What does it mean to be an American citizen in the Trump era? What vision of citizenship is the Trump Administration modeling, celebrating, and codifying? And what vision of citizenship is Trump inspiring or strengthening among those who resist his vision? At the final Boisi Center lunch colloquium of the year, Owens will discuss alternative visions of good citizenship, and the religious and moral resources we can bring to bear upon them.
At our final lunch colloquium of the year, Boisi Center interim director Erik Owens spoke about the oppositional politics at