The Case of the Citizen Truly Stated

In the English Civil War, a group of renegade soldiers, along with political supporters in London, began demanding radical reforms like universal suffrage, religious tolerance, equality before the law and popular sovereignty. The Levellers did not last long, but they remain an important turning point in Western history. Their radical idea was that a man must consent to be governed and therefore have a say in how he is governed. This is a seminal moment in Western history. A nation would be defined by its people, while empires would be defined by their territory.

Another way to look at it is that a nation is a group of people, who decide their borders, their customs and how they will govern themselves. The consent is not just from citizen to the state, but from citizen to citizen. An empire, in contrast, is whatever land the ruler can hold and the people within it. His relationship to the people is transactional. He guards the people, enforces the rules and the people pay taxes. The people have no obligations to one another, at least in a legal sense. Their only duties are to the king as a subject, while they remain in the kingdom. L’Etat, c’est moi.

The critical thing here is that a citizen has obligations to his fellow citizens, while a subject only has obligations to his ruler. The former is the model we have had in the West for a long time now. In America, it has been the only model. All the blather about the propositional nation stuff obscures this fact in an attempt to justify mass immigration, but even within that mythological concept of America, the citizen is defined by his relationship to his fellow citizens. It’s not the government who defines the citizen. It is the citizen that defines the state. As such, the citizens get to decide who is and who is not a citizen.

That’s the problem the open borders types refuse to address. The government of a nation is just an extension of that agreement between the citizens. It’s even written into the American Constitution, right at the very beginning.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

In a nation, the government is defined by the people – literally. The people decide who is and who is not “the people” by whatever means they find agreeable. As with any contract, social or otherwise, the parties enter into it voluntarily. We don’t think of it that way, because we are born into our citizenship in most cases, but the fact that we can renounce our citizenship means it is always voluntary. Further, the fact that the state cannot revoke it means it is not a contract with the state. It is a contract with our fellow citizens.

In a land of no borders, there can be no social contract. What would be the point? If anyone can wander in and get the benefits of the contract, without first consenting to the terms of the contract and gaining the agreement of the counter party, what value can there be in citizenship? Citizenship becomes a suckers deal, just as it was in the Roman Empire when citizenship simply meant you paid taxes and had to provide men to the military. In the world of open borders, citizenship is all obligation and no benefit.

In such a world, it will not take long before the calls of patriotism fall flat. After all, what is patriotism but the moral obligation of a citizen to his fellow citizens? Patriotism is the spirit of the social contract. To their credit, the open borders crowd agrees that their vision of paradise is one where all human relations are transactional. Everyone acts in their self interest. So, why would people serve jury duty? Volunteer at their kid’s school? Serve in the military? All of these things assume a moral duty to your fellow citizens. In the borderless paradise, no one owes anyone anything.

Even in the paradise of open borders, order must be maintained and the interests of the wealthy protected. When calls to patriotism and culture are no longer tools available to the state, force is what’s left. This custodial state we see being rolled out by our rulers is not due to a breakdown of the citizens willingness to uphold their part of the social contract. It is the breakdown of the social contract that is causing the growth of the custodial state. Put another way, the state is not just failing in its obligations, it is nullifying the compact between citizens. In fact, they are obliterating the very concept of citizenship.

In response to the Leveller’s call or democratic rights, Henry Ireton responded,

No person hath a right to an interest or share in the disposing of the affairs of the kingdom, and in determining or choosing those that shall determine what laws we shall be ruled by here — no person hath a right to this, that hath not a permanent fixed interest in this kingdom.

How is this different from the arguments of the open borders proponents? They argue, that no one has a right to say who can walk into your country. They say, no one has a right to determine who is and who is not entitled to to the blessings of liberty. Ireton rejected the concept of citizenship. Those who demand open borders are doing the same thing. Instead of a king, they promise a custodial state to rule over us, to keep us safe, accountable only to those with a permanent interest in it.

This post has already been linked to 4272 times!

