16 November 2014

Prince Hans-Adam II: The State in the Third Millennium


I am reading a most remarkable book that should be read by all Catholics who have a serious interest in political theory and constitutional law. It is entitled "The State in the Third Millennium" by Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein. 

In his introduction the Prince writes:

What kind of state does humanity want in the third millennium? President Kennedy, whom I had the honor to meet personally when I was a young man, said in his Inaugural Address in 1961: “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” As a young, idealistic person, I was in those days convinced by this statement.

Today, I may not have lost all of my ideals, but decades of experience in national and international politics, including many years as the head of state of a small but modern democracy, have convinced me of the truth of the reverse statement: Ask not what a citizen can do for the state, but rather what the state can do better for the citizen than any other organization. This organization could be a community, an international organization, or a private company. 

I would like to set out in this book the reasons why the traditional state as a monopoly enterprise not only is an in efficient enterprise with a poor price–performance ratio, but even more importantly, becomes more of a danger for humanity the longer it lasts. 

Princess Marie & Prince Hans-Adam II

Hans-Adam II
The Reigning Prince of Liechtenstein
van Eck Verlag, 2009

[Publisher's Notice:  Prince Hans-Adam of Liechtenstein is able to look at the modern nation-state from many different angles: as a head of state; as a politician, who had to win popular votes in a direct democracy; as a businessman active not only in his own state but also in different continents; as an amateur historian fascinated by the evolution of humanity and the influence of military technology, transportation and the economy on the size of states. He analyses those forces that have influenced human history in the past and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. These include religions, ideologies, military technology and economics. He suggests how to make the traditional democratic constitutional state both more democratic and more efficient. He also discusses strategies on how to realise worldwide the modern democratic constitutional state in the third millennium. His goal is that people don't have to serve the state anymore and be threatened by wars or other state measures, but that all states have been turned into peaceful service companies which serve the people and humanity. That is the purpose of the draft constitution for the state of the third millennium which closes this eloquent, lucidly argued and exemplarily concise manifesto.]