i live in the u.s. what i see is public education, taxes, prisons, traffic enforcement, courts, voting, funding a bazillion miscellaneous things no one human will ever know...
taxes make sense, as a government is really the ruling violent force if you ask me, beating down all others who want to use violence--with violence. but they don't use pure violence, at least not mine--most of it is kind of "public relations"--appearing justified, and so on, through things like voting and the press.
so we need some taxes to fund that kind of thing, and also to remain stable in the world's scheme of violence, i.e. you cannot become an obviously worthwhile victim to attack.
beyond that, i'm not sure what a nation should do. maybe that's all they really do. education might be just another form of pacifying people.
a nation looks to survive, right? all that crap about justice and rights just seems like something to make people feel more secure than they are and more trusting than they would be if they were more critical--not that they need to be fooled--people are looking for something to trust.