The interdependence of people and the state is based on mutual understanding and cooperation. But there is an unfortunate supposition that rather than being the protector of communal life the state is the gravest threat to the freedom and security of individuals. As such, the physical and moral freedom of people and the state’s functioning must be defined.
According to William Connolly, boundaries play an important role in understanding freedom and defining a nation. His work titled Theory, Culture and Society rightfully specify the unity and separation between the state and the society. Boundaries create order and at the same time, “form indispensable protections against violation and violence; but the divisions they sustain in doing so also carry cruelty and violence” (Connolly 1994, 19). Due to this fact, a distinct and definite line must be drawn between what is allowed and how the order is upheld. Connolly mentions Moses in relation to people and how the authority was established.
It is clear that boundaries must be united and connected by “bridges” in order for people to get the message and understand it. But, the authority must stay the single ruling power, as there can be no mixing and loss of authority for a nation to exist. This fact is very true and attributable to modern times because the state must exist separate from society and people in order to be guided by the bigger picture. As the government is in charge of a nation, it overlooks many aspects of social life that require professional training and understanding. Power and authority will not be able to control a nation if given to people randomly and easily. Right away, this sets the separation between the state and the people, as it is required by the greater moral principles and concepts (Sargent, 2008).
In a work titled What Is Patriotism, Emma Goldman analyzes another perspective in finding out what patriotism really means. From one point of view, it is the childhood places that people remember and wants to keep in their heart as dear, but from another, it is an obligation to the state. As the times are rapidly changing, the childhood places have become non-existent after factories and cities have been built in the childhood spaces. The state took hold of people and their moral belonging. It is unfortunate but often, the state teaches people that they are superior, through reinforcing patriotic feelings. In the end, a nation is still surrounded by borders and is secluded from the outside world.
It is possible to assume that the state has a way of depriving people of their freedom through patriotism and one-sided ideals. Military training has become one of the central goals of the state which makes people dependant. Emma Goldman rightfully notes that “when we have undermined the patriotic lie, we shall have cleared the path for the great structure where all shall be united into a universal brotherhood—a truly free society” (Goldman 1908, para. 14). In some way, it is possible to agree with Goldman because, in case of a war, the nation and the state demands people to take up arms. This is especially true in the modern world because the interests of the nation and the government supersede those of individuals and peaceful society. In case there is a sense of belonging, it must be based on the social programs that benefit people, healthcare, and the laws that allow people to live a full and peaceful life.
The Public and Its Problems by John Dewey takes a political look at the connection between the state and the public. The government of the state must base its actions on the needs of people. Dewey writes that “a community as a whole involves not merely a variety of associative ties which hold persons together in diverse ways, but an organization of all elements by an integrated principle” (Dewey 1927, 38). From this statement, it is clear that the separation between individuals will not be beneficial for the greater good of the nation or the state.
This greatly ties politics to everything that takes place within a society. All the actions of groups and communities have the following effect on the rest of the people. But, in order for a consensus and a direction to exist, people must work together in the common interest. Selfishness and egoism cannot be present in a free society because people will try to get more than they need or deserve. Thus, the state and governments exist to allow everyone an equal chance. There is no doubt that there are societies and nations where people are not even remotely free, both physically and mentally. At the same time, some nations are well developed where the state understands the mutual interdependence, giving people freedom of choice (Pojman, 2011).
Even though there are many limitations that are part of a nation and its functioning, the state must benefit people and develop the nation further. People are free when the state is fair, and each relies on the other for common wants and needs.
Connolly, W 1994, ‘Theory, Culture & Society’, Sage, pp. 19-41.
Dewey, J 1927, The Public and Its Works, Sage Books, Chicago.
Goldman, E 1908, What Is Patriotism? Web.
Pojman, L 2011, Ethics: Discovering Right and Wrong, Wadsworth Publishing, Belmont.
Sargent, L 2008, Contemporary Political Ideologies: A Comparative Analysis, Cengage Learning, Belmont.