"The Death of Citizenship"
by Chris MacIntosh
"The dictionary describes citizenship as: "The state of being a member of a particular country and having rights because of it." The concept is simple. Citizens pay the State and the State provides various protections and rights in return. Citizenship is the result of a need for collectivism. There are times within historical cycles when this sort of cooperation is necessary for survival.
The Sicilian mafia, for example, came about due to a need for Sicilians to protect themselves from Northern bureaucrats who came down demanding a share of their produce. They got pissed off, banded together, and formed a group to repel them. In order for this group to function and be effective villagers initially willingly contributed to them. They called it "protection money," and it was - protection from those bastards up north. When the threat retreated, instead of disbanding, the mafia moved into continuing to demand protection money. Not from invaders up north but from… themselves. That is, of course, a very condensed simplified version of events, but it is broadly accurate.
Citizenship formed in a similar fashion. In earlier centuries, it was the thugs better known as kings and queens who ruled. The modern-day concept of the nation state is a relatively new phenomenon viewed through the arc of history.
The Enlightenment and The Nation State: The 17th and 18th centuries birthed the nation state in Europe, and then in the United States after the American Revolution brought forth the concept of a State. It was after the Civil War between the North and the South that the overriding theme of unification and the birth of the American State known today as the United States of America came into existence. As for the other parts of the world, they were either ruled by kings and princes or colonized by Western powers.
The growth of the modern nation state picked up pace after the war and during the 1960s when many African states became independent from their colonial rulers. This was because their rulers found that the cost to maintain these outposts outweighed the benefits, and they also found that if they controlled the industry, there really wasn’t much need to simultaneously incur the costs of government.Further, with the spread of modern communication technologies, it was easier for the indigenous people to rise up as a unit and overthrow their colonial masters which itself accelerated the birth of the modern nation state.
While all of this was happening something else was taking place that, while it was visible, the power structure was masked from view. That trend was globalization. What globalization did was to cede power from governments to large corporations and giant conglomerates. Consider that at over $7 trillion, the combined market cap of Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google is greater than the GDP of every single country in the world, with the exception of the US and China.
Today the corporations are in control. We have moved solidly into a state of affairs where those who are supposed to be providing citizens protection are in fact the aggressors. Modern day mafia, only far more sophisticated because they own and control the narrative via both mainstream media as well as social media. Today I am going to make the case here that we are experiencing the death of the concept of citizenship and hence the nation state as we’ve known it. I’m not sure what follows it but citizenship as we know it is over.
Society: When I think back to my grandparents who survived World War II, I remember people used to dry out tea bags for quadruple usage. People who would have thought it the height of extravagance to be drying their clothes in a dryer when the wind and sun did the job. Patience, hard work, resilience, and fortitude were required and developed. And with real stresses and concerns, perspective was provided.
If you were a naughty little snot as a kid, you got your bottom smacked and sent to your room. You never put your feet on the table, and when speaking with an elder you were respectful and polite even if your elder was being a muppet. That was then, and this is now.
Today’s snowflake generation, glued to their mobile phones and angered if they don’t get a prize for just "being", haven't learnt how to deal with discomfort. Discomfort for this generation involves hyperventilating due to a difference in opinion on social media, by someone on the other side of the world whom they’ve not met and never will. Imagine a generation this fragile. Imagine a generation so fragile they have built themselves "safe spaces" to retreat to when their delicate ears or eyes encounter things that upset them.
These are children, clearly, and children need to be cared for. But these children are of adult age, so what now? Well, the State has stepped in, and the citizens have championed this intrusion into their lives, believing it both necessary and desirable. This has been the case for decades now.
Disturbing economic, political, and social trends are already in motion and now accelerating at breathtaking speed. Most troubling of all, they cannot be stopped. The period of time we’ve entered now is where those in power realize there is no out to this. And so, in order to retain control - before it all implodes - they are actively forcing a self-demolition with the idiotic and murderous idea that they’ll "build back better" using communism instead.
What Happens Now? Did you know that Australians who happen to live in India are not allowed back into the country? Did you know that Australians are not allowed to leave the country? So much for rights.
As citizens wake to the harsh reality and look at this agreement with their government it isn’t long before trust completely evaporates? What does this mean? Well, what exactly do you own when you lose faith? Not only what do you own - where do you own it? These considerations have been comparatively trivial in our lifetimes, and they are fast becoming entirely nontrivial. On the positive side of things this brings with it extraordinary asymmetry.