That Special Organism - The State
Updated: Mar 26
By The Ax
Pp. 383-419 Horne, Jeremy. We The State: Conquering the Sixth Great Extinction. San Diego, CA: National Reformation Party, 2020.
THAT SPECIAL ORGANISM – THE STATE
We now come to a core chapter of this book, focus on the vehicle that can successfully save homo sapiens sapiens and its environment. It is our collectivity being in the form of a social organization that can do this: the State. The State does not simply pop up out of nowhere. Like us, it is a product of evolution, from the clans through villages, city-states, countries – all with their governments. The last chapter recounted some major hallmarks of that evolution, like Bluntschli, Durkheim, and Hegel, and now we will examine how those developed are to combine themselves to form the State, at the same time learning really what the “State” is.
All of the following has a certain irony in that one of my graduate school classmates selected as his dissertation topic a description of “The State”. His contention was that despite all the literature, there was no agreement about what it really is. Given what I said earlier about social and political science curriculums bereft of required reading of the history of thinking about societies being organic, I cannot be sure if he read the likes of Bluntschli, Durkheim, and Hegel, at least in reference to their ideas of the State. True, there is no universal agreement about the specifics of what constitutes “the State”, as would be our agreement about what a cow, computer, or table are – even generally. There may be a Platonic form of “State”, an idealization, but, for our purposes, it is sufficient to identify in a statistical manner the main characteristics about which our thinkers wrote and assemble that entity and give it life.
I think part of the problem of engaging in such an exercise – and perhaps why my colleague never to my knowledge ever completed his project – is the exercise by itself is sterile. Anyone can create an idealization of just about anything, and chances are it would be different from that of another person with equal competence. Lacking is function in a real-world. Our real world is the problem set in the first chapter of this book. Putting it crassly, a tool needs to have a function; otherwise, it is mere art. Our responses to social problems have been ineffective, as the “ocracies” and “isms” chapter demonstrated, the outgrowth being simply more problems. We could get away with this social experimentation up until recently, but now has come time to set aside the ivory tower speculation about what might be a successful social order and start building from the best of what we know. My classmate and I studied together in the early 1980s, and we did not know about how close to the edge of the precipice we stood. We merely have moved closer. Global warming had not been established to the point of being common knowledge. There were indications of overpopulation, resource depletion, and water scarcity, but scientists were promising technological solutions, as the “green revolution”. Now, data have been generating exhibiting unmistakable trend with that trajectory towards the Sixth Great Extinction. The time to act is now. I already have referred to the IPCC and Global Trend reports. It would be a good review exercise for you to search these out in the earlier chapters.
This chapter will extract a core that has been present in history, starting with the Romans and continuing to now as a formal institution that has dominated industrial and government organization: the corporation. yet, this has been perverted by a greedy few over the past century or so and now is used as an instrument of domination and exploitation, corruption and greed permeating its very essence. More explicitly, I refer to the “vulgar corporation”, vulgarity in all of its seaminess describing what it is. It is the corporation about which social critics are writing, the one that is run by small economic elites. It is where power is bought and sold – literally. It is the beast of prey that is devouring humanity and its environment. It is a perversion of what started out as a social organization in Rome to express religious sentiment and the values of family association. So, let's look at this institution. After doing so, I will bring in the State that will capture this beast of the vulgar corporation and tame it to be the vehicle of socialization. But, let's look at how the corporation arose.
Ubiquitous in societies is the corporation. Volumes have been written on corporations, with histories extending back to nascent organizations in Roman times, evolving from the simple to the complex entities we see in our times and whose commonality is the private ownership of the means of production and control by the government.
Social development occurs in a number of stages starting with people living in caves, progressing through Feudalism, and ending in countries participating in world deliberative bodies like the United Nations. Now is the corporation with its own persona. It has a social structure and condition of mentation. So, let us begin by building that structure: the body, the corpus. We have to have one so we can animate it. Then, we'll worry about it having a mind, brain, thinking, and all that so it can be self-propelled.
Generically, “corporatism” describes what the “corpus”, the body that is the society, does. In a socially developed form, it is the body of the State that deals with the material world, fulfilling needs by production, distribution, negotiating, and so forth.
Consulting Etymology-on-line, we see that the origin and use of the word “corpus” is:
(plural corpora), late 14c., from Latin corpus, literally "body" (see corporeal). The sense of "body of a person" (mid-15c. in English) and "collection of facts or things" (1727 in English) both were present in Latin. Corpus Christi (late 14c.), feast of the Blessed Sacrament, is the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. Also used in various medical phrases, such as corpus callosum (1706, literally "tough body"), corpus luteum (1788, literally "yellow body”).
“Corpus” not only is rooted in the Latin but today simply means “body”. We give that body a name: the “corporation”. It makes little sense to discuss body without considering that it may have life, which I'll do later but to which Durkheim wrote (in particular, his second preface to The Division of Labor in Society).
The etymology of “corporation” is:
mid-15c., "persons united in a body for some purpose," from such use in Anglo-Latin, from Late Latin corporationem (nominative corporatio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin corporare "to embody" (see corporate). Meaning "legally authorized entity" (including municipal governments and modern business companies) is from 1610s.
The 2019 English Oxford Dictionary adds: “Late Middle English: from late Latin corporatio(n-), from Latin corporare ‘combine in one body’ (see corporate)”.
That corpus, that body, in the persona of the corporation is a living being, i.e., organic. Let's look at the word “body”, referring back to “corpus”, or, to repeat from Chapter 6 - How order comes to life – the living system.
The corporation as a body presents itself as an entity needing protection, just like a person. “Person” comes from a word meaning “just like”, or one imitating, i.e., from Etymology-on-line:
early 13c., from Old French persone "human being, anyone, person" (12c., Modern French personne) and directly from Latin persona "human being, person, personage; a part in a drama, assumed character," originally "a mask, a false face," such as those of wood or clay worn by the actors in later Roman theater. OED offers the general 19c. explanation of persona as "related to" Latin personare "to sound through" (i.e. the mask as something spoken through and perhaps amplifying the voice), "but the long o makes a difficulty ...." Klein and Barnhart say it is possibly borrowed from Etruscan phersu "mask." Klein goes on to say this is ultimately of Greek origin and compares Persephone.
In legal use, "corporate body or corporation having legal rights," 15c., short for person aggregate (c. 1400), person corporate (mid-15c.).
The corporation wears the mask of a person – assumes a persona - to obtain the rights of a person. As with individuals, the political unit (government) grants the corpus (corporation) those rights by allowing it to wear the mask (“false face”) of a person. Often, we hear of the corporation being the alter ego of the individuals forming it. Corporations are a shield for those persons otherwise being capable of sustaining lawsuits for wrongdoing.
Brief historical development
The Indian Shreni in the fifth century C.E. had a guild, if not even a corporate form (Shreni, 2017; Khanna, 2005). Already by Classic Roman times the universitas, corpus or collegium was recognized as a coherent body of persons acting for some persons. Emile Durkheim in his preface to the second edition of The Division of Labor in Society gives an excellent history. In the references below I list work by Khanna (“The Economic History of the Corporate Form in Ancient India”) and Wiarda (1978) (“Corporatist Theory and Ideology”) as starting points in researching the history of corporations.
Scattered about in European history we see references to the “City of London Corporation” in 1067. More familiar to those in the Western world is the establishment of the Hudson's Bay Company (among many others), and the Massachusetts Bay Company that were organizations financed by investors to perform some specific task.
By 1794 the legal status of corporations was being described as:
a collection of many individuals united into one body, under a special denomination, having perpetual succession under an artificial form, and vested, by policy of the law, with the capacity of acting, in several respects, as an individual, particularly of taking and granting property, of contracting obligations, and of suing and being sued, of enjoying privileges and immunities in common, and of exercising a variety of political rights, more or less extensive, according to the design of its institution, or the powers conferred upon it, either at the time of its creation, or at any subsequent period of its existence.. (Kyd, 1794, who formally defined a corporation)
There was more refinement by scholars such as Victor Morawetz (1886) in A Treatise on the Law of Private Corporations and d’Etienne Boileau in Histoire Generale de Paris: Metiers et Corporations de la Ville de Paris (Boileau, 1879).
Indeed, the District of Columbia 21 February 1871 assumed a corporate form ("An Act to Provide A Government for the District of Columbia.") (DC Government, 1871).
We see the United States as a corporation codified into that country's law:
US CODE: Title 28,3002. Definitions (2017)
As used in this chapter:
(15) "United States" means —
(A) a Federal corporation;
B) an agency, department, commission, board, or other entity of the United States; or
(C) an instrumentality of the United States.
