At the same time as we have become more civilized, the state has extended its formal reach, multiplying law and punishing us for transgressions. We have learned to delay gratification, moderate our impulses, resist our instincts, and act with a restraint, forbearance, and self-abnegation unknown in the early modern era. Yet the more we discipline ourselves, the more law the state trains on us.

A history of the state from premodern to modern times with a particular emphasis on how uniquely ubiquitous the modern state is in controlling the life, affairs, and even thoughts of its subjects.