Leave a Reply

46 Comments on "The Case of the Citizen Truly Stated"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Fuel Filter
Guest
What you’re saying, in a nutshell, is “Freedom of Association” is paramount. The State is working overtime to take that away from us (bussing, Sec 8 housing, AA hiring laws, etc.). A backlash is finally, finally coming. From Western Rifle Shooters today: ~~~~~~~~ ““…You guys (the left) really want to stop pushing quite so hard. The political pendulum has never, in the history of humanity, stayed on one side of a swing. The back lash from over reach has always been proportionate to how far off center it went before coming back. (Hint, that’s what started the whole prohibition thing,… Read more »
Fuel Filter
Guest

BTW, when are you going to install the 5 minute edit function?

Sure would help.

LetsPlay
Member

5 minutes or word counter? Never mind. Let him speak his mind.

At least he is not trolling us with “You can earn $10,000 per week! with working at home” type crap.

If anything, Doug represents the frustration many have of the current situation. If you don’t like it, just skip it.

Doug
Guest

Thanks LP. I appreciate you for saying that, it’s funny too.
I’m trolling, but I’m trolling for something fundamental, believe in something so strongly I’m not afraid of speaking my mind and taking my lumps and learning, because everyone has a perspective and a viewpoint worth listening to.

Mike Martin
Guest

Z, this is one of your best. I read your blog every day, comments too, and I truly appreciate your insight.

We must protect this nation. By all means necessary. I’m in.

Terry Baker
Guest

Amen, Mike. I had not thought about citizenship in quite this way before. And I’m convinced that this election is exactly about this subject. Thanks, Zman.

Hobbesian Meliorist
Guest

Seems to me that Ireton was not rejecting the concept of citizenship outright, but arguing that property in the land (“a fixed and permanent interest”) is a necessary precondition of that right.

Karl Horst (Germany)
Guest

I was in Ireland a few weeks ago on holiday and learned there is a current interest by some Americans with Irish heritage to return to Ireland. Evidently ‘citizenship through descent’ is possible in Ireland by proving one has Irish grandparents. Some Americans think things are so bad in the US right now, they are trying to return to their ancestral lands.

http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/WP11000024

Jackrabbit
Guest

Hey make sure you latch the door on your way out Pat.

Terry Baker
Guest

Karl, I just read the link. Did I read that right – that meaning of the law is that Irish ancestry qualifies one for Irish citizenship outside the borders to Ireland? Is this for real?

If so, the border of Ireland didn’t disappear, it just moved outward in a demographic spray pattern, apparently ignoring the sovereignty of where ever it goes. Did I misunderstand the link?

Terry Baker
Guest

Just proof read my little comment, after I posted it. Am I nuts, or is making corrections and then sending it again normal for most people….

Karl, I just read the link. Did I read that right – Irish ancestry qualifies one for Irish citizenship outside the borders of Ireland? Is this for real?
If so, the border of Ireland didn’t disappear, it just moved outward in a demographic spray pattern, apparently ignoring the sovereignty of where ever it goes. Did I misunderstand the link?

Karl Horst (Germany)
Guest

Citizenship through descent – “If you were born outside Ireland to an Irish citizen who was himself or herself born in Ireland, then you are an Irish citizen.” – So to answer your question, from the information in the immigration brochure, they are pretty much willing to take anyone that is remotely linked to Ireland. And I suspect if you like potatoes, know who “Jesus, Joseph and Mary are” and hate the English…you’re in.

LetsPlay
Member

Ha ha ha. I’ll toast the Old Bushmills on that one. Good fun.

James LePore
Guest

You have articulated the strong attraction to Donald Trump by we, the Dirt People. Many may just feel it in their gut, others may have thought it through, but the thing we see coming is the creation of the custodial state via open borders and the destruction of the citizen-to-citizen compact. It’s not abortion or school vouchers or any other so-called issue. It’s the destruction of a way of life that had gone unquestioned until the 1960s that has aroused the beast that the statists so despise. If Hilary wins we will have lost our country forever.

LetsPlay
Member

She (Hillary) is the absolute worst candidate I have seen in my lifetime. I think we can keep her from the WH but what do we do about all her sychophants? So many, so little time!

UKer
Guest
The move towards the custodial state is made even more interesting by the fact that the open-border-new-arriavls are generally deemed to be not guilty of any possible hate crimes (as they have only just arrived and therefore are removed from any ‘normal’ constraints of behaviour and speech) but those who are already here, having had their borders taken away by fiat, are as citizens apparently far more likely to be guilty of hate crimes. Thus it is the established citizenry who are liable to feel the wrath of the law and not the ones who have poured in recently. In… Read more »
LetsPlay
Member

You might think that the recent arrivals would be put on notice that “they” are the ones on “probation” and they had better behave themselves if they want to remain in country. But as usual, bureaucrats are thinking with their asses and do everything backwards and upside-down. Incredibly stupid.

