State
organised community living under a system of government; either a sovereign state, constituent state, or federated state
A state is a compulsory political organization with a centralized government that maintains a monopoly of the legitimate use of force within a certain geographical territory.
There is no one who ever acts honestly in the administration of States, nor any helper who will save any one who maintains the cause of the just. ~ Plato
The cohesion of states is threatened by brutal ethnic, religious, social, cultural or linguistic strife. Social peace is challenged on the one hand by new assertions of discrimination and exclusion and, on the other, by acts of terrorism seeking to undermine evolution and change through democratic means. ~ Boutros Boutros-Ghali
War is the health of the State. ~ Randolph Bourne
The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
[I]t was only in recent modern times that Western societies began expecting the state to secure constant economic growth and rising prosperity. Well into the 20th century people expected little more from the state than that it protect them from foreign powers, and expand the influence or territory of the nation. Prussia was remarkably like North Korea in many ways, yet we remember it as a very successful state. ~ Brian Reynolds Myers
It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country. ~ Louis D. Brandeis
Arranged alphabetically by author or source:
A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M · N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z · See also · External links
A
In the mean time, what is the point of repeating the old tale as to what the state is becoming? Once the sour critical analysis of sometime ago (Herbert Marcuse: One-Dimensional Man), the dark negative utopias (Aldous Huxley, George Orwell) and the protest cries (May 68) are forgotten, and with a near lack of the slightest sense of resistance in civil society, the cobweb of power spins peacefully over our heads, all over the place. Even the dressing room.
Joxe Azurmendi, Demokratak eta biolentoak, (1997), p. 101.
B
War is the health of the State. It automatically sets in motion throughout society those irresistible forces for uniformity, for passionate cooperation with the Government in coercing into obedience the minority groups and individuals which lack the larger herd sense. The machinery of government sets and enforces the drastic penalties.  … In general, the nation in wartime attains a uniformity of feeling, a hierarchy of values culminating at the undisputed apex of the State ideal, which could not possibly be produced through any other agency than war. Other values such as artisticcreation, knowledge, reason, beauty, the enhancement of life, are instantly and almost unanimously sacrificed, and the significant classes who have constituted themselves the amateur agents of the State, are engaged not only in sacrificing these values for themselves but in coercing all other persons into sacrificing them.
Randolph Bourne, ¶11 of §I of "The State" (1918).  Published under "War and the Herd," The State (Tucson, Arizona: See Sharp Press, 1998), p. 9.
We have entered a time of global transition marked by uniquely contradictory trends. Regional and continental associations of States are evolving ways to deepen cooperation and ease some of the contentious characteristics of sovereign and nationalistic rivalries. National boundaries are blurred by advanced communications and global commerce, and by the decisions of States to yield some sovereign prerogatives to larger, common political associations. At the same time, however, fierce new assertions of nationalism and sovereignty spring up, and the cohesion of States is threatened by brutal ethnic, religious, social, cultural or linguistic strife. Social peace is challenged on the one hand by new assertions of discrimination and exclusion and, on the other, by acts of terrorism seeking to undermine evolution and change through democratic means.
Boutros Boutros-Ghali, An Agenda for Peace: Preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and peace-keeping (1992)
It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.
Louis D. Brandeis, dissenting, New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, 285 U.S. 311 (1932).
We are gong down the road to stateism. Where we will wind up, no one can tell, but if some of the new programs seriously proposed should be adopted, there is danger that the individual—whether farmer, worker, manufacturer, lawyer, or doctor—will soon be an economic slave pulling an oar in the galley of the state.
James F. Byrnes, "Great Decisions Must Be Made," speech delivered at the bicentennial celebration of Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia (June 18, 1949); Vital Speeches of the Day, July 15, 1949, p. 580.
C
The State, left to shape itself by dim pedantries and traditions, without distinctness of conviction, or purpose beyond that of helping itself over the difficulty of the hour, has become, instead of a luminous vitality permeating with its light all provinces of our affairs, a most monstrous agglomerate of inanities, as little adapted for the actual wants of a modern community as the worst citizen need wish. The thing it is doing is by no means the thing we want to have done. What we want!
Thomas Carlyle, Latter-Day Pamphlets, Downing Street April 1, 1850
The modern state appeals to morality, to religion, and to natural law as the ideological foundation of its existence. At the same time it is prepared to infringe any or all of these in the interest of self-preservation.
J. M. Coetzee, Diary of a Bad Year (2007), p. 17.
The complex notion of the ‘provisional’ character of the State is the reason why the attitude of the first Christians toward the State is not unitary, but rather appears to be contradictory. I emphasize, that it appears to be so. We need only mention Romans 13:1, ‘Let every man be subject to the powers that be ... ,’ alongside Revelation 13: the State as the beast from the abyss.
Oscar Cullmann, The State in the New Testament.
E
The first act by virtue of which the State really constitutes itself the representative of the whole of society — the taking possession of the means of production in the name of society — this is, at the same time, its last independent act as a State. State interference in social relations becomes, in one domain after another, superfluous, and then dies out of itself; the government of persons is replaced by the administration of things, and by the conduct of processes of production. The State is not "abolished." It dies out.
