The state as a tool and as a necessity

What is this state? How does it have the capability and strength to face this dreaded legacy: bankruptcy and a fragmented society; and interventions, conspiracies, and external aggressions? What does it mean for a state to be? It means it has sufficient legitimacy in the eyes of its citizens to manage their resources with no costs of hesitation, retreat, bribery, or oppression.

How does a strong state come to be? Here, too, the issue is neither dogma nor ideology, but rather a matter of actualities and necessities.

If the country were united around a nationalist ideology, if the majority were to follow the same religion, or if there were a strong, united military force, then the state could borrow its legitimacy from nationalism, religion, or military might. Around us are states of such types. Our society cannot legitimize authority on similar grounds: the only way for Lebanon to be a true state is for it to gain political legitimacy though a civil state and thence is the very contrast with the current political system that is based on a confessional and a sect-quota coalition.

How would the State act?

Let us attempt to answer this question simply while avoiding the pitfalls of over-theorizing or complexifying technical details.

We want a government able to take responsibility for the cursed legacy and to pilot through the transition phase that we are currently engaged in and through which we are struggling while navigating without a direction. The management of this phase should respond to clear objectives. This is why the government should be endowed with exceptional legislative prerogatives for a period of 18 months in order to capture reality and deal with the cursed legacy that we are left with.

What will its program be?

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