Is the United States a corporation? It is if you read “Federal Debt Collection Procedure”, but for specific purposes. While there are no acts of Congress establishing the U.S. as a corporation, there still is some confusion about whether it may be treated as one. There is legal precedent to argue that the United States is a corporation.
The Bouvier Law Dictionary (1856) says:
The United States of America are a corporation endowed with the capacity to sue and be sued, to convey and receive property. 1 Marsh. Dec. 177, 181 . But it is proper to observe that no suit can be brought against the United States without authority of law. (Bouvier, 1856)
Nations or states, are denominated by publicists, bodies politic, and are said to have their affairs and interests, and to deliberate and resolve, in common. They thus become as moral persons, having an understanding and will peculiar to themselves, and are susceptible of obligations and laws. Vattel, 49. In this extensive sense the United States may be termed a corporation; and so may each state singly. Per Iredell, J. 3 Dall. 447.
Bouvier's dictionary (2019) has been influential in legal circles and generating much debate about the U.S. being a corporation.
Yet, massive confusion abounds over whether the U.S. really is a corporation , as discussed by one apparent attorney at http://supremelaw.org/letters/us-v-usa.htm. I say “apparent” because of the style of this website. The research seems to be sound, but read for yourself and go further. My point I think is adequately made that there is no agreement, certainty no formal law establishing the U.S. as a corporation. As we will see, the predatory essence of the vulgar corporation has permeated successfully through history to the present time, being a major contributor to the problems we see about us. Often, practice supersedes formality of law, the law being mere codified propaganda of the ruling elites that make it. Let's continue.
Over the years the status of the corporation has become more formalized, acquiring increasing legal form. In 1811, New York was the first state in the United States to enact (New York incorporation law, 1811) a law establishing corporations. An amendment to this law 14 April 1817 (Chapt. 233, p. 265) refers to each corporation as being the “body politic” (Ibid.).
For the most part throughout the 19th century, the scope and power of U.S. corporations were limited. However, that changed with New Jersey adopting laws in 1875 and 1896 that gave more power to the corporation and reducing the power of the shareholders. Additionally, these corporations now could own others. Throughout the latter part of the 19th century numerous court cases referred to corporations citizens, inhabitants, and other personages. For example, in Petri v. Commercial Nat'l Bank of Chicago, a national bank was called a citizen of the state by U.S. Chief Justice Fuller” - 142 U. S. 644, 650 (1892). Let's look at one case to illustrate the great lengths to which the courts gave more status to corporations.
In Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, 1886) (Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, 118 U.S. 394 (1886)) the railroad was arguing that it was being treated unequally with persons under the Fourteenth Amendment regarding equal protection. Former president of the Newburgh and New York Railway Company J.C. Bancroft Davis as a court reporter for SCOTUS, and he wrote in the header of the Syllabus for this case:
One of the points made and discussed at length in the brief of counsel for defendants in error was that "corporations are persons within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States." Before argument, MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WAITE said:
"The Court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution which forbids a state to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws applies to these corporations. We are all of opinion that it does. (Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, Syllabus, 1886)
Justice Black's dissent.
It has not been decided that this clause prohibits a state from depriving a corporation of 'life.' This Court has expressly held that 'the liberty guaranteed by the 14th Amendment against deprivation without due process of law is the liberty of natural, not artificial persons.' Thus, the words 'life' and 'liberty' do not apply to corporations, and of course they could not have been so intended to apply. However, the decisions of this Court which the majority follow hold that corporations are included in this clause in so far as the word 'property' is concerned. In other words, this clause is construed to mean as follows:
'Nor shall any State deprive any human being of life, liberty or property without due process of law; nor shall any State deprive any corporation of property without due process of law.' (Ibid.)
...Yet, of the cases in this Court in which the Fourteenth Amendment was applied during the first fifty years after its adoption, less than one-half of 1 per cent. invoked it in protection of the negro race, and more than 50 per cent. asked that its benefits be extended to corporations. (Ibid.)
It is clear that by reading the whole case that the 14th Amendment was not used in the SCOTUS argument in the Southern Pacific Railroad case. Yet, this did not prevent the error from creeping into subsequent court cases and being adopted as law. Davis and the “railroad case” were to come back to haunt SCOTUS in 1938 with Connecticut General Life Insurance v. Johnson (1938), where.
A corporation which is allowed to come into a state and there carry on its business may [303 U.S. 77, 80] claim, as an individual may claim, the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment against a subsequent application to it of state law. (Ibid.)
The Citizens United v Federal Election Commission case
There have been many protests against the 2009 Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decision, Citizens United V. Federal Election Commission (2015), many expressing shock that such a decision ever could be made. Yet, if you reviewed historical development of governing institutions, businesses, and educational institutions, you would find that the SCOTUS case merely continued a long tradition of personifying corporations (Green, 1946).
What does Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (558 U. S. (2010)) say? The case hinges on whether corporations have the right as individuals to make campaign contributions, i.e., “Federal law prohibits corporations and unions from using their general treasury funds to make independent expenditures for speech defined as an “electioneering communication” or for speech expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate.” (Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission , 2015, p. 1)
Citing Roberts, “First Amendment standards, however, must give the benefit of any doubt to protecting rather than stifling speech” (Ibid., p. 10). “The Court cannot resolve this case on a narrower ground without chilling political speech, speech that is central to the meaning and purpose of the First Amendment. (Ibid., p. 12) … throughout the litigation, Citizens United has asserted a claim that the FEC has violated its First Amendment right to free speech. All concede that this claim is properly before us” (Ibid., pp. 13-14). Numerous cases are cited where corporations could not be censored (Ibid., p. 20). “Section 441b’s [2 USC 441b) prohibition on corporate independent expenditures is thus a ban on speech” (Ibid., p. 22).
For these reasons, political speech must prevail against laws that would suppress it, whether by design or inadvertence (Ibid., p. 23). The Government may not by these means deprive the public of the right and privilege to determine for itself what speech and speakers are worthy of consideration. The First Amendment protects speech and speaker, and the ideas that flow from each. (Ibid., p. 24)
The Court has recognized that First Amendment protection extends to corporations.”, SCOTUS citing more than a dozen cases as precedents. (Ibid., p. 25) The Court has thus rejected the argument that political speech of corporations or other associations should be treated differently under the First Amendment simply because such associations are not 'natural persons'. (Ibid., p. 26). There is simply no support for the view that the First Amendment, as originally understood, would permit the suppression of political speech by media corporations. The Framers may not have anticipated modern business and media corporations.” (Ibid., p. 37)
Citing a couple of previous cases and anti-bribery laws, SCOTUS said
For the reasons explained above, we now conclude that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption. ... Limits on independent expenditures, such as §441b, have a chilling effect extending well beyond the Government’s interest in preventing quid pro quo corruption (Ibid., p. 41). … Corporations, like individuals, do not have monolithic views. (Ibid., p. 48)
Because 2 USC 441b is invalidated there is “no basis for allowing the Government to limit corporate independent expenditures” (Ibid., p. 3), thus allowing the use of corporate treasury funds for political advocacy.
The First Amendment underwrites the freedom to experiment and to create in the realm of thought and speech. Citizens must be free to use new forms, and new forums, for the expression of ideas. The civic discourse belongs to the people, and the Government may not prescribe the means used to conduct it. McConnell, supra, at 341 (opinion of KENNEDY, J.). (Ibid., p. 57)
“Freedom of speech” only is just another enumerated “right” granted to corporations, along with the others cited above, as in being a party to a lawsuit, protected under the 14th Amendment, and own other corporations (not too distant from a master-slave relationship). We now have societies equivalent to corporations and corporations equivalent to persons, so by transitivity, societies are equivalent to persons. We may ask whether they can vote,
The common denominator between corporations, persons, and governments is that they all persons in some sense. Not only are they persons in terms of what they can do and protections they receive, but they are dynamic systems, i.e., societies. Moreover, corporations, persons, and societies all share the same characteristic: organicity.
As it stands, the government allows the creation of corporations, at least in the U.S. and mostly everywhere Corporations exist, because they are granted a charter by a government. In essence, these corporate entities become governments within state governments, since the corporate form also exists for the states (and sub-entities, like counties and cities), themselves. They also are given life by these governments. In passing it is interesting to note that corporations fly their own flags, have their own bureaucracies, have private “security” forces, and have assets far exceeding those of many countries. Stockholders are their citizens, their charters the constitution, and by-laws their laws.
Common to both the person and the corporation is this allusion to a “spirit”, “soul”, or other personification. Danger lurks in reifying an organizational entity to it having the psychological disposition of a person. Yet, recent investigations suggest that nationalities that make up a country and its government may have personalities (McCrae and Terracciano, 2005).
