Depending on which country you live in the term ‘the State’ can have different meanings.
In our country I take the term ‘the state’ to mean you and me – all of us – because we are a democracy and ultimately we,the people, are in control. If we don’t like what the government (the State) is doing we can vote to change who governs us.
Of course, Big Money and other self interest groups can and do exert considerable pressure on the politicians we elect to pass laws (eg. our tax laws) or bend them in the interests of the few and not the many.
Never-the-less ,as I say, we still have the power to control those forces of self-interest, which is why it is important that you vote in every election, because not to vote is actually a vote for the status quo – and give those who would dominate us a free hit.
If you disagree with some decision of ‘the State’ you have the right to protest and I have exerted my right to do so on a number of occasions. But I have only done it when I felt that some law or government decision was not in the Public Good.
So, for example, I protested the TPPA because and the CPTPP because I am convinced they contain clauses (such as the right for some foreign investors to sue us if we pass laws that limit their profits) which I think are not in the Public Good.
I choose to follow the government’s Covid 19 policy however because I am convinced it is in the Public Good to do so and that, however difficult these times may be for many of us, it remains true that you can’t have a lifestyle if you don’t have a life.
Moreover I am convinced it is by the State taking more control of the marketplace is the best road to economic recovery.
So the “State” is not a bad thing in and of itself .
Yesterday the news reported on an Auckland anti-lockdown protest by a group of people who believe the State is depriving them of their “rights”.
The very fact that they were allow to protest and were not arrested is proof, if proof were needed, of how tolerant our State is to dissent.(Which I guess influenced the decision of the police to make no arrests on that occasion).
Holding up placards saying Covid-19 is a hoax is to tell a lie that is not in the Public Good.
To gather together and risk spreading a deadly disease we are trying to contain is not in the Public Good and stupidity….can be terminal.
Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.