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It can't have an existence separate from society, because it works within society.  Cameron's correct that the state, itself, cannot be seen as society.  The state isn't what defines the British people.  It may act on their behalf on this, that and the other issue, but it's not the sole producer of collective action, and societies should be defined, in many ways, by the sum of their parts, collective and individual.

I don't see how he's appealing to prejudice in that statement, though, aside from the traditional conservative and libertarian prejudice against government intervention.  Thatcher was trying to say that there exists no such thing as the collective, which is, of course, ridiculous.  (Had she been correct, there would exist no national identity, and the English are, by no stretch of the imagination, lacking in that area.)  Cameron's response was to say that she was wrong on the collective, but right, to one degree or another, about the government being the agent for the collective.  On that, I think he's quite correct.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 10:31:22 AM EST
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