What is a state (nation)?
It is a set of rules we agree to follow, so that civil behavior can take place on a daily basis. (Francis Fukuyama)
China may have established the first rules based state in history over two thousand years ago.
But, what makes a rules based state appealing? The idea of the “rule of law”, which means that government officials should ensure that the state is governed by laws not men, and that all, even the most powerful, are subject to the law.
Not all rules based states are governed by the rule of law. Some like China today are governed by the ‘law of rule’, meaning those who rule make the law, but are not subject to the law.
When you want to know which states in the world stand the best time of surviving, ask yourself whether they are governed by the rule of law or the law of rule.
Not only states but organizations of all types can be tested by asking the same question.
For example when you hear a business owner or executive say, “this isn’t a democracy,” the meaning they are conveying is that THEY are ruling and what THEY say goes.
This is a false premise and if extended far enough into a business environment will lead to decay and ultimate bankruptcy. On the other hand, work environments have become much more democratic and rule of law oriented. For example, there can no longer be discrimination in hiring based upon race, creed, gender, or marital status. Also, men and women are now to be treated equality in the workforce. A woman is now protected by the law if her boss harasses her sexually. The boss will be fired if such behavior arises.
The same holds for religions. It used to be for example that catholic priests believed that they were protected from legal consequences if they committed sexual acts on young children. After all, they claimed, they answered only to the pope, they were beyond the laws of the state. Thank goodness, that bogus interpretation on being above the law has changed. You break the law as a clergyman, you are subject to the same civil and criminal laws as the rest of us.
Even our most powerful political figures are not above the rule of law. Richard Nixon is a powerful example of how corruption in high political office bows before the rule of law.
A state is a set of rules that are governed by the principle of “the rule of law.” Next the state must show that it works to meet the needs of the people and not solely the needs of those who govern.
In America we have adopted the idea of “the middle”. In our culture, if the middle class is growing and getting ahead, which to us is the greatest proof that the state is facilitating the process to ensure the needs of the people are being met.
In America we have come to believe that the middle class runway must be very long and easy enough to get on and out. In other words, it should be made to easily facilitate the poor a solid path to entry, and ensure an exit path to upper middle class living.
There are several strategies that are employed to ensure that the state is listening to whether or not it is meeting the needs of the people. Voting is the most critical. Filing lawsuits is another way, and acts of civil disobedience is yet another way.
There are no guarantees that the state will automatically survive. For example in America we are now in a period of divided government. Sizable numbers of conservative groups are working to reduce the effectiveness of the government in meeting the needs of its citizens.
Also, interest groups are said to control votes of various elected officials.
Not until the people at large recognize that democracy works only by their direct participation in preserving a nation based on rules, a system of governance based on the rule of law, and a government which actively meets the needs of the citizenry can we guarantee that the American system of governance will remain.