The term ‘Might is right’ means that “powerful people can do whatever they wish to do, even if their decisions are wrong”. This phrase is mostly used in a negative sense.
This expression refers to the belief that:
- Decisions of powerful people are not challenged, even if the decision goes against the benefit of the society.
- People who hold powerful positions easily other’s approval, and their opinion are bound are bound to be accepted.
- A powerful person can prove an action to be correct even if it is otherwise morally unjustified.
- The actions, even unjustified or immoral actions, of powerful people remain unchallenged by others.
- Powerful people don’t care about others opinion and do the acts they desire.
- A rich person or a famous person can get unreasonable others favor because of their influence.
Expansion of the idea: ‘Might is right’ is an ancient principle. All the decisions of a powerful ruler were considered to be final verdict. The beliefs, opinions, and habits of common people are easily controlled by influential personalities.
When a warrior showed military prowess and defeated others, he would easily gain control over them and make himself their ruler.
He might be called king or duke, but his rule would be one-man rule. No man can defeat others all alone. And, it is not possible for one man to exercise complete sovereignty. That is why in some places and in some ages, we have, instead of the rule of one man, rule by a handful of men.
In the middle ages, in Europe, the king himself was only the first among these Lords who were called Barons. Here, we have the sovereignty of the upper classes over the common people, the rule of the many by one king or by a few powerful men with king at their head.
In India, during the Sultanate Period, the King was considered to be the fountain head of justice. No body could dare to challenge the decision of the king.
A benevolent monarch may say that he is the first servant of the state, but under kingship and other forms of government in which the common people have no voice, there is bound to exist a great gulf between the rich and the poor, the aristocracy and the commonalty. Every person should be entitled to get basic human rights. If the one in power is doing something wrong, there should be a system in place to stop it.
Even when there are dictatorships, the dictators have to depend on the support of the common people and to work for them. If they fail to do so, they are bound to be over-thrown. That is an indirect tribute to the power and excellence of democracy.
In modern parlance, it is common to see that large business houses often use their money-power to create demand and acceptance for their products. Famous personalities have influence on a large section of the society. They often endorse inferior quality products.