and federally assisted crony capitalism, interspersed with periodic bloody fits like Ruby Ridge and Waco, and culminating in the sacking of the public treasury in the bailouts and the debasement of the currency presently under way combines catastrophic drought and dam failure. The federal government is now morally. ethically, economically and spiritually bankrupt. The once-mighty reservoir is now a tiny rivulet of wishful thinking.
Nothing illustrates this more than the Gunwalker Scandal, a cynical, bloody-minded conspiracy to subvert the Second Amendment by arranging the mass murder of Mexicans with American arms to justify further restrictions on law-abiding American firearm owners and more power and money for the federal bureaucrats who planned it.
Let me be plain. This is not only a suicidal self-made existential threat to the Obama administration and their Dear Leader's pipe dreams of re-election, but to the legitimacy of the federal government as a whole.
And it will be worse if the stonewalling is successful.
The terrible thing about this scandal for the Corrupt Powers That Be is that, in the final analysis, it is not about guns, but about power and corruption. This is not some hard-to-understand bit of firearms law arcana. The people who were entrusted -- who we pay big taxpayer bucks along with that trust -- to keep arms out of the hands of the evil bad guys facilitated the very thing they were trusted to prevent AND PEOPLE DIED. A reporter told me, months ago now, that they had been told that Gunwalker "was as bad as Watergate." I replied, "Nobody died at the Watergate Hotel." We have likely hundreds of dead from this scandal already and it is certain that more Mexicans die at the muzzles of these weapons every week if not every day.
This is not something the average American, even one politically clueless, is going to understand or take lightly once he or she learns of it. It involves simple issues of trust and common sense. And believe me, despite the best efforts of the politically-reliable media elites to ignore this story, that pestilence-ridden cat is out of the bag. Even if the administration was able to stop the reporting of this scandal now, today, it could not stop the continued threat of this awful story to its own legitimacy. For that we have the Internet to thank. Commissar Lanny Breuer does not control all the printing presses any more. The fact that the media elite is in the tank for Obama becomes increasingly irrelevant as their own media outlets become increasingly ignored by a growing public that no longer trusts them either.
This was a story that was broken by the Internet, driven forward by public outrage generated by means of the Internet, and will continue to advance precisely because the Leviathan does not and cannot control the Internet without absolutely delegitimizing itself completely. And with delegitimization comes oblivion.
Let me not waste time and verbiage here by dancing around the central point. If this scandal is not dealt with by the political elite -- that is, the constitutional scofflaws put under oath, brought to the bar of justice and punished -- then the political elite of both parties, having lost the Mandate of Heaven in whatever way Oriental or Occidental you wish to define that, will itself be dealt with by the people.
More specifically, it will be dealt with by the armed citizenry.
For this is the ultimate test of legitimacy. If the system cannot find within itself the ability to cleanse itself of even this bloody conspiracy of tax-paid felons it will be proof to all that the mask is off, the pretensions are over, and that this federal system, so far from what the Founders envisioned, is no longer about the rule of law but merely the raw, naked power to coerce.
The armed citizenry will then make their own arrangements.
That is what is at stake here. It is the last chance of the system to save itself. The only way we get out of this without shooting is for the sworn representatives of the American people to hold to their oaths and do their damned jobs without favor. The Gunwalker scandal is the present system's last stand. It will not get out of it without change. The question is, will it get out of it without being replaced in a bloody civil war that it invited by delegitimizing itself.
And if the system is not capable of dealing justice in this, the worst of all federal scandals, well . . . what happens at the ballot box will be the least of their worries.