What would the State look like if I hadn't been brought up in it? Alternatively, what would happen if the proverbial "man from mars" came to Earth and had a look at the State, having no such experience?
I think an old Star Trek episode, "A taste of Armageddon", gives a good answer (you can also watch it). Kirk and the crew visit a planet involved in an interplanetary "war", only it's not really a war, and it is not really a peace. You could call it a "clean war". There had been a real war once. The governments of Eminiar and Vendikar, using interplanetary missiles and such, began devastating each others' cities 500 years ago. But soon after the war began, their governments reached an agreement. Since bombs and missiles were creating far too much collateral damage on either side, and since their governments still wanted to destroy one another's people, they agreed to spare each other further property damage by fighting their war through a computerized simulation, which could accurately compute the casualties inflicted by the imaginary bombs from the other side, and exterminating their own citizens as casualties (reducing unnecessary transportation costs, I suppose).
The landing party beams down to Eminiar, and they see a calm and peaceful planet with a high standard of living. They meet with the Eminiar leader, Anan, who tells them that despite appearances, they are still at war, as they have been for 500 years, with casualties ranging from one to three million per year. Then an alarm goes off, signaling and incoming attack, and the leader and his generals spring into action, manning some equipment with flashing lights. The attack results in "a hit" nearby. There are no explosions, and no radiation is detected, as no missile has actually struck, but the Eminiarans are somber, and the leader bemoans the casualties of this attack -- a half million people. Additionally, the Enterprise itself was wracked up as a casualty of this attack, creating the essential conflict of the episode.
The leader explains: "Understand captain. We have been at war for 500 years. Under ordinary conditions, no civilization could withstand that, but we have reached a solution...Our civilization lives. The people die, but our culture goes on."
Kirk: "You mean to tell me your people just walk into a disintegration machine when told to?"
Anan: "We have a high consciousness of duty, captain." In other words, yes they do.
Later, Kirk interviews Mea, a recent "casualty" who must report to a disintegrator within 24 hours. "Don't you see," she says. "If I refuse to report, and others refuse, then Vendikar would have no choice but to launch real weapons. We would have to do the same to defend ourselves. More than people would die then. A whole civilization would be destroyed. Surely, you can see that ours is the better way." A "State or Chaos" false choice lies behind her attempt at suicide.
Some people must be sacrificed for the sake of avoiding real war. Mea's logic is eerily reminiscent of calls to sacrifice made by our Earthly governments. Can you imagine our government reaching some version of a clean war treaty, purchasing peace through the sanitary sacrifice of a small fraction of our population every year? In some ways, our State already does this in numerous domestic wars it fights on our behalf. Is the Eminiar/Vendikar treaty that unimaginable? As war is the health of the State, the governments of Eminiar and Vendikar probably experienced a substantial growth in their own power over the people when their interplanetary war started. Perhaps they just didn't want to give that up and agreed to their clean war instead of peace. Maybe, in the interest of an economic stimulus, our governments will recreate the allegedly salutary effects of world war II through a clean war.
In his final speech, defending the virtues of their way of life, Anan says: "You will be responsible for an escalation that will destroy everything. Millions of people horribly killed. Complete destruction of our culture here, yes, and the culture on Venikar. Disaster, disease, starvation, horrible lingering death! Pain and anguish! ... Don't you understand captain? We have done away with all that. You are threatening to bring it down on us again. Are those 500 people of yours more important that the hundreds of millions of innocent people on Eminiar and Vendikar? What kind of monster are you?" The people of Eminiar and Vendikar have managed to go beyond institutionalizing theft within the apparatus of their States. As a more "advanced" people, they have institutionalized their war. Just as our federal tax withholding program makes for a civilized theft, so do their disintegration boxes and firing computers make for a civilized murder. To them it is duty. It is patriotic. It's clean, but it really isn't civilized.