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Citizen of the World?


by Peter Quinones

Professor Nussbaum's use of the phrase "citizen of the world" strikes me as bizarre. Trying to define "citizen" without tying it to government or country is a little like defining "water" without mentioning wetness. "Citizen of the world," literally, is a phrase that does not make sense in American English. It is analogous to saying, "I am third baseman for the hockey team." Similarly, the world is not the type of thing that one can be a citizen of. The rather cavalier way the word "citizen" is used by Nussbaum in her article is, I fear, a consequence of the rush to push a liberal, managerial class political agenda. The whole idea of citizenship hinges on notions of obligations to the state, and rights within the state, and these are things one simply cannot get from "the world."

It would seem that Nussbaum has rather carelessly confused her utopian ideals of universal brotherhood/sisterhood with the notion of citizenship.



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