The chapter entitled the state for me seemed to highlight various political issues that revolve around the “state”.
First of all, what is a state? The book tries to define it as an institution or organization, yet as it points out that no state is made up of one single organization. The book then attempts to clarify that definition by separating what is apart of the state and what is not. The difficulty defining a state this way is that all the responsibilities of the state that we commonly think of such as schools and roads, can just as easy be done by a private institution. Take Ball State for an example, if Indiana wasn’t here there is still the potential that Ball State would still exists and that separates it from the state, yet they receive things like money and assistance from the state. What I take from their definition of a state is that it is not about one person or organization that defines what a state is, rather is is the social processes that we as members of the state do to create it. In other words based on our beliefs and ideals we create our own states to fit those ideas.
The next major section on high and low politics struck me as interesting since the reading goes on to describe that government was originally intended with the preservation of the state and nothing else. The other low political issues like laws and education were more a self rule and left to the individual rather than to the government. As time progressed and people turned into populations it became the role of the government to provide for these people, and even back then money made the decisions. Taxes influenced peoples opinions and taxes are what drove people into an interest in politics.
Finally the formation of states as the book suggests was based on warfare, I disagree. While the books makes a good argument for warfare, I tend to believe that in the formation of anything whether is be a team, a state, or a book club, there must be a common interest among those individuals, and if a certain type of commonality does not exists then how is that group going to function. I site America before the Civil War. America was basically two different states before the war. There was the industrial north and the rural south. These two parts of America could not be more different, yet they were under the common interest of the freedom from British rule. Once that rule was gone the states were able to develop on their own forming their own constitutions, governments, and laws. Slavery was not the reason we went to war, we went to war because once that fabric of statehood was challenged there was the most extreme effort to mend that broken bond. People chose where they want to live because they achieve this sense of belonging and self worth because of the people they associate with, and that is what I think is a state. An area or areas where people of similar ideas and beliefs live.