A Statist is an advocate of a political system in which the state has substantial centralized control over social and economic affairs.
In political science, statism is the belief that the state should control either economic or social policy, or both, to some degree.
Statism would normally include "substantial centralized control" yet some think it can take many forms from minarchism to totalitarianism. Minarchists prefer a minimal state such as a night-watchman state to protect people from aggression, theft, breach of contract, and fraud with military, police, and courts.
The key difference is what does the word "state" include and how is it being used?
State as a noun
The word state may only be "the particular condition that someone or something is in at a specific time."
In that sense, synonyms would only include condition, shape, situation, circumstances, position...
But the state may also be "a nation or territory considered as an organized political community under one government.
Such as "Germany, Italy, and other European states" or it might include early Israel where there was no king or even the Kingdom of God spoken of by Jesus and John the Baptist. When there was no king "every man did that which was right in his own eyes". When Jesus as king of Judea appointed the ministers of His government they were commanded to not exercise authority one over the other like the governments who had "rulers".
Synonyms would include country, nation, land, sovereign state, nation state, kingdom, realm, power, republic, confederation, federation
The phrase "an autonomous state" could many any of those forms of government including one where all the power of the State rested not in a central ruler or class nor in the people as a collective like a democracy but actually in all the people individually where the people remained in a "state of nature". In the latter there would be no "centralized control".
As an adjective, a state would include that which is of, provided by, or concerned with the civil government of a country.
If there was no centralization it would mean that all member of the general society would have to care about their neighbor and their rights as much as they care about their own. Centralizing the care or responsibility of or the concern for civil government if everyone was diligent in the pursuit of the weightier matters of justice and mercy for all of society.
Bouvier's 1856 dictionary defines “STATE, government. This word is used in various senses.”
Bouvier expands his definition of State by saying “In its most enlarged sense, it signifies a self-sufficient body of persons united together in one community for the defence of their rights, and to do right and justice to foreigners. In this sense, the state means the whole people united into one body politic; (q. v.) and the state, and the people of the state, are equivalent expressions. 1 Pet. Cond. Rep. 37 to 39; 3 Dall. 93; 2 Dall. 425; 2 Wilson's Lect. 120; Dane's Appx. §50, p. 63 1 Story, Const. §361.”
Bouvier separately defines “STATE, condition of persons. This word has various acceptations. If we inquire into its origin, it will be found to come from the Latin status, which is derived from the verb stare, sto, whence has been made statio, which signifies the place where a person is located, stat, to fulfil the obligations which are imposed upon him.
- 2. State is that quality which belongs to a person in society, and which secures to, and imposes upon him different rights and duties in consequence of the difference of that quality.
- 3. Although all men come from the hands of nature upon an equality, yet there are among them marked differences. It is from nature that come the distinctions of the sexes, fathers and children, of age and youth, &c.
- 4. The civil or municipal laws of each people, have added to these natural qualities, distinctions which are purely civil and arbitrary, founded on the manners of the people, or in the will of the legislature. Such are the differences, which these laws have established between citizens and aliens, between magistrates and subjects, and between freemen and slaves; and those which exist in some countries between nobles and plebeians, which differences are either unknown or contrary to natural law.
- 5. Although these latter distinctions are more particularly subject to the civil or municipal law, because to it they owe their origin, it nevertheless extends its authority over the natural qualities, not to destroy or to weaken them, but to confirm them and to render them more inviolable by positive rules and by certain maxims. This union of the civil or municipal and natural law, form among men a third species of differences which may be called mixed, because they participate of both, and derive their principles from nature and the perfection of the law; for example, infancy or the privileges which belong to it, have their foundation in natural law; but the age and the term of these prerogatives are determined by the civil or municipal law.
- 6. Three sorts of different qualities which form the state or condition of men may then be distinguished: those which are purely natural, those purely civil, and those which are composed of the natural and civil or municipal law. Vide 3 Bl. Com. 396; 1 Toull. n. 170, 171; Civil State.”