Interpretations of “corporate”
I suggest re-reading the entry “capitalism” in New Chapter 2 - Formal responses- ocracies and isms to review the foundations of this system that has given rise to the modern vulgar corporation. There is the corporation, the corporation, corporatism, and corporatism. No, repeating these two words is not a typographical error. Even in the mainstream media (owned by large corporations, for the most part), we see “corporatist”, “corporatism”, and derivatives describing modern private institutions and their activities. Throughout this book, I use the term “vulgar corporation”, of which more is explained below. What is “vulgarity”, other than sexually-based expletives? It is the obscene, the base, the primitive in a nasty way. We say that a person sitting down at a dining table and burping or picking the nose is vulgar, behavior not exhibited by polite, civilized people. I take off on the word “civilized”, treating your fellows with dignity and respect, not as objects to be taken advantage of. The vulgar corporation exacerbates income inequality, degrades the environment, concentrates power in fewer hands, exploits workers, and engages in other predatory and antisocial activity. The private for-profit corporation does not have as it raison d'etre (reason for existing) the betterment of humankind but only works for the benefit of itself. Any effort to improve the environment is only because even the vulgar corporations know they need one to survive; however, they only do minimally what is required for short-term gains. More explicitly, the stockholders hide behind the mask of the corporation to enrich themselves. They live off unearned income; they are parasites on the body politic. They buy and sell power as shares in the corporation. The vulgar corporation's relationship to the rest of people outside itself is predatory. The second “corporation” takes on a special meaning, it having emerged in a mature form from its more primitive forms and behavior. It is the corporation as the body of a higher form of society, the State. The corporation is evolving into the corporation. How do we distinguish the two?
Let's review some standard Latin language capitalization rules, as they will solve the problem. In English, there are common nouns and proper nouns, the former referring to any person, place, or thing, the latter denoting a particular person, place, or thing. A generic description – common noun – may be the/this/a (etc.) woman, man, continent, country, table, cat, etc. A proper noun refers to Jill, Tom, Africa, Mexico, Table of Contents (as in a title), etc. There is “the President” and reference to “a president”. What about “state”? This is somewhat tricky, as in this book, the word assumes a status elevated from the highest unit of social organization, such as “government” or “regime”. To illustrate, there is a difference, of course, in “Michoacán” and “a state in Mexico”.
The fork in the road
We now arrive at a proverbial fork in the road in the history of corporations pointing the way to the socially salutary (health) of human organizational development. The first is the one taken by modern for-profit ones. The other is taken by corporations serving the people, rather than a few with special interests. As to the first, the social organism is sick; the second is healthier. Here is where I focus immediately on the first, and then the second.
Starting in earnest in 1602 with the Dutch East India Company, The Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) of 1670, and The Royal African Company (RAC) of 1660, we had a history unfold of exploitation, piracy, colonization, genocide, and slave trading. The HBC, in fact, was the government of the early British North American colonization and is still in existence.
We have seen how the corporation started as a simple organization and grew into a status similar to countries. Governments refused to control their mergers and subsequent acquisition of power. More often than not governments have aided the process. A simple reading of labor history will call to mind how workers have fared, violent repression by private goon squads, like Pinkerton's, being the norm. Despite the propaganda of “free enterprise” advocates about the importance of “democracy”, such does not generally exist in the workplace. In fact, the average workplace is a repressive totalitarian environment, where just about every aspect of one's life is determined by corporate managers.
Since 1900 we have seen private corporate power merged with the power of government. When business speaks, so does the government and vice versa. Gunboats simply don't enter the harbors of other countries to support “democracy”, as a review of post-1890 western Pacific and Latin American history will amply demonstrate. There are many foils placed in the landscape – usually “protection of 'democracy'” being a favorite - before targets are fired upon. Populations are stirred up, and there are other provocations to justify intervention. If corporations operate with resistance from indigenous populations, those gunboats will be at the ready, however. The one to three (and possibly thirty) trillion dollars worth of mineral reserves in Afghanistan (Risen, 2010; Mining in Afghanistan, 2019) discovered by the U. S. Geological Survey in 2007 is ample motivation for U.S. presence in this “Graveyard of Empires” (Bearden, 2001), a war that continues at this writing after some 18 years. Yet, people in many areas in the United States cannot get potable water either because of failing infrastructure or the corporations have wantonly polluted the water supply, as we saw in the problems chapter. If you doubt what I write, read the 15 December 2017 “Statement on Visit to the USA, by Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights” (Alston, 2017). All of the late President Eisenhower's warnings in 1953 about the military-industrial complex not only have been ignored, but a special effort has been made to encourage this social sector's growth and power to the point that the government no longer has any independence. Corporate boardrooms now run the United States through its proxy the U.S. government and spew their insidious propaganda through the mainstream media. Elections are meaningless, as the only candidates are bankrolled by the corporations, and these mainstream media are owned by the same predatory cliques.
Aside from all the above, it is true that there are for-profit corporations that have provided great benefit to society, as in developing technology, producing food, transport, and communications. There is this brighter side of invention and innovation to make life more convenient. Give credit when it is due, and there should be no reluctance to thank Edison, Knight, Tesla, Curie, Benz, the Wright Brothers, Jobs, Kwolek, and Gates, for bringing us socially useful discoveries, technology, and services, but many of these had their lives beset by jealousy and conflict. Too, some of these have turned around and bitten the public by their scramble for profits, exploitation of labor, and sowing discord. My mother told me numerous times that the Wright brothers were my fourth cousins on my mother's side, and I'll continue to think that they are like my brother, who to me always has been noble. Any purity of what some of these achieved and presented to the world became diluted in the corporation.
Make no mistake, though, personal interests of the initiators aside (as in Bill Gates being interested in computers) these corporations are trading on that interest – literally- to make a profit. We saw in the problems chapter the issue of planned obsolescence and producing environmentally destructive goods and services. Google, for example, may have its campus for the workers, but it does not hesitate to work with the U.S. military and others in spying, managing information generation and distribution, and otherwise channeling social wants and needs (often generated by propaganda) to its own benefit. There is no overarching concern for the welfare of society. It would be just as content in serving any government or regime, as long as it makes a profit and public opprobrium does not become intolerable. As in a fashion show, it is all about image, not substance. If an issue hurts its public image, it either will be masked cosmetically or even dealt with meaningfully if the proverbial bottom line is affected. Apple Computers has no issue of making its overpriced electronics in China with low-paid workers. So goes it with all of them (or at least most), from cell phone companies, automobile manufacturers, and food companies. Despite the hoopla about being “American”, a lot of their manufacturing is in countries having substandard working conditions and low wages. Corporate executives routinely pay off government officials or cause to be sent swarms of lobbyists to influence social policy, not for the good of the public or its environment but to enhance profits.
The other fork in the road is taken as governments in the abstract and non-profit organizations, both ostensibly providing services for the benefit of the people. That is, the corporation is coming from a state of nature of the war of all against all to give up this claim and be at the service of the people as sovereign, just like individuals did as described by Hobbes in contract theory in the Leviathan. Ostensibly, both overall have as their raison d'etre the betterment of humankind rather than the benefit of stockholders.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (https://www.cpb.org/aboutpb/act), for example was established to
facilitate the full development of public telecommunications in which programs of high quality, diversity, creativity, excellence, and innovation, which are obtained from diverse sources, will be made available to public telecommunications entities, with strict adherence to objectivity and balance in all programs or series of programs of a controversial nature. Subpart D — Corporation for Public Broadcasting Sec. 396. [47 U.S.C. 396] Corporation for Public Broadcasting (g)(1)(A)
Social service and educational organizations usually are of the same genre, where it is the public being served, not stockholders. That is, there is a more noble purpose. Naturally, we can see tarnish, in that the dominant institution is the vulgar corporation.
How we call them and how to proceed
It is the purpose of predation versus social service that separates the corporation from the Corporation. But, more is required. A special relationship exists between the Corporation and the people, where the corporation simply treats them as a resource to be exploited for corporate gain. In my discourses, I need to distinguish the two. Even in the U.S. mainstream media, at least, you will find references to “corporatism”, “corporate” and derivatives of these to describe the prevailing economic order, large organizations preying on the public for their own gain, usually resulting in contributing to the already severe income stratification. This practice has been in existence for hundreds of years, but increasingly exacerbated since the end latter part of the 19th century. So sophisticated have become the methods and structure of exploitation that they have become a part of the law, as the U.S. tax code amply demonstrates. It takes highly paid competent attorneys to navigate the convoluted passageways to evade taxes.