Friedrich Engels, Socialism, Utopian and Scientific, trans. Edward Aveling (1901), p. 49.
F
I don't think that we should consider the "modern state" as an entity which was developed above individuals, ignoring what they are and even their very existence, but, on the contrary, as a very sophisticated structure, in which individuals can be integrated, under one condition: that this individuality would be shaped in a new form and submitted to a set of very specific patterns.
Michel Foucault, "The Subject and Power," Critical Inquiry, Vol. 8, No. 4. (Summer, 1982), p. 783
The political, ethical, social, philosophical problem of our day is not to try to liberate the individual from the state and from the state's institutions but to liberate us both from the state and from the type of individualization which is linked to the state. We have to promote new forms of subjectivity through the refusal of this kind of individuality which has been imposed on us for several centuries.
Michel Foucault, "The Subject and Power," Critical Inquiry, Vol. 8, No. 4. (Summer, 1982), p. 785
H
A question like the present should be disposed of without undue delay. But a State cannot be expected to move with the celerity of a private business man; it is enough if it proceeds, in the language of the English Chancery, with all deliberate speed.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Virginia v. West Virginia, 222 U.S. 19–20 (1911). The best known use of the phrase "all deliberate speed" is in Chief Justice Earl Warren's opinion of the court, Brown et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka, et al., 349 U.S. 301 (1954).
Statism is the Utopian ideal that just the right amount of violence used by just the right people in just the right direction can perfect society.
Keith Hamburger, as quoted in “The Myth of Limited Government: Anarchy Vs. Minarchy”, Jon Torres, Logical Anarchy, August 12, 2014
The organizing principle of any society is for war. The basic authority of the modern state over its people resides in its war powers. Today it's oil, tomorrow, water. It's what we like to call the GOD business: Guns, Oil, and Drugs. But there is a problem. Our way of life, its over. It's unsustainable and in rapid decline. That's why we implement demand destruction. We continue to make money as the world burns. But for this to work the people have to remain ignorant of the problem until it's too late. That's why we have triggers in place: 9/11, 7/7, WMDs. A population in a permanent state of fear does not ask questions. Our desire for war becomes its desire for war. A willing sacrifice. You see, fear is justification, fear is control, fear is money.
The Veteran (2011), written by Matthew Hope and Robert Henry Craft
The state is a means to an end. Its end lies in the preservation and advancement of a community of physically and psychically homogeneous creatures. This preservation itself comprises first of all existence as a race and thereby permits the free development of all the forces dormant in this race. Of them a part will always primarily serve the preservation of physical life, and only the remaining part the promotion of a further spiritual development. Actually the one always creates the precondition for the other. States which do not serve this purpose are misbegotten, monstrosities in fact. The fact of their existence changes this no more than the success of a gang of bandits can justify robbery
Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (1925), Chapter 2: the State
J
K
The established order began with that collision between the single individual and the established order, began with the single individual’s relationship with God, but now that is to be forgotten, the bridge cut down, and the established order deified. Strangely enough, this deification of the established order is the perpetual revolt, the continual mutiny against God. …. Fear and trembling signify that we are in the process of becoming, and every single individual, likewise the generation, is and should be aware of being in the process of becoming. And fear and trembling signify that there is a God – something every human being and every established order ought not to forget for a moment.
Soren Kierkegaard, Practice in Christianity 1850 Hong 1991 P. 88
The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state.
Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love (1963), p. 47.
The greatest threat to a robust, autonomous civil society is the ever-growing Leviathan state...
Charles Krauthammer, column, July 20, 2012, "Did the state make you great? : Virtues Obama discounts" at jewishworldreview.com​.
L
The sovereign state places itself above any commitments or obligations, which it is then free to constrict or revoke as it pleases. But as a public figure, the state can only act through its representatives, who are all supposed to embody the continuity of the state over and above the daily exercise of their specific governmental functions. The superiority of the state therefore effectively means the superiority of its representatives over the laws or obligations that impinge upon them. This is the notion of superiority that is elevated to the rank of principle by all sovereigntists. But however unpleasant it may sound, this principle applies regardless of the political orientation of its leaders: what is essential is merely that one acts as a representative of the state, regardless of one's particular beliefs about state sovereignty.
Christian Laval and Pierre Dardot, The pandemic as political trial: the case for a global commons (March 28, 2020), ROAR Magazine
Is too rarely recognized that the concept of "public" is absolutely irreducible to the "state." The term "publicum" designates not merely the state administration, but the entire community as constituted by all citizens: public services are not state services, in the sense that the state can dispense these services as it pleases, nor are they merely an extension of the state: they are public in the sense that they exist "in the service of the public." It is in this sense that they constitute a positive obligation of the state toward its citizens.
Christian Laval and Pierre Dardot, The pandemic as political trial: the case for a global commons (March 28, 2020), ROAR Magazine
Operating behind the state provides oligarchs with a veneer of legitimacy.
