Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Difference between a Nation and a State: Some Working Ideas

The notion of a nation is really quite interesting as both customs, origins and history are all in flux. The idea of nations evolving out of a set of beliefs or what is quaintly referred to as commonly held customs in the WIKI will always be in flux because beliefs are constantly changing even though principles might not. A state might be considered the derivative political entity of the “consciousness” or “imagined community” of a nation with implied powers such as: political, judicial, legislative, military, etc. As a nation, Americans have historically embraced the notion of an elected democracy with representation via Republican governance in a two party system. Hence the State has the derivative characteristics of the larger set of principles embraced. In this sense, a nation is a kind of collective consciousness that delegates to the state various housekeeping duties.

Presently, the American nation has embraced the culture of the internet and so the organs of state cannot help but be affected by whatever the nation embraces. The problem is that the state moves far more slowly than the collective consciousness of the nation. In politically advanced states, Huntington notes that loyalty is to institutions not groups. This notion has tremendous implications for the evolution of e-states or i-states. An institution (or business for that matter) that embraces what the nation believes, via long practice, will gain in power and influence. The common sense business practices of Google and Amazon, for example, resonate with what the nation perceives as fair play. What we have in America at present, though, is a disconnect between what people are doing and believing and what the organs of the state, in a kind of Frankenstein death wish, think they should be doing. The current Obama debacle over health care is a classic example of this. People are willing to pay extra for everyone to be covered—they get the idea that the present system could be fairer but what they don’t get is an implementation that is not consonant with the morality and common sense of the national consciousness. This is when the organs of the State do not serve the national interest and must be pulled up by the roots. States can become ideologically infested and invested in bad ideas and it is up to the nation in the form of those advocates who speak for the public consciousness (statesmen not politicians) to come forward and try to make necessary changes. Obama was perceived as just such an advocate, in a fit of what Huntington would have referred to as, “national creedal passion,” but in point of fact he appears to be a creature of the state. When Obama awakens (as hopefully he will) to the demands of the nation and stops screwing around with political gasbags like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and embraces sound Republican policies for growth, environmental husbandry, energy production and job creation, the nation will rise again but until then the nonsense will continue.

“The problem Huntington wrote is not to hold elections but to create organizations” and to that I might add—effective organizations—not operations that are run by titular heads engaging in ceremonial functions without understanding and improving the organizations they represent. (The SEC particularly comes to mind in this regard—what a bunch of useless idiots—they all should have been put in jail). I love Huntington’s line about overthrowing revolutionary regimes: “The Spanish and Canadian developers now building hotels in Havana may know better than the American government how to undermine a revolutionary regime.” This is, in fact, collective intelligence at work. Collective stupidity, created by the ossification of institutions that no longer know how to serve are legion. One has only to think of the FBI and CIA who were unable to wrap their brains about people who wanted to learn how to take airplanes off the ground but didn’t want to learn how to land. Bodies being present in a collective enterprise is no assurance of collective intelligence. What makes collective intelligence wonderful is the addition of a morality that understands and reflects the collective wisdom of managing “ biology” in terms of habit, drive and passion or what used to be called virtue and vice. Without effective and moral leadership that understands the primal problems of “biology”, human creativity and intelligence can degenerate into the kind of creedal and debased mind so vividly portrayed in the novels of Ayn Rand.

WIKI A sovereign state, commonly simply referred to as a state, is a political association with effective internal and external sovereignty over a geographic area and population which is not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. While in abstract terms a sovereign state can exist without being recognised by other sovereign states, unrecognised states will often find it hard to exercise full treaty-making powers and engage in diplomatic relations with other sovereign states. For a list of all 203 states, see the List of sovereign states page.
In casual usage, the terms "country", "nation", and "state" are often used as if they were synonymous; but in a more strict usage they can be distinguished:
• A nation is a territory or country as political entity or a grouping of people who share real or imagined common history, culture, language or ethnic origin, often possessing or seeking its own government.[1] The development and conceptualization of a nation is closely related to the development of modern industrial states and nationalist movements in Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries,[2] although nationalists would trace nations into the past along uninterrupted lines of historical narrative.[3]
• Benedict Anderson argued that nations were "imagined communities" because "the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion", and traced their origins back to vernacular print journalism, which by its very nature was limited with linguistic zones and addressed a common audience.[4] Although "nation" is also commonly used in informal discourse as a synonym for state or country, a nation is not identical to a state. Countries where the social concept of "nation" coincides with the political concept of "state" are called nation states.

• State refers to the set of governing and supportive institutions that have sovereignty over a definite territory and population.
Because terminology has changed over time and past writers often used the word "state" in a different ways it is difficult to accurately define the concept of state. Mikhail Bakunin used the term simply to mean a governing organization. Other writers used the term "state" to mean any law-making or law-enforcement agency. Karl Marx defined the state as the institution used by the ruling class of a country to maintain the conditions of its rule. According to Max Weber, the state is an organization with an effective monopoly on the use of force in a particular geographic area. Fascist and some nationalist ideologies view the state as an organic body synonymous with the cu

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