I speak an open and disengaged language, dictated by no passion but that of
humanity. . . . My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.
Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man
I said, “They deported a citizen.” He said, “They can’t do that.”
Johann “Ace” Francis
Diogenes (“the Cynic”), when asked where he came from, was said to have an-
swered, “I am a citizen of the world” (he used the term now rendered in En-
glish as “cosmopolitan”) (Laertius 1979 [1925], 6:2:64). Over the centuries, of
course, much has been made of this as a theoretical matter. But, after reading this
power ful collection of observations about the theory, practice, and forensics of
modern citizenship, I thought of a diff er ent (and, so far as I am aware, a unique)
question about Diogenes’s assertion: What if he had been asked to prove it?
Such a hy po thet i cal interrogation seems facetious, if not absurd. Who,
apart perhaps from an extraterrestrial immigration agent, would ever have
asked such a thing? Why would anyone ask for such proof ? What sort of proof
could there possibly be? The answers all reduce to the most salient point of
this book: nation- state citizenship is not only a theoretical construct about
identity, rights, membership, the “right to remain,” and the like. Unlike the
daniel kanstroom
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