by Paul Thomas

About Paul Thomas

Paul Thomas was Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He is co-author (with David Lloyd) of Culture and the State. He passed away in 2016.


Gore Vidal (2004) observed in the first decade of the twenty-first century that we no longer live in a state; we live in a Homeland. The Cold War is over, but the US national security state (supposedly called forth by the Cold War) is alive and well, fortified—now that the State Department is no longer sufficient—by its Department of Homeland Security. The rhetorical sleight of hand involved in this transposition of “state” into “Homeland” is not without precedent, and the 2001 Patriot Act is but the latest incident in a long history of state-sponsored countersubversion that predated the Cold War (Rogin 1987). Euphemisms for state (“Motherland,” “Fatherland,” la patrie) have long abounded, and so has the unwieldy and often inaccurate composite “nation-state.” Note also the substitution of “nation” for “state” in names such as United Nations and the Inter_national_ Monetary Fund.