- NEW YORK POST - Victor Davis Hanson - OCT 10, 2021 -
Only a little more than half of the current world’s 7 billion people are citizens of fully consensual governments.
That lucky 50 percent alone enjoys constitutionally protected freedoms. Most are also Western. Or at least they reside in nations that have become “Westernized.”
Constitutional systems easily perish because they ask a lot of their citizens — to vote, to be informed about civic and political issues and to hold elected officials accountable. That responsibility is perhaps why, of the world’s true republics and democracies, only about 22 have been in existence for a half-century or more. We are seldom told, then, that America is a rare, precious and perhaps even fragile idea, both in the past and in the present.
American citizens are clearly also not the custom of the past. Unlike history’s more common peasants, citizens aren’t under the control of the rich, who, in turn, seek undue influence in government through controlling them. Instead, viable citizenship has always hinged on a broad, autonomous middle class. Those Americans in between lack both the dependence of the poor and the insider influences of the elite. Suffocate the middle and we know that a binary feudalism will soon replace it. We are seeing just that medievalization in contemporary California.
Nor are US citizens mere migratory residents who drift across nonexistent borders in expectation of receiving more rights than meeting responsibilities. Forfeit a sacred national space, a place where common customs, language and traditions can shelter and thrive, and a unique America disappears into a pre-civilizational migratory void like the fluid vastness of late imperial Rome.
Americans are quite different from tribal peoples, whose first loyalties are determined by mere appearance or innate blood ties. Take this nation back to pre-civilizational tribalism, and our future as the next Yugoslavia, Rwanda or Iraq is assured.
Americans aren’t, then, premodern peasants, mere residents, and squabbling tribes — at least not quite yet.
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