While We Weren’t Looking

by baldilocks

A transformation. Fundamental?

When most people think of citizenship, they think of their nation’s constitution or the rights guaranteed to them in the law. They will think of their obligations to their country, like paying taxes, obeying the law and defending the nation. In the West, a citizen is pretty much as the dictionary defines it, “a native or naturalized person who owes allegiance to a government and is entitled to protection from it.” It is a reciprocal set of obligations in the law, animated by a sense of duty by both the rulers and the ruled.

Additionally, at least in America, citizenship comes with a belief in equality between the people and the office holders. Every American grows up hearing that anyone can be President. The House of Representatives is known as the people’s house, because it was designed to not only represent the people, but be populated by representatives from the people. In other words, the citizens are ruled by their fellow citizens, not strangers or hired men paid by strangers. You can only be a citizen in your nation.

In the post-national world, that old definition of citizen no longer works. In a world where foreign people can just move in, claim the benefits and protections from the government, citizenship loses all value. At the same time, the state is increasingly alien to the people over whom it rules. In the European Union, the people are no longer ruled by their national governments, as all of the big decision are made in Brussels. In America, political offices are increasingly being filled by exotic weirdos with no connection to the natives.

The question then is what does it mean to be a citizen in a democratic empire?

Part of the conclusion:

This means that patriotism has no role in the democratic empire. Loyalty to your country only works if you actually have a country. The residue of patriotism will last for a while, as people will still think of their neighbors and friends as their countrymen, but in time, as those people are replaced by strangers, patriotism will disappear. In a transactional world populated by stranglers, your primary loyalty cannot be to the state, as it is just as much a stranger to you as the new neighbors, who just moved in from over the horizon.

Read the rest and ponder the endgame. A one-world government will fix the problems of fiefdoms and fragmented citizenship for a time. A very short time, according to a book I read regularly.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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