These are for the vulgar corporations. What about those having the essential structure of these corporations but a beneficial social function that contributes to the well being of everyone? Do not confuse these with non-profit political organizations or foundations as masks behind which for-profit corporations hide to promote their agenda. For example, there is the Koch Foundation, a non-profit entity designed to support those willing to prostitute themselves in the hidden agenda of overturning environmental regulations to benefit the fossil fuel industry. Beware of “educational” institutes backed by private business to promote training of workers for specific industries and according to specified corporate methods. We must distinguish the predator from one whose sole purpose is to help you. Right now, we have a mixture of the two. Apart from the vulgar corporation and the non-profit vulgar corporation shill, there are, of course, legitimate organizations that truly benefit society.
I will use a somewhat humorous example, as it is likely to be remembered. Think of the word “john” and “John”. The former refers to a toilet or prostitute. The latter is one's name, given (first name) or surname (last). I can have a room either filled with johns or Johns, the former being prostitutes or toilets. There can be a “john society” for the perverse or a “John society” for those persons wanting to congregate because of their familiar appellation. Go through the phone book and locate all the names of those named “John”. So, what do I use? In referring to the object, prostitute or toilet, use the lower case. If you mean the proper noun, in this case, a person, use “John”. Taking the phone book example, one selects a John, one among many with that name.
Applying this basic English language capitalization rule of all proper nouns (particular persons, places, or things), we have the Corporation and the corporation. The former has a special meaning, it being an institution of the State. There are a number of ways of structuring the Corporation, and while it is not the purpose of this book to elaborate on the details, I will re-introduce it again in Chapter 11 – Towards a solution - The issues.
Both corporations and Corporations are organic, but there is a difference between the predation of a diseased hyena and the nobility of an emperor penguin. Donald Trump is no Albert Schweitzer. Northrup Grumman is not Doctors Without Borders. It all has to do with philosophy purpose, ethos, and relationship to society. Above all, there is an ethos, consciousness, and mind in the Corporation but not the corporation.
“Corporation” by itself (upper or lower case) is more than a legal abstraction. You do not point to the City of Chicago and wait for some entity by this name to do something. It is a person or group of them in an organization that does the action in the name of Chicago. You simply do not write the City of Chicago, as in “Dear Chicago”, but identify individuals representing it as responsible for that organization's activities. Yet, what the city does through policies, structures, and functions may assume a life of its own, and this is what gets tricky. A report may be issued under the banner of an organization, its content affecting the thinking of others, etc. Yet, while the writers are individuals, they are as organs of the larger Corporation, the corpus, a body, and a person.
The Corporation and corporation perhaps can be said to be potentially the most significant structural response humanity has given to the complexity challenging the very survival of the species in face of the Sixth Great Extinction. Humanity can choose to sustain the corporation or Corporation, the predatory behavior or a high-road ethos. No, we need to be specific. Consciousness is assumed through a brain in the corpus. That corpus is a structure, not unlike a skeleton, muscles, etc. The word “Corporatism” describes the most mature physical stage of the social organism. It is the “corpus”, the body that is the society. The corpus and consciousness merge, and the place is the State. The structure of the State brings together how praxis is coupled with theory, the intellectual with the physical in terms of how the species meets its needs, i.e., production and distribution.
How, then, does the Citizens United case discussed above fare in considering the Corporation? The problem is that the vulgar corporation – the predator - has been given personhood, and it might be likened to giving any predator equal citizenship status and treating it as a co-equal, with the same ethos, rights, and so forth. Contrast this with Durkheim's discussion of the Corporation in his preface to the second edition of The Division of Labor in Society. Now, let's see the embracing institution for the Corporation, the State.
From the ashes of Feudalism
Out of the tumult of 1776 and 1789 started to arise the Phoenix of the State. Various historical processes shaped by quantum-cosmology have guided its development. The quarrelsome and contentious raging in the United States against Britain and the peasants against the French monarchy were shoved back in to place by the legalisms enshrined in the U.S. Constitution by merchants and planters, and by the brute force of Robespierre and the reforms of Napoleon. Yet, a new realization set in. The government had to be more inclusive of the population or provide an escape hatch. In the U.S., people “simply” could go West. In Europe, they got some bread. However, the Industrial Revolution was to spawn its own alienating processes, mainly the stratification, dependency, and impoverishment of persons who had only their labor power to exchange for what was needed for survival. Through the nineteenth century on a more philosophical level was a transition from a mechanistic view of the world and one characterized by a) everything being interrelated to another, b) uncertainty, c) inescapable human bias and the realization that humans see themselves through themselves (second order cybernetics). It also was a transition period that saw changes in how life was viewed, from the Cartesian idea that animals were just machines and there existed a mind-brain duality to a world in which the whole idea of consciousness, mind, intelligence, psychology and other mentation was viewed in a more microscopic fashion, the result being more uncertainty than before.
We cannot let the epistemology (way of knowing) of history drive the ways we view societies, but there are other epistemologies that lend credence to organicity of societies. In Chapter 5 - Order - the social embryo, it was proposed that there is an innate order in the universe, an order stemming from the epistemology of logic. Such order exists against the backdrop of the most fundamental law: dialectics, where everything and process exist because of what it is not. Immediately, this means integration and interdependence, a major “building block” of organicity. Scientific methods rely on the spatiotemporal, the future resembling the past (Principle of Induction), and from a quantum-cosmological perspective, as well as how the dialectic shapes being. That which was true about the processes forming this universe apply now and will apply in the future. Nothing happens to or within an entity without it ultimately affecting everything else. From a logical point of view, the character of the whole constantly changes by virtue of everything changing within it. For the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus, change was ubiquitous (Harris, 2017). Yet, change exists because of what it is not, and we recall Parmenides of Elea saying that change is illusory; everything is static. Here, what may not be changed are basic laws, the most fundamental – dialectics, as well as physical laws like the speed of light and gravity. From this social singularity, the State was born.
Identifying the State
The State is the highest form of social organization. It has a body: the Corporation. It has mentation housed in a brain. Its raison d'etre is the pursuit of truth, the goal of apprehending who we are and why we are here in this universe. It is the social philosopher. We are going to describe the physical State now. I will describe the mental part in the next chapter, The social brain. We need to know more about the nature of the State, as it determines the character of its mentation.
The State is the embodiment of collective human capability. It is the definer and guarantor of rights and liberties. Rights exist because of responsibilities to that guarantor, and that guarantor exists because of the individuals with their rights composing it. Hegel (1833/1896/2001) said in his Philosophy of Right, “...individuals have duties to the state in proportion as they have rights against it” (§261).
[Note: Don;t worry about what edition you use, these section (§) references are the same for all editions, even though the translations may vary a bit.]
Remember Hobbes and contract theory. People in a state of nature give up all their freedoms (rights) to a sovereign but some (not all) are returned to the people as liberties. For example, in the wild, a person may wantonly kill another, steal, lie, etc. S/he is truly free. In a contract arrangement, these behaviors are not allowed, but other liberties, such as the “freedom of speech” not only are allowed but protected by the sovereign. We saw a formalization of this in the early corporation and evolving to the present. The character of the sovereign now is the State, the transition being from a mere policeperson to a totalitarian social entity, an organism unto itself. The heart, brain, muscles, bones, and so forth (liberties) have emerged from stem cells (freedoms), and they owe their continued existence to the integrity of the whole organism. The whole organism, in turn, provides the environment in which the components may continue to thrive. Only the State is free. Under contract theory, all freedoms are given to the sovereign, in this case, the State.
The State is not the traditional civic or mutual protection society, mere lawmaker, contract state, mere government, or umbrella under which individuals can assert themselves at the expense of others, as is the case in the world today. It is a collective person, the individual persons as organelles coming together as the social corpus, with a consciousness affirming its own well being and that of the environment in which it thrives.
“The State is the Divine Idea as it exists on Earth” (Philosophy of History (Hegel, 1902, p. 39.)). “Spirit is self-contained existence” (Ibid., p. 17). From the Philosophy of Right:
The state is the realized ethical idea or ethical spirit. It is the will which manifests itself, makes itself clear and visible, substantiates itself. It is the will which thinks and knows itself, and carries out what it knows, and in so far as it knows. (§257)
The state in and by itself is the ethical whole, the actualisation of freedom; and it is an absolute end of reason that freedom should be actual. The state is mind on earth and consciously realising itself there. In nature, on the other hand, mind actualises itself only as its own other, as mind asleep. Only when it is present in consciousness, when it knows itself as a really existent object, is it the state. In considering freedom, the starting-point must be not individuality, the single self-consciousness, but only the essence of self-consciousness; for whether man knows it or not, this essence is externally realised as a self-subsistent power in which single individuals are only moments. The march of God in the world, that is what the state is. The basis of the state is the power of reason actualising itself as will. (Philosophy of Right, §258)
The State speaks through its laws, ethos, and well being of its constituents – physical, institutions, human, environment, and otherwise.
