I wonder of someone could provide some illumination on my conundrum. It is late and I have been reading theory minutiae over my stub of a candle – so apologies and please bear with my train of thought…
The classical precepts of Liberalism, as defined by Locke, is a natural state in which all people are considered equal, free to act, and have an inherent natural right to ‘Life, Liberty, and Property”. This individual property may be, for example, a house, car, big screen television, or land.
As we are all equal in our ability to labour for, and defend, the realisation of these rights, we look to the State for additional protection and security. As Nozick describes, citizens are ‘consumers’ or even ‘customers’ purchasing “impartial, efficient protection of pre-existing natural rights.”
That is, the state as a consensual extension of collective governance, is required to protect the Life, Liberty and Property rights of individual citizens – and nothing more. In particular, the control that a state can legitimately wield does not extend to any notion of a collective ”territory”. As Nozick explains, the land of a nation (read state) is not the collective property of its citizens. This would negate the notion of individual property rights.
As such, the Liberal State has no claim to any collective notion of land or territory.
The Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States formally established the definition of the modern state – as having a permanent population, a government, recognition by other sovereign states… and a defined territory.
How can we consolidate these two seemingly incongruous concepts!? Does the requisite delineation of a defined cohesive territory nullify any notion of a Liberal State? Or conversely, if we accept the premise of the Liberal argument – does this throw the formal definition of a modern state to the anarchic dogs of international relations!?
As I say, it is rather late… perhaps I have had a little too much theory…!?