Monday, March 09, 2009

History of Citizenship

Rudyard Griffiths, acknowledging that he is himself a dual citizen, thinks dual citizenship may be A Bad Thing:
I have come to the conclusion that Canada will not survive the coming decades in its current form if more and more of its Canadian-born citizens continue to live, as I have, with the mental gymnastics of dual citizenship.
It's from the book he's been working on.

Rudyard creates a litmus test for how we think of citizenship and nationality. Assume that we want to think globally, promote and benefit from diversity, and provide ourselves with all the challenges and opportunities this old world can offer. Do we do that best by collecting all the citizenships we can or by committing ourselves fully to one national community?

I don't think I know many people who have the opportunity to have more than one passport and who have foregone it out of the kind of principles Rudyard is recommending. People make a pragmatic choice, and then defend the ethics of it.

(Full disclosure: my situation is precisely the reverse of Rudyard's. I only have one citizenship, but I'm entitled to a second if I want it, and I often think I (and even more my children) should be taking advantage of it.
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