It is important for a society invest legitimate authority on state institutions to enhance the prevalence of order in conducting of public affairs. The lack of legitimate authority to exercise power on behalf of the people may hinder the potential of a given society to prosper…
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A State is the main institution which exercises power on behalf of the people in the contemporary society. It is bestowed with legitimate authority by the society for preserving its institutions for the betterment of the welfare of all. The contemporary society has empowered the state to make and impose laws that are necessary for the harmonic existence of all members of the society (Woodrow, 2001). The main role of State is providing protection to the entire society (Petricus, 2009). This core role of the state arises from the fact that it is almost impossible to guarantee all members of society protection that is based on voluntary arrangement amongst individuals. There is need for an institution that is acceptable to the entire society to provide protection from both internal and external forces that may threaten the well being of individual members or the entire society. Protection by state refers to securing the rights, liberties and freedoms of the individuals as well as their property. This role is undertaken by one authority within a given society to avoid conflicts which may arise in dispensation of this important duty. However the state has other important roles which are related to its protective role such as promoting economic welfare of the society, provision of basic needs such as food, shelter and education. This paper is a critical evaluation of the roles of the state in the contemporary society. The Protective Role of the State The protective role of the state to the society can be understood by evaluating the status of security and human rights practices in stateless societies such as Somalia in comparison with a society which has an effective system of governance such as the United States of America. It is evident that there is widespread abuse of human rights and lack of protection in a stateless society. Somalia is a country in the horn of Africa, which has survived for more than 10 years without a formal authority to govern the citizens. As a result, numerous criminal organizations such as Al-Shabaab have continued to terrorize citizens as well as committing atrocities against the country’s peaceful neighbors. As a result, Somalia has continued to lag behind in terms of development especially due to power struggles, which have created conflicts that have resulted to some of the citizens seeking refuge in some of the neighboring countries since there is no sufficient security. This has also created a loophole which has facilitated international terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaida with a ground to fulfill their violent missions around the world (Abukhalil, 2006). It is important to note that the powers of the state are at times abused for the benefits of the ruling class thus negating the core role of this important societal institution. Since, by design, some members of the society exert relatively higher control on the state, it is possible for such group to extract more benefits than the majority of the society who are under control through acts of corruption and nepotism. It is for this reason that recent developments in some of the Arab nations such as Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, have taken place, where civilians have taken it upon themselves to overthrow corrupt leaders, whose main agenda was to remain in power and continue to acquire illegal wealth. The western society and other societies which have adopted and successfully implemented democratic ideals have at their disposal three means by which they protect themselves from undue exploitation by the state. These are; restraint through judicial processes, voicing concern through voting in general elections and removing irresponsible officials through votes of no confidence as well as invoking the right to hold non violent
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