The essence of the modern state is that the universal be bound up with the complete freedom of its particular members and with private well-being, that thus the interests of family and civil society must concentrate themselves on the state, although the -universal end cannot be advanced without the personal knowledge and will of its particular members, whose own rights must be maintained. Thus the universal [State] must be furthered, but subjectivity [individual] on the other hand must attain its full and living development. It is only when both these moments subsist in their strength that the state can be regarded as articulated and genuinely organised. (Ibid., §260)
In civil society, persons see themselves as individuals not as integrated and interdependent coming together as the State. Individuals are more important than society, be it the government and surely not the State. Social being does not mean an individual simply living with others under a social structure, such as a government. Be clear that “government” is not synonymous with “State”; the government is not the State. The former does not incorporate the latter, but the latter does incorporate the former. A government is a necessary instrument of the State to exert authority and otherwise manage society. The State is an organism unto itself, a social being resulting from the special relationship between individuals and the collection of formalized social institutions and having mentation. The consciousness from the social brain directs the government. The State has special and organic content. Again, think of a body. Compromise any of its parts and the body is compromised. Threaten or comprise the body, and each of the parts is compromised. The state exists because of the individuals as social beings, and those beings are social because of the State. It is the expression of the most fundamental law.
Let's get back to that dialectic, something existing because of what it is not. The individuals as social beings exist because of the State. The dialectic is above both the State and the individual as a social being. In none of these democrat-dictator debates will you see the paramountcy of the dialectic as the most fundamental law. It is the unity of opposites that gives something its meaning. Ignore it, and you won't understand anything. Ignore gravity when you jump from a 700-story building and you'll probably die. On and on, it is the character of these laws that dominate and is most important. Hence, to answer the question, “is the State more important than the individual”, my answer is no, but neither is the individual more important than the State. The most important is the dialectic, more explicitly, the organicity of society. The essence of organicity is the unity of opposites.
Then, remember our stages of civilization. We are not referring just to a being or a mere being in society (social being) but a being of a special social type, a civilized one. So, more accurately we should say “highest civilized social being”. Civilization means integrating with your fellow humans and cooperating with them to make this world and its environment a better place in which to live. This can be done loosely, as in the clan, but our world has gone beyond this local group, encompassing more peoples and their environments. Through these stages of social evolution – an organic growth, the individual's role assumes more and more of a formal character, and while through these stages s/he has progressively had more of a defined relationship with a social authority, there was not fully developed that dialectic until the State. The authority in pre-State societies has a transitory character, as well does the individual. There is no real binding between authority and the individual. Look at the organism. In a natural setting (medical technology aside) without the organs there is no body, and without the body, albeit a healthy one, the “parts” don't survive. “It takes two to Tango”, as they say.
Humankind through its stages of civilization has been trying to find its own identity. Another way of putting this is that the subspecies as a whole has been growing, from the embryo of living like a cave person through clans, kingdoms, empires, countries, and evolving to where we are now. Societies as organisms have been interacting with their environment, changing it, as the environment has affected how they change. It has gotten to the point, though, that humanity has generated so much complexity that it no longer can manage the environment, and it takes less now to create widespread calamity than it did before. Now, think of hundreds of thousands of wasps quietly resting on the items. Bump one, and you'll have a swarm effectively stinging you to death. So, you have to be agile and competent beyond belief just to survive. Think also of stocking a china shop with more items so that you cannot navigate the aisles without knocking something over and breaking it.
Societies are like that storekeeper. They simply cannot just have their governments metaphorically buying more dishes and maintaining the store. They have to manage the growing complexity of everything. To do that requires astuteness above and beyond the ordinary. That astuteness has to be embedded in a consciousness not only of the environment but the society, itself. Durkheim says it well with “collective consciousness”. The only way this can happen is for that society to be a whole being with all of its “pieces” articulating harmoniously to achieve goals and objectives.
I cite Bluntschli, Durkheim, and Hegel as the essential triad that births the State. Bluntschli and Durkheim constructed the corpus, its Gray's Anatomy. Hegel makes it live. However, he was describing an organism not yet truly borne into this world. We still are figuring out how to do so, and this book starts us on the path.
First, read what is required to be a State. That is, what does “State” mean? Once you do this, you can point to a social organization and answer that it should be designated “state” or “State”, but you must supply reasons. Is it a unique being that has a mentation of bringing people together, caring for them humanely, and valuing the search for truth above all else?
What about entities in transition, from “state” to “State”? The State is the highest form of human social development, but what is “highest”? Humanity still is relatively primitive, the problems chapter being illustrative. We have to locate the societies that among the rest have reached the highest stage of development, even though they have not reached the level sought in the ideal State. That is, even though many qualities have been attained, there still are areas that compromise its integrity. Do we refer to them as “the State”? Do we do this numerically (as in a checklist) or subjectively? We can provide some guidelines:
degree of organization
Go to Chapter 4 - Solution requirements and ask to what degree these requirements have been met by an entity we are thinking is the State. Out of all the entities in the world, if this particular one is fulfilling those requirements, it is more likely to be the State. Keep on reading though. I provide a checklist below.
If you look at the list carefully, however, you should notice the conspicuous absence of the most essential criterion of all: its search for truth. Assuming it ranks “A+” in all these areas, without that core ethos, it is a mere organism, albeit well interconnected, and a description without it I'd say get a “C”, not enough to face what is ahead.
Strictly speaking when we are writing about this or that country being a “state” or “State” there should be set forth these guidelines and ideally, they should be quantifiable. For now, however, we can assess relatively whether an entity is closer to being a State (one among many) than others. Let's take “failed state” (actually, this should be “failed State”, as we have something particular in mind what it should be). More accurately, though, it is a failed government. Somalia and Venezuela, for examples, are further away from being a State than, let's say, Denmark or Sweden. We look at satisfaction indices, education, social services, and violent conflict (among others) as markers.
The state is actual only when its members have a feeling of their own self-hood and it is stable only when public and private ends are identical. It has often been said that the end of the state is the happiness of the citizens. That imperfectly true. If all is not well with them, if their subjective aims are not satisfied, if they do not find that the state as such is the means to their satisfaction, then the footing of the state itself is insecure. (Ibid., §265)
Can we characterize it by what it does or its purpose? Can we select some requirements towards which the social organization is working? Is there a philosopher queen/king State? As to the quality of the State, not only do I look at how well the physical needs are being satisfied but more important the reason why the State exists, its ethos. Even though the “private and public ends” may be the same, it is those ends that give the State its quality. For example, there may be harmony, but if the ends merely are material well being with no ethos of seeking truth, that entity calling itself a State is not as noble as one that has as its essential being finding truth, purpose, and meaning in life. The panorama of values is the landscape for many States in various stages of development. Keep in mind that there is some minimum required for it to be deemed a State. Again, a government, as found in a liberal democracy, hardly can be called a State, simply because the public and private ends are not identical, witnessed, for example by the conflicts usually found over the government being “too big” or not going far enough to address alienation, social services, and the like.
In summary, here is a brief checklist to help determine if a country or government should be called “state” or “State”.
Establish the criteria and set them forth in your presentation. This book should help, especially the chapter on solution requirements in Chapter 4, as well as the theoretical background in Chapter 7. Ignore the capitalization issues in this chapter because of the inconsistencies, translation problems, and so forth.
Carefully analyze the entity in question, locating the problems, structure, and above all, the philosophy underpinning the entity. For example, is there a philosophy of integration? Are the citizens happy? What about conflict? How about the number of incarcerated persons? Does it have a good infrastructure? What is the level of education and training (remember these two are different)? Quantification always helps. Describe the rubrics and how they were determined. Double blind, peer-reviewed research adds credibility. Apply these to a number of social units for comparisons.
Is the social entity commanding or one that merely criticizes, recommends, “condemns”, or merely reacts? A State is proactive. If it sees a problem, especially one threatening the integrity of society (as in a software manufacturer's merely patching its operating system), it will own the problem, step in with experts, and order the needed changes. In the cacophony of surplus variety and lack of interoperability of critical infrastructure, the State will mandate standardization. Even when there is no pressure other factors intervene, as in wasting resources, environmental degradation, and the sheer waste of time people expend in comparing what product is “best”. The prevailing capitalist mentality is to “baffle them will bullroar”, instead of convincing them with reason and science. For this latter, rarely is there any reason or science; it is all about profit. In passing, such an ethos militates against the integrity of the State, and the true State will act, not display that silly urine-colored unhappy face.
In its relationship with other social entities, a State will enact policies, rather than whine and wring hands. If the infrastructure is collapsing, it will mobilize resources (nationalizing entities, if necessary) to correct the problem. For unemployment, jobs programmes (like those of Franklin D. Roosevelt) will be established. Homeless will be prevented by State housing in cooperative villages, where the clients are trained or educated. If students are graduating with substandard performance, the State will look at the curriculum, physical facilities, competency of teachers (among other factors), and direct solutions under the auspices of experts. While voluntary responses are desirable (as in those affected “seeing the light”), the State will not wait while the problem gets worse with the ongoing anarchy.
