The 5 Stages and Challenges to Nation Building

How does this Nation building relate to today and what is happening to the United States because our college classrooms promote text books like, Political Science an Introduction, Tenth Edition. It states that (Roskin, Cord, Medeiros, Jones) there are 5 stages in nation building (p 42-45).

Identity, the people need to have a sense of belonging to a group. This was the case in America when we enforced our immigration laws.

Legitimacy, a government must cultivate the respect and the willing obedience of its citizens. The regime must rule the people.

Penetration, all the people must obey the government’s writ.

Participation, the regime must allow the people to believe they participate in the regime.

Distribution, today this is called redistribution which means forcefully taking from those willing to work and giving to those who are unwilling to work.

The first step in Nation Building is identity, which comes from a people, because they have a sense of belonging to a group. This must come from the people themselves and not be thrust upon them, such as from invasion. This is why the Mexican invasion is failing and what has brought about SB 1070 in Arizona. Identity must be from a grass roots level, it must be from the people.

The second and third have one theme in common, the obedience of the people to the government of men. Obedience can only come from two directions, either from the government saying you will or you will die as in the case with Mao in China, or from the people, because they truly believe the government is leading them correctly on a path to a better future as in the case of the United States.

The participation step is interesting in that the people must genuinely believe that they do have a say in what’s going on. They must truly believe that their voices are heard. For this step to sustain itself the people must believe that they have a government of laws not of men. If, the president says that they are going to be transparent then laws must be created in an open fashion, where the people see what is going on. It cannot be “pass it to find out what is in it”. That is not open, it is tyrannical. Representatives cannot serve in government to be an oligarchy if they are to be representative, they can only be viewed as rulers. Men only serve in government to provide adherence to the laws and the Constitution; the government must police itself if it is to survive, or the people will remove it either by force, impeachment, or by vote, with the last two having the least amount of bloodshed.

The distribution or redistribution step is one that cannot sustain itself anywhere. When you use force to take from one group of people and give it to another group of people, the ones being taken from will say why should I work, if I cannot keep the fruits of my labor? If I do not work, then I will receive from the ones who do, therefore why should I work?  This is called theft, and it violates two of the 10 commandments given to us by God, 8th and 10th. Perhaps this is why there has been such an effort to remove the 10 commandments from all government places and from our schools. The Soviet Union collapsed because of this. Another problem with this is that ones who, are doing the taking and redistributing, are keeping a large portion for themselves, thus redistributing to themselves, not the people who they promised it to. As Margaret Thatcher said Mar 5 1976, the problem with socialism is that soon you run out of other people’s money.

Finally a very interesting theme in the text (Roskin, Cord, Medeiros, Jones), Crises of Nation Building (p 42-45) is the author’s seeming utter contempt for a nation of laws. They like the words regime and obedience all too well.

Now let us look at what is happening in the United States today. Legitimacy, the second step, is the most difficult part of governing. A very good example is our current Obama Administration. Is he legitimate? Yes he was elected by a small majority of the people 66 million to 58 million. Winning by only 8 million votes out of 124 million ballots cast only 6%, is not an overwhelming majority. Obama campaigned on hope and change. The people interpreted this to mean that he was going to return our government to the people. He was going to be a “transparent government” and open to the people to see and have input.

Nowhere in his campaign did he say that he was going to buy banks and auto companies, fire CEOs, set up panels to oversee salaries and commissions. Nowhere did he say that he was going to bribe legislators to pass healthcare. He did say he was going to allow the entire healthcare debate on CSPAN. That never happened.

His crisis is not one of poor management, it is one of Legitimacy. The people do NOT see him as a legitimate leader. He is seen as an illegitimate tyrant, although legally elected, a tyrant none the less. Elections do have consequences. The Tea Parties came into being and are growing fast, because they do not see Obama as legitimately governing within the constitution. For him to succeed he is going to need to address the issue of Legitimacy, and the people are going to have to accept it.

Roskin, Michael g. Cord, Robert L., Medeiros, James A., Jones, Walter S. 2008,

           Political Science and Introduction.

           Prentice Hall Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.

4 thoughts on “The 5 Stages and Challenges to Nation Building

  1. Barry

    While he may be illegitimate in some eyes, he was duly elected…so was Hitler. If he does succeed in securing a second term by election, it will be due to the same reason other forms of government have failed…apathy.

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