Meema
Guest

Exactly!
Though you said it better, I realized this as well. Someone challenged me recently regarding my stand on the right to push back as being the road to anarchy. But anarchy is not born from dissent it’s created by abandoning the foundational standards that hold everything in place.
http://bagsallpacked.blogspot.com/2016/06/remember.html

Doug
Guest
The crux of the war on the dirt peoples consent, as in culture is upstream of politic’s, where the politics of the day is a lever being used to place those politics upstream of culture in order to avoid and nullify the “contract” of consent of the governed. A cunning bullshit move if I have anything to say about it only a marxist cabal of corruptocrats could think will give them unlimited powers. It’s composition is cultural marxism writ large. It is indicative of the illegitimacy of the actors of the state and the grift they are running here is… Read more »
Severian
Guest

The English Civil War also gave us Hobbes, who more and more strikes me as the only political philosopher worth reading.

Awakened
Guest

Hey Zman, did you hear the latest about Austria? Their last election was where the Green Party won a narrow win over the Far-Right Party was annuled, massive voting fraud did happened after all, it was not a “Conspiracy theory”.

Karl Horst (Germany)
Guest

I wonder how these “open border” supporters would react if I showed up at their house, walked into the kitchen, helped myself to a beer, sat down and watched sports on their couch. According to their logic, I would be welcome over anytime.

Where did you say they live? Lufthansa has some extra cheap flights this weekend.

Crispin
Guest

Join the discussion

Crispin
Guest
silly tablet. Well Karl, Your assessment of the logic is correct. If you were to “drop in” at my house – unannounced & a stranger – it would probably be ok, provided that you were charming, appeared benign, and were up front about why you popped in. Failing that, in my state,& township, shortly after your invasion of my home ( my castle), I would be mulling over the best place for your mortal remains. Authorities would not be notified, after you are Glocked. So, if you want to try your theory, go for it, but wear lederhosen and a… Read more »
Karl Horst (Germany)
Guest

@ Crispin – I’ll bring the beer and be sure to knock when I arrive. 🙂 The idea of being “Glocked” does not sound so inviting.

LetsPlay
Member

I know someone who would welcome you and your whole family. Her name is Nancy Pelosi from California. Just be sure to tell her security, with all their guns, that you were invited by her though you do not have an appointment.

Grey hat
Guest

Excellent post. I have considered this also but not with the same clarity. Thanks

LetsPlay
Member
ZMan, what you don’t say when you state that the open borders crowd fails to address the issue of citizens supposedly having the right and duty to decide who gets to become a citizen via a quote from the Constitution is that they just don’t give a flying fu*K! As we have seen from Obozo, his Czars and the liberals, they don’t care anything about the Constitution or the Oaths they have taken. Just words. Just old pieces of paper produced by old white men. I guess I need to apologize for my language but one of the things that… Read more »
Karl Horst (Germany)
Guest
It’s an interesting relationship you describe. The state can tax you, draft you and send you to war, and even execute you for capital crimes. But at least in the US, it does have the means to take away your citizenship. The question is, then what happens to a person who is then a “non-citizen”? Sec. 349. [8 U.S.C. 1481] (a) A person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality – (7) committing any… Read more »
LetsPlay
Member
Karl, Great job pointing this out. Interesting how this directly contradicts the thinking of Thomas Jefferson about citizens needing to refresh the tree of liberty from time to time. Also, interesting that it is all about “the government” and not a word about threatening, attacking, or harming American citizens health, wealth, or safety … only the government. Or is the operative word here “conspiracy”, engaging in a conspiracy? Seems to me our Clown-in-Chief, as a Muslim, with all his “Fundamental Transformation” fits the bill of “committing treason against the US” can be clearly brought up on charges. Letting in many… Read more »
trackback

[…] The Case of the Citizen Truly Stated | The Z Blog Winter is coming. Reply With Quote […]

trackback

[…] have yet to offer a plausible explanation for how the post-nationalist world could operate. The only possible answer is that it would be based on […]

wpDiscuz