What are the values of the social entity? Overall, they need to be those bringing everyone into a cooperative society, where everyone has a place and is not alienated. Here, we ask about virtue, people placed in positions in which they can thrive contentedly at their full potential. There is a life-affirming value system, affirmative both for the human subspecies, as well as its environment (including the plants and animals). There are indicators. For example, we see the debates over whether an oil pipeline should be installed, the transition to renewable energy, mandating fuel efficiency standards, and so forth, the backdrop being global warming. However, in the United States, leadership defers to “the economy” in rejecting Earth-friendly policies. It refuses to have a comprehensive and coherent energy policy, preferring special interest groups and large corporations to make policy. The electorate, for its part, repeatedly votes for persons who sustain this course. Clearly, the value system of the United States is materialism, short-sighted materialism, at that, one of immediate (and primitive) self-gratification. Its policies are narcissistic, selfish, short-sighted, and bereft of any high-road ethos. The United States is not a State, but an agglomeration of individuals supporting a social unit – a government – that merely is a pied piper leading everyone to an abyss overlooking destruction.
Do not worry so much about it being “really” organic, or living in a biological sense. As we have made clear throughout this book, as long as it acts as if it were an organism, i.e., metaphorically, having the intent to have all the characteristics of being an organic entity, then we can deem the social organization as having evolved to be a State.
Most important is its raison d'etre. Is there the ethos of knowing truth? The ideal State is one having this at the forefront of its existence. We are not talking simply of facts for personal convenience but having that true religious (in the Latin sense) of seeking that which coheres, or binds, that which tells us who we are, what we are about, why we are here, and where we are headed. Everyone is integrated by living this ethos. Again, I point to virtue, as well. The ethos is internalized in every individual and codified into laws.
A lot of research is needed in these areas, but at least we have more of a theoretical underpinning, a better conception of “State”. We know that we are looking for a large animal with an extended proboscis, huge stumpy legs, big floppy ears, and so forth, rather than a small bird that lays egg. So, be on the lookout for an elephant, rather than a sparrow. Below I will elaborate on these in different contexts, admittedly with some repetition.
Giving force to virtue – how the individuals become contextualized
Can a society be virtuous? I paid significant attention to virtue in Chapter 4 - Solution requirements. If you are not familiar with the contents under the heading “virtue” it is advisable to re-read it before continuing. Suffice it to say here, though, virtue” is another way of saying “successful integration”, meaning symbiosis, or mutual benefit.
The State gives force to virtue. It has a place for everyone, and people can find a place in the State, from the day laborer to the genius making brilliant discoveries. As a larger question, can a society be anything? Asking in this way presupposes that not only is there an entity called “society” but its being able to assume a characteristic means it as a unit has such a capacity. In discussing virtue, one harks back to the classic Greek philosophers in identifying ethos, the core values. As with an individual, can we as a people hold to a “high road” ethos, as in Plato's idea that what is most important for humanity is considering who we are and why we are here, the search for reality and truth? We will see that not only is this such a highly complex and abstract question, but it is questionable at best whether the average intellect is capable of apprehending the depths challenging the thinker.
Here is the role of ideology, a life and environment-affirming ethos that guide the State but which incorporate – literally – the ideas of virtues, common consensus, and all else making for a healthy organism, both mentally and physically. More attention will be paid to this in later chapters, but note that there is internal guidance, as well as that from the outside, each matching the capacities of the individual.
Yet, even with the best and brightest being challenged, think of how humans may transcend their biological limitations not only in terms of adaptation as societies as systems to the environment but augment that capacity through methods like artificial consciousness and other transhumanistic developments. This research should focus on a central question of how virtue may be considered by a non-hydrocarbon-based consciousness. Then, there is a transference of everything for the benefit of humanity (including environmental affirmation) to any new decision-making entity, where life, itself, is affirmed, not unlike Spengler's humanity existing as the undercurrent of all the civilizations that have been born, lived, and died. So they go, humanity as the hydro-carbon entity goes; life continues.
Upper and lower case “s” in “state”
Literature is riddled with the term “state”. We find it both uncapitalized (“state”) and capitalized (“State”), as well. Some writers, as saw in Chapter 7 - Who says societies are living gave “state” that proper noun status but did not capitalize the “s”. Notice the inconsistency in reading. For example, Aristotle did not capitalize “state”. Hobbes and Rousseau did. When we read Hegel, some of his works, like the Philosophy of Right, the word takes a lower case, but in the History of Philosophy, it does. This all may be due to the translator's issues, and to resolve the problem the work in the original language needs to be consulted. Consider also the period of language, common nouns being capitalized in German but not in English, etc. Hence, to unburden the reader I am going to set forth capitalization parameters not simply as mechanical guidelines, but as continuing our philosophy of the State. The same line of reasoning here comes from the above with “corporation”. Whether to use an upper or lower case “s” in the word “state” at first glance is a rather straightforward application of capitalization.
The word “State”, as opposed to “state” has special significance. It is a particular thing, and this chapter will describe why it is so, hence the capitalization of the term when we give the word special attributes. Remember the proper noun and common noun distinctions. However, we see “state”. The word “state”, when not capitalized assumes a meaning like “regime” or “government”, but it is not the same as “State”, as “State” is a form of social organization more sophisticated with a special philosophical meaning than government or regime, as will be explained later. In this book, the original form of the word in the quotations have been preserved as upper or lower case.
So, for example, use “the state of Iowa”, except in the formal title, as in a legal document “Drivers License for the State of Iowa”. If Iowa (or many of the U.S. Midwestern states, as well as in the South) had assumed social responsibility by providing a comprehensive school (both education and training) programme, social services (universal health care, for example), and did all it could do to integrate every member of its society, then we could say that it was on its way to “Statehood”, consciously working toward being a real State. As we see, however, it is one of the most reactionary and anti-social states (among most others in the United States), denying basic services and allowing economic predation, failing to provide decent education and training to its youth (among many functions of the State), and even promoting environmental destruction (as in fracking for shale oil and not stopping pollution).
Now, I will bring down from above a question asked about a corporation. How about “state” and “State”? Recall the “john” and “John” discussion? Think also of “president” and “the President”. It applies here, as well. We have nominally the Prussian State, Fascist State, the Danish State, each with coherence, interdependence, a philosophy of purpose, and the consciousness that without the people the State would not exist, and vice versa. Each, however, has its own set of parameters and conditions for existence, but these generally are more advanced than liberal democratic societies, whose main function is to protect private interests. These “States” at least nominally help ensure the population is integrated and receives the best society has to offer. The actuality probably differs from the ideal, but we have to start someplace.
In applying our capitalization rules, we have a question, “name a State” in this group. With expressions like “the Prussian State”, these two juxtaposed words refer to a particular thing, i.e., proper noun, thus capitalized. Yet, ask about how the State coheres and Hegel's earlier observation that for the citizens “the state as such is the means to their satisfaction”. No such arrangement existed in Germany or the USSR, nor have they existed in classic dictatorships, as the people have little or no input. Rousseau was clear on this, as well. And, might not Durkheim agree? Yet, input has to be by those with virtue, i.e., an input according to what an individual is capable of and is appropriate for that level of decision-making. Virtuous consent cannot exist because of force.
What if the people are not happy and citizens are forced to do things? Two words we hear a lot are “totalitarianism” and “dissidence”. There are others, but they pretty much are derivative concepts and used to try discrediting the idea of the State. How am I going to use the term, then? “Intent” is the operative word, as well as what we just said about socialunity. It is clearer, then, that most of today's governments, as well as a number of notables, like 1930s-early '40s Germany, the USSR, the United States, are not examples of the State. We need to read the literature giving rise to the entity. Is it a government – as in liberal democracy – merely to protect the individual? Does it collectively have a higher reason? Re-read Hegel and others about whether it has any nobility, an ethos transcending Earthly concerns. Are the documents explicit about the organic and binding relationships between the citizens and the government? For example, the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
There is nothing about what is “perfect”, and “general Welfare”, or those “Blessings of Liberty”. All are individual-oriented, with emphasis on protection (tranquility, defense). In some fairness, though, political philosophy was not nearly as developed as it is now. I also have cited Alexis de Toqueville's Democracy in America - Chapter One in Volume Two, the first sentence, “I think that in no country in the civilized world is less attention paid to philosophy than in the United States. The Americans have no philosophical school of their own; and they care but little for all the schools into which Europe is divided, the very names of which are scarcely known to them.” Plato in his Republic wrote about the philosopher queen-king State, the whole purpose and structure of which was to seek the truth. In all of its smugness and arrogance, the United States was not then and never has been anything approaching a country whose very ethos is that search for truth. For sure it is not a State. Just continue with this book – especially through the last few chapters - and you will see what I mean.
