PJM: The Death of American Citizenship


“Often, such ‘citizen of the world’ mentalities fuel shame over the origins and traditions of America. Transnational organizations and accords on climate, criminal justice and human rights are seen as superior to their American counterparts.”

It would not have occurred to me to describe today’s puzzling realities as the death of citizenship, but I have often had the strong impression that the country I was born into no longer exits. I blame the transformation on a number of factors, not all of them related to the political left or liberalism, but I’d say “death of citizenship” covers them all fairly well.

9 thoughts on “PJM: The Death of American Citizenship

  1. Read the piece and my takeaway was thus: Overblown fear mongering invades even liberal arts education colleges. Proof that the idea that “conservative” viewpoints are drowned out on college campuses. Instead of embracing and enjoying the evolution of this country, Mr. Hanson bemoans the ideas of multiculturalism that this country was actually founded on and to be.

    Almost read like a resume for the Trump Administration job openings.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. “coastal elites see nothing much exceptional in America, past and present.”

    I think this comment sums up the seriousness that this piece should be evaluated on.

    What a bunch of happy horse shit….

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “Many of our coastal elites see nothing much exceptional in America, past and present.”

    I’m an immigrant. I grew up in the gateway to the US, New York, or more precisely, Brooklyn. We lived in a row house that was a virtual U.N. in half a block. Orthodox Jews, Conservative Jews, Swedish Lutherans, Italian Catholics, Norwegian, Irish and Czechoslovakian.

    We never really thought of our corner of America as being exceptional. We just thought it was America. I guess it was exceptional compared to the more homogeneous areas of the country. I remember going to Baton Rouge in 1962 in an unairconditioned car with 5 others. In July. We saw “whites only” establishments as we cruised South.

    We thought that was exceptional.

    I think America is too big, too diverse to fit a singular description. I will grant that those who grew up in gateway cities were certainly exposed to more varieties of people, cultures and languages. But when that is what you know best, diversity is not only the norm, but rather neat.

    As an aside, the baker and the videographer may have suffered unfairly perhaps. But at least the weren’t tied to a fence and killed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The author’s sense of diversity comes from the fact that some cows are black and white, and some are brown and white, while certain stalks of corn have 6 ears and others have 7.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m both surprised and not surprised that the comments here on Dr. Hanson’s article don’t address his central observation, which is that U.S. citizenship is becoming increasingly meaningless.

    Its a pretty big deal when a professor who specializes in classical history makes such a claim. The reason is that the very concept of citizenship originates, in our Western tradition, in ancient Greece and became a central organizing principle, later, for the Roman republic. If a classicist takes the view that citizenship is eroding in our time, the very idea is a hugely fundamental thing to wonder about.

    I can certainly understand that people don’t want to wonder about hugely fundamental things, so I’m not criticizing anyone here. I would, just the same, recommend two questions for consideration:

    • What is citizenship?

    • If you are a citizen, what are you a citizen of?


  5. Only the naturalized citizens have made a conscious decision to forgo their homeland to join another nation’s “club”.

    A test, a fee, a background check and an oath of allegiance. Citizenship means something if you have to work for it.

    Accident of birth? Meh.

    Yet what does that naturalization certificate give us? The right to vote and be an officer in the military. Oh, and you can’t be deported. At least in Rome, a citizen could kill a slave without great risk of punishment.

    Everyone who resides in this country, legally or not, has full protection under the Constitution. So citizenship has no edge there.

    Borders are fluid. Europe’s have changes innumerable times over the centuries. Sweden owned a big chunk of Russia once. Are the direct descendants of Sweden who lived in Russia then Swedes? Northern Ireland belongs to the UK? Are they still Irish?

    The Middle East was drawn up by the Brits mostly. Left out the Kurds. Are they Kurds or citizens of Turkey or Iran or Iraq?

    Mexicans who lived where Texas is now and whose lineage goes back a few centuries are now Americans. What is their culture?

    Our largest immigrant roots are, or were until recently, German. Ja voll.

    So citizenship is a bit nebulous except as a legal point. And that legality has meaning which is well defined.

    I think Hanson is nostalgic about the halcyon days which were Ozzie and Harriet. A life that did exist partly for some and not necessarily for others.

    Liked by 1 person

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