What’s the State?

To pick up where I left off in the previous post — “Governments fail because usually the citizens are not very clever, the politicians are power-grubbing cretins, and the bureaucrats are corrupt ignoramuses. The solution is therefore to keep government small and its scope severely limited” — let’s ask “What is the proper role of the government or the state?”[1]

For a start, we should define “the state.” The state, according to the German sociologist Max Weber (1854 – 1920), is a “human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory.” This characteristic of the state, more than anything else, determines and constrains its scope. Continue reading “What’s the State?”