What do we do with capitalizing words? First, remember that capitalized nouns refer to particular persons, places, or things. Then, my rule about “state”, any “ism”, and general words like “democracy” is simple. Always use the lower case, and, as with any other noun, you can make it particular or special by modifying it. Personally, I often avoid the problem by using the word “government” in lieu of places where others might write “state”. The proper noun of the country will be sufficient to characterize it, and reading about is politics and philosophy will let the reader decide if it should be “State”. If you do wind up using the upper case “State” (and its derivatives) make absolutely sure in the text before that you are referring to a special case and describe the conditions. If quoting the original author, I'd preserve the capitalization. However, if it is a problem of translation, as I found with Hegel, I'd render the translation, as is, but tell your reader why you think it should or should not be upper case. So, when I use “State” I am referring to a special being, the description of which is in this chapter, as well as the next.
Liberals and democrats (those advocating democracy) scream that “totalitarian” is something to be avoided and they often use it as a cudgel against societies they deem authoritarian. If a society is integrative, interdependent, organic, complete, of course, it will be “totalitarian”, as it accounts for every aspect of life in society. That is what “total” means – all. It is the whole enchilada, not just a part of it. The State solves problems in a total fashion, the immediate problem, as well as what gave rise to it. For example, it is not enough to raise teacher pay to improve the schools. Even if quality and up-to-date physical plant, staff, and curriculum were in place, you need to focus on the students and their environment. If a kid comes to class hungry, all the quality facilities and staff in the world will do little good. Why are the kids hungry? The parents may be unemployed, uneducated/untrained, etc. If the students are malnourished or sick, a robust universally accessible comprehensive health care system is needed. Is it not affordable because profiteers in the pharmaceutical industry and hospitals are charging too much? State intervention is required, nationalization being the most humane option. You can go intersection point by intersection point through the whole social web and discover how all ultimately are interdependent.
How about all these main highways being torn up because of the heavy truck traffic? Goods have to be transported, but if there is poor rail service, roads are the only viable option. Both the unions and management pressure legislatures for more highway funds, because the former are afraid of job losses, the latter craving more profits. Then, because of consumerism, more goods are produced than really are needed, as in conspicuous consumption. By a factor of ten, railroads are more energy efficient than trucks (Energy Efficiency in Transport, 2019). More infrastructure required infrastructure for the trucks, plus more petroleum use, causing more environmental destruction from oil extraction, and making highways less safe are just some of the interconnected events. Instead, a nationalized, hence coordinated transportation system, a school system that trains incipient truck drivers for some socially useful occupation, and a real energy policy that would make the trains even more efficient (such as hydrogen fuel cells) would be more of a totalitarian solution. In other words, the truck transport problem is artificial and unnecessary.
Totalitarianism also is in the context of how an organism functions. What is a “corpus”? It is a body. What is the make-up of a body? It has components, but more than that. They too all are interdependent, and what is done to one usually affects the others.
A government as “corpus”, “corporation”, or “body”, does not just mean just the hands, legs, or other part but the whole being, i.e., the total of it, hence totalitarian. This includes the non-physical, mentation. Non-governmental corporations, themselves, have the same totalitarian character, especially when the aspects of its organicity (integration of parts working together to achieve a goal) are considered.
What about “totalitarian” meaning every aspect of one's life being run by authorities? Of course, repressive regimes, police states, dictatorships and so forth exist, but, again in referring back to Hegel, these hardly can be deemed States. They are repressive regimes that dominate peoples' life entirely – totally – and are not integrative processes. The ends of the authorities and the people are not the same, hence, there being no State. The “totalitarian State” is one that satisfies Hegel's conditions, and at this stage in history it is dubious if one ever has existed – maybe partially, but nowhere what is needed to survive the Sixth Great Extinction. With Hegel's and Durkheim's descriptions I coupled the solution requirements laid out in Chapter 4 and the solution framework in Chapter 10 to be in place actively before we can deem the social organization “the State”. Too, review the guidelines above.
Dissidence in the State
What happens if there is resistance to the State? What about legitimate grievances? If it represses without really solving the problem, there is no State, as we saw above. Rather than force being used against “dissidents” we have to study what is giving rise to the opposition. More often than not the opposition is left out of society. Authorities cannot or will not find a place in society for the opposition. Remember, the State does not find alienated individuals within it. For the use of force, it is the fault of the State in not probing into the life of the protester. Cannot s/he find work? How about professional satisfaction? Let's say a historian of Greek architecture has no gainful occupation? At the opposite end of the spectrum look at gangs. Liberal democracies refuse to direct energies to identify incipient alienation in the youth and channel them into organizations and activities that are rewarding and life-affirming. The State, on the other hand, would have institutions like a national youth core and a real social service network that regularly monitor family health, school performance, and types of leisure activity.
Every endeavor in life that has as its object the truth has a place in the State. It is the State's responsibility to ensure that this area is accommodated. Does a person see others not being integrated into society or their lives being fulfilled? Precisely what does that person need or want?
For the latter, not even willing to be social but “individualistic” just to be contrary, what does the State do? Aside from initial conditions provoking such behavior - bullying, diminished expectations, and environmental conditions remediable by the State - there is poor mental health, including depression, personality disorders, anti-social behavior, and narcissism. Also, there may be physical issues, as in diet, child abuse, congenital disorders, and alcoholism. Note that these conditions often are interrelated. Substance abuse, including alcoholism, can be self-medication or a way of ignoring a horrible environment. These, in turn, exacerbate an already underlying depression. The person may be unemployed, unskilled, or bullied. Again, each is tied to the other, necessitating a totalitarian solution. Genetics and mental disorders (eg: antisocial personality disorder, sociopathy, compensatory behavior, depression) are identifiable in a civilized health care system. These have to be diagnosed before responding, but that response has to be comprehensive for it to be effective; otherwise, the behavior most likely will reemerge later.
Behaviorally, embarrassment and shame often are excellent ways of convincing a person that her/his views not only are antisocial but there is the harm to others. Polluting a stream, not getting vaccinations, not being a good steward of the land, producing articles that have no social value, and writing bad software hurt others. Hurt enough people and the whole integrity of society is at risk. Without a strong unified society, the individual returns to a predatory society, a state of nature. Shame on you for not pulling your share of the weight!
In other cases, arbitration structures, paneled by experts can resolve problems, just as there are courts presently. The major difference is the foundation: expertise, adherence to the State, philosophy, etc., rather than the legalisms, as was with Medieval Scholastics. Again, psychological professionals should be a part of the process. Every member of the State is a “case” having a history, present description, and road map to being successfully integrated into society.
For sure, incarceration is the best evidence of how the liberal democracies have utterly failed in integrating citizens into society. A little research will show that those countries with the lowest incarceration rate are the ones having higher levels of social services and integration.
The evolving State
Hegel said in his Philosophy of Right:
The state in its actuality is essentially an individual state, and beyond that a particular state. Individuality is to be distinguished from particularity. The former is a moment in the very Idea of the state, while the latter belongs to history. States as such are independent of one another, and therefore their relation to one another can only be an external one, so that there must be a third thing standing above them to bind them together. Now this third thing is the mind which gives itself actuality in world-history and is the absolute judge of states. Several states may form an alliance to be a sort of court with jurisdiction over others, there may be confederations of states, like the Holy Alliance for example, but these are always relative only and restricted, like perpetual peace’. The one and only absolute judge, which makes itself authoritative against the particular and at all times, is the absolute mind which manifests itself in the history of the world as the universal and as the genus there operative. (§259)
It does not really help much to rely upon the “universal mind”, a concept not unlike accessing the mind of God. Insofar as our being satisfied with what constitutes a State, we have to continue our present course in outlining criteria and the way we establish them. Hegel deemed Russia, Austria, and Prussia as States, but what about the public and private ends being identical or the happiness of the citizens? The citizens could not have been all that happy. Feudal society with legions of impoverished serfs had been dominant for centuries until 1861 in Russia. Post-1861 saw continued misery of the peasants and industrial workers also being impoverished, certainly with no relief from the Tsars. Deteriorating social conditions in the latter 1800s led to revolutionaries assassinating Alexander II in 1881, and from that point, onward, the rest is well known. Russia a State? Hardly, given Hegel's criteria. To avoid making the same mistake Hegel did I will be applying his criteria more stringently but allowing not only for different State types that truly fit within the minimum criteria but provide for their evolution.
