January 6, 2020

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Pre- and post-citizens.

Americans cherish their citizenship. Yet they have all but lost it. The erosion of the citizen is insidiously accelerating in two quite different directions. It seems as if we are reverting to tribal pre-citizenship, in the manner of clan allegiances in the centuries before the rise of the Greek polis and the seventh-century-B.C. invention of the concept of the citizen (politês). Or perhaps the better comparison is to the fifth-century A.D., when northern nomadic ethnic bands crossed the Rhine and Danube and replaced the multiracially encompassing notion of “civis Romanus sum”—“I am a Roman citizen”—with tribal loyalties to fellow Goths, Huns, or Vandals.

Read the whole thing. As Tom Wolfe wrote in his last novel, “A phrase pops into his head from out of nowhere. ‘Everybody… all of them… it’s back to blood! Religion is dying… but everybody still has to believe in something. It would be intolerable — you couldn’t stand it — to finally have to say to yourself, ‘Why keep pretending? I’m nothing but a random atom inside a supercollider known as the universe.’ But believing in by definition means blindly, irrationally, doesn’t it. So, my people, that leaves only our blood, the bloodlines that course through our very bodies, to unite us. ‘La Raza!’ as the Puerto Ricans cry out. ‘The Race!’ cries the whole world. All people, all people everywhere, have but one last thing on their minds — Back to blood!” All people, everywhere, you have no choice but — Back to blood!”

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