Edward C. Lawson, "An Economic Theory of Law Enforcement," The Hampton Institute, March 29, 2018
While the State exists, there can be no freedom. When there is freedom there will be no State.
Vladimir Lenin, The State and Revolution (1917), Ch. 5
O Glorious Archangel St. Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and Powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil.
Leo XIII, "Prayer to Saint Michael" (1888)
The state arises where, when and insofar as class antagonism objectively cannot be reconciled. And, conversely, the existence of the state proves that the class antagonisms are irreconcilable.
Vladimir Lenin, The State and Revolution (1917)
The state is essentially an apparatus of compulsion and coercion. The characteristic feature of its activities is to compel people through the application or the threat of force to behave otherwise than they would like to behave… A gang of robbers, which because of the comparative weakness of its forces has no prospect of successfully resisting for any length of time the forces of another organization, is not entitled to be called a state... The pogrom gangs in imperial Russia were not a state because they could kill and plunder only thanks to the connivance of the government.
Ludwig von Mises, Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War, Auburn: Alabama, Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2010, p. 46, (first published by Yale 1944)
M
The appeal of authority has been that it would restrain us from ourselves. Hip, which would return us to ourselves, at no matter what price in individual violence, is the affirmation of the barbarian for it requires a primitive passion about human nature to believe that individual acts of violence are always to be preferred to the collective violence of the State.
Norman Mailer, "The White Negro," Dissent, Fall 1957
The executive of the modern State is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.
Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto
The worth of a State, in the long run, is the worth of the individuals composing it; and a State which postpones the interests of their mental expansion and elevation, to a little more of administrative skill, or of that semblance of it which practice gives, in the details of business; a State which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile instruments in its hands even for beneficial purposes—will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished; and that the perfection of machinery to which it has sacrificed everything, will in the end avail it nothing, for want of the vital power which, in order that the machine might work more smoothly, it has preferred to banish.
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859), republished in ed. David Spitz, chapter 5, p. 106 (1975).
[I]it was only in recent modern times that Western societies began expecting the state to secure constant economic growth and rising prosperity. Well into the 20th century people expected little more from the state than that it protect them from foreign powers, and expand the influence or territory of the nation. Prussia was remarkably like North Korea in many ways, yet we remember it as a very successful state.
Brian Reynolds Myers, interview with Joshua Stanton (August 2017), One Free Korea
N
A state, is called the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly lieth it also; and this lie creepeth from its mouth: "I, the state, am the people."
Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883–1885), Chapter 11: The New Idol (translated by Thomas Common (1909))
P
The approach of the Indian state to citizen participation has always been based on arrogance. It is also informed by overemphasis on the rhetoric of law and order. The former leads the state to believe that citizens are not, and should not be, active agents. This means that citizens must wait for leaders to mobilise them and guide and supervise their actions. Similarly, citizens must depend on the largesse of the state in deciding what is good for them. This gives rise to the syndrome of government as caretaker/parent and leaders as political chaperons. The Indian state also privileges the idea of law and order. If a parental state negates the idea that people have agency, the emphasis on law and order legitimises that negation. Thus, the discourse of rights and individual dignity becomes permissible only if it is subservient to the statist idea of "order". Legislative imagination, judicial interpretation and public perception are all stacked against the idea of the citizen as protestor. In contrast to the legacy of the freedom movement, democracy and popular participation are seen, both theoretically and legally, as inconsistent with, and often even opposed to, an orderly society.
Suhas Palshikar, Will there be a George Floyd moment in India’s public life? (June 11, 2020), The Indian Express
The emphasis has been twofold: That the state knows, the state is right, the state must be privileged, and that citizen action is suspect, potentially disruptive and liable to punishment. It is in the backdrop of this subdued rights discourse and de-legitimised agency of the people that the current moment has unfolded wherein criticism is almost seditious, claiming rights for marginalised sections can be termed as waging war against the state and empathising with victims of social injustice is ridiculed or forbidden. The current regime has converted the penchant for sub-democratic state action into a fearsome art.
Suhas Palshikar, Will there be a George Floyd moment in India’s public life? (June 11, 2020), The Indian Express
There is no one who ever acts honestly in the administration of States, nor any helper who will save any one who maintains the cause of the just.
Plato, The Republic, 496d
R
I believe that the poet is necessarily an anarchist, and that he must oppose all organized conceptions of the State, not only those which we inherit from the past, but equally those which are imposed on people in the name of the future.
Herbert Read, Poetry and Anarchism
T
The State is a conspiracy designed not only to exploit, but above all to corrupt its citizens.
Leo Tolstoy, Letter to Vasily Botkin
V
"Key to success is a stable state, not a stable government."
Karolina Vidović-Krišto, quoted in the morning talk-show Dobro jutro Hrvatska of the Croatian Radiotelevision, 13th May 2018
W
Crime and bad lives are the measure of a State's failure, all crime in the end is the crime of the community.
H. G. Wells, A Modern Utopia (1905), Chapter 5; reprinted in The Works of H.G. Wells, Volume 9 (1925).
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Last edited on 30 March 2021, at 14:18
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