At this stage, we have sorted out generally what we will be seeing in a State, but still, we do not know if we are looking for an Indian elephant or an African one. Neither do we know if we should be seeing a pigeon or a chicken. However, our philosophical underpinning will help us differentiate Somalia from Denmark. On the other hand, we would rather see something described by Hegel, even over Denmark. Such points to the reality that we still are evolving as a social subspecies. States as organisms evolve, as well.
So, at any one time in history, a government will be at some evolutionary stage in developing toward being the State, but not there yet. Where that transition point occurs is rather subjective, but we can go back to Hegel in asking about public and private ends, the degree of totality in solutions to problems, happiness of the citizens, and so forth. As a note, there is no deterministic evolution, as there may be setbacks. With respect to edits in this book, an error probably will creep in here and then, but at least this distinction between “government” and “State” is the intent of the author.
As a State can evolve, it also can devolve, decay, or simply die. With respect to social entropy, society as an organism – the State in society's highest stage of development - breaks down. Too, the undeveloped or underdeveloped State as “state” also can undergo breakdown. With respect to values, virtue is doing the best one is able to do, and if current conditions are an indication, societies are falling far short of the mark, especially when the light of Plato is shined on them.
There is a way out of the dilemma in calling a government a State or not. We might use the term “proto-State”, or a “pre-State”, a “wannabe State”. There is social organization, i.e., a government or country, but the social organization does not have a philosophy and really does not fulfill the criteria discussed above. It is a social zombie, bumping about from pillar to post with its liberal democracy, being led by the nose by an economic elite that has shoved the others aside and is preying upon them. Governments come and go, tools of the elite, and the people give this charade legitimacy by participating in it. So, I might refer to “proto-State” here and there from now on.
Lessons to be learned
To this writer, Durkheim’s and particularly Hegel's views are the closest description for the rationale of this whole book. The society as an organism, the form of the State, has a responsibility to itself, including its components, to keep healthy. It also has a responsibility to help ensure that its environment is not degraded. It has a responsibility to take ownership of itself, as well as the problems besetting it. John Locke, in his “On Property” Section 50 of The Second Treatise of Civil Government, says, “...in governments, the laws regulate the right of property, and the possession of land is determined by positive constitutions.” Research “positive law”. It means law made by humans; it is purposeful. It is not law granted by a deity or anything else outside of humans. When we see “positive constitutions”, these mean that humans go out of the way in nature and act. Locke says that government can and should act to “regulate the right of property”. This also means that the reactionary argument of letting Adam Smith's “invisible hand” determine how property is made and distributed is pure rubbish. After all, it is these same libertarians and “free enterprisers” that invoke Locke in their liberal democratic ideology.
This means that governments need to be proactive. They need to take responsibility for the health of the society of persons comprising them. Cancers are cells in a state of anarchy and they threaten the very life of the organism. They are not symbiotic (cooperative); they destroy. Predatory corporations, as well as the individuals leading them, are the same. They wantonly wreak havoc on the environment; they exploit workers by not paying them the full value of their labor; they hoodwink ignorant consumers into buying unwanted and cheap items and at prices determined by “what the market will bear”; they exacerbate already severely stratified income levels. This is the meaning of “vulgarity”.
If the State finds these types of elements within its body it must take countermeasures. Allowing elements to run amok, such as private organizations deceiving and preying on citizens is that cancer now metastasizing throughout society. Actions have consequences, and those consequences, in turn, are actions creating further damage. Failing to provide treatment to an affected part (as in not providing a universally accessible health care system (including dental, vision, and psychological services) , failing to provide the best that schooling and educational institutions have to offer to that “social brain”, and failing to provide that exercise (as in full meaningful, dignified, and well compensated employment) all hasten the decay and death of the social organism. Without virtue, the citizens as its organelles atrophy and die or they assume functions they cannot manage. If the government or country fails in these things – especially consciously, it certainly cannot be deemed a State. If it chatters on about “the market”, “free enterprise”, “the economy”, or “freedom”, it is is merely rationalizing anarchy, predation, and a war of all against all. It cares not one whit about its citizens. It is an agent of the predators. In fact, it becomes a predator in its own right.
A State takes ownership of a problem because it recognizes that it cares for itself as an organism and will take measures to protect its health. Taking ownership of problems is an indicator of a social organization being a State or not. It mandates product uniformity, environmental friendliness, standardization, and social utility. It requires all software to be tested independently by experts before being vetted. It means that everyone has decent housing. It means producing carbon-free renewable energy. On and on, it meets the problems of the types described earlier, not excusing its abnegation of responsibility by an ideology favorable to narcissism, greed, and individuality.
What about a police state? Note here that the word “state” is not capitalized, because normally such a society relies on both physical and psychological violence to hold everything together. Generally, the more repressive these measures are, the less stable the society is, as the degree of force required is inversely proportional to the degree of alienation, hence, disintegration. Both Durkheim and Hegel talk about this. Go back and read what Hegel says.
Lenin wrote in State and Revolution – Chapter I, that the State is “...an organ for the oppression of one class by another ...”. After November 1917 was there a State in old Russia? Clearly, the Bolsheviks were in the minority and the widespread civil war that followed, capped by Stalin's repression did not result in the State, at least given the criteria discussed above.
What of the evil State? If the State is the embodiment of everything desirable, can there be such a thing as an evil State? Is the quality perspectival? That is, does one point of view determine the State's quality? The adherents of a State's programme and philosophy most likely would deem the State favorably. The opponents would see it otherwise. People come together to recognize an authority that is outside the family unit. In an organism, such issues are translated into how the species defends itself, such as by forming into packs, selecting leaders (alpha males, for example), mating habits, and so forth. Legitimation theory helps to understand how people accept and support authority, two factors being required for a social organization to be a State. These and the other requirements are the soil and nutrients of the State. But, again, I think Hegel would agree that regimes like those under Hitler and Stalin really were not States, as the State by definition is not evil. That Germany and Russia brought their internal violence to bear on others settles the question about how others view these actions. Notice that Nazi Germany and the USSR are not around anymore.
How do our ideas of the State translate into particular systems? We saw that with National Socialism and Italian fascism, the concept of the State was solidified into two specific categories of structures, the first unitary, the second diffuse. Under National Socialism, the State IS the people, and the people ARE the State. It is said that Louis XIV., used the expression “l'etat c'est moi” (I am the State.) (Carlyle, 1837, p. 625 ). Hitler demanded the “Führerprinzip” (leadership principle), where all authority rested with one person, as the Wikipedia article on the word describes very well. The same reason the Bolshevik regime was not a State is the same reason the Nazi one was not. Italian fascism was diffuse, was representative in character, the rods of Lictor being bound together to create power, symbolized by the ax in the middle of the individual rods, to be the State. Fascism was republican, the representative character of the State, following Plato's idea of representation, where each individual can be seen as an example of the ideal of the State. No such relationship existed under National Socialism. Reading the little section above on “proto-State” will help solve some of these problems.
Too, be aware that the State, then, is what emerges from our modeling of society. We give it the characteristics that are germane in identifying problems and forming solutions. If it is transport that is at issue, then, we might consider it as being analogous to the nerves, looking at how nerves behave and seeing if similar effects are in the society we are studying. We see how these components are constructed and how well they are functioning. We look at all the other aspects of the corpus we discussed above, as well as the entity of which the corpus is the body, or structure, the State.
Discussing this most complex social entity the State cannot be done very well in one book or even many, as this is a living concept. However, we can go back through the thinkers on organic society theory and select appropriate society-organic analogs, as in communications systems being nerves. The more we learn about life the more we will be better equipped to do this. It may be in the end that life is in everything to some degree or other. Current research in extremophiles suggests that where we thought that life simply didn't exist in various places really does, thus adding enriched meaning to the term. Too, maybe animism may be real. However, there are some foundations that are ever present in considering social organizations as States, some main ones we have already seen above.
The foregoing lesson is about the quality of order, that authority can be directed one way in a structure or be shared because the ultimate goal of the citizens is the same as society's. If order is the basis of systems, societies are dynamic systems, and dynamic systems are organic in some respect – literally or figuratively, then what happens at the roots? What is manifest in foundational order percolates up to the most complex aspects of societies, and this signifies ethos, and this ethos is the consciousness of the organism. Such complexity often is not understood, as well as the foundations. For example, swarms of birds and insects exhibit regularity (swarm theory) that suggests complex order. There may be “something” in that swarm that also is the characteristic of “life”, as the animists might have it. How one separates purely mechanical phenomena from “consciousness” is the problem of consciousness, itself. It also is the problem we encounter in developing non-hydrocarbon-based thinking devices. With our focus now on what is contained in the social brain of the corpus, it is appropriate to move on to the following chapter.
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