The purpose of a civil state should be
to facilitate the progress of its participants away from the jungle
toward civilization, to provide all its participants a good life,
including guaranteed economic and social equality, all the goods and
services they need to be comfortable and happy, and retention of all
personal freedoms and human rights that don't need to be curbed or
forfeited so that the state can effectively function. A civil state
should be as effectively organized as it needs to be and have the
reasonable authority it needs to have, but it should never be an idol,
a deputy deity, a super parent, or a means of controlling participants
for the benefit of any elite faction.
A civil or civilized state should be regarded
as no more and no less and indeed (since this is a perfect definition)
exactly as: a MECHANISM through which people do together those
things that they can't do apart, or that they can't do as easily or
as well apart, that they need to do to live together in a civilized
way and to provide and maintain as good a life for every participant
as is practically possible.
A civilized civil state cannot be a
religious domain. Since by definition civil affairs are community
and not religious affairs, and since civilization itself must be defined
as a state of affairs evolved away from and risen far above the old
state of primitive barbarism to which superstition and the church
belong, a civil state should be regarded not as a creed but as a practical
mechanism (a tool) with realistic community purposes (not mystical
or sacred purposes) and should never be saluted or sung to or sacrificed
to or in any way idolized. The only state related obligation participants
should have, not actually to the state but to themselves and each
other as cooperative users of the state, should be an obligation to
keep their state working properly so that its purposes may be achieved.
That obligation should include responsible participation in the state
but obviously not adoration of or dumb submission to it. Furthermore,
no church or priest should dominate or lead a civil state, and none
of its officials or managers should be idolized or have privileged
status, exalted titles, or elevated salaries.
A civilized civil state cannot be a
business domain. Since a state has to be a joint venture depending
for its success on the voluntary and equal commitment of all participants,
and there is no reason for participating in a state other than the
expectation of an equal share in its benefits, all citizens should
share both the obligations and the benefits of any truly civilized
state - its work, responsibilities, products, services, and privileges
- as equally as organizational requirements and individual capabilities
permit and individual needs require, i,e, fairly (yes, that does mean
a civilized state must be, economically, a communist state; see Communism)Communism).
Obviously, a civilized civil state
has to have the reasonable authority needed to achieve its purposes.
An effective state cannot be anarchic. It should be based on
a blueprint and the blueprint should be facilitated and maintained
by sticking to that blueprint's specifications. The simplest social
contract entails at least one rule, i.e. that each participant must
abide by the agreement: I won't harm you if you won't harm me.
A civilized state should be considered a civil extension of the social
contract with an economic dimension, i.e. a membership-wide social/economic
contract, which entails, besides the social contract commitment to
restraint, a commitment to undertake some obligations. This means
it should have limited but clearly relevant and reasonable authority
and rules, and participants in a civilized state should reasonably
expect to participate seriously, to follow rules and accept responsibilities
TO THE EXTENT NECESSARY TO ENSURE THAT THE STATE WILL FUNCTION SUCCESSFULLY.
But a civilized civil state must never
overstep its logical authority. Marx's idealization of a "stateless"
condition strikes me as vague, if not downright mystical, maybe because
I don't get it, but this is what I think he meant (or should have
meant). A civilized state has certain important purposes but not all
purposes, and since its purpose is to make life better, it should
not have merely bureaucratic rules or bureaucratic enforcers of rules
or the kind of oppressive cops that would make it a nuisance. Neither
the authority of the state nor that of its delegates should ever exceed
the purposes of the state or its functional requirements. No citizen
should be asked or expected to sacrifice any existential rights or
freedoms that don't need to be sacrificed or to modify any existential
rights or freedoms more than they need to be modified TO ENSURE THE
FUNCTIONAL SUCCESS OF THE STATE. And that's all. A civilized state
cannot logically have laws that are not based on the social/economic
contract of which the state is a civil extension.
Civilization has to walk a very fine
line between the participants' concession of rights that need
to be conceded so civilization will work and the state's vigilant
respect for all the existential freedoms that individuals have the
self-bestowed right to retain. I've just perfectly defined that line,
i.e. THE MAXIMUM CONCESSION NEEDED TO ENSURE THE FUNCTIONAL SUCCESS
OF THE STATE. The honest and consistent recognition and guarding of
that line is as much a part of the definition of a civilized state
as is the function of a civilized state clarified above.
There is no necessary connection between
democracy and civilization or the civilized ends intelligent humans
should seek through a civil state. Democracy is a means, not an
end, and, on a large scale, it seldom leads to any civilized end.
It may work in a club meeting, though even there consensus would probably
work better. But it seldom works effectively at a national level.
In fact, pro-democracy advocates who think they're working with "the
people" for state level change usually end up installing the same
familiar breed of demagogues as always and unconsciously supporting
the rich fascists they think they're opposing. Civilized states are
more likely to be set up by benign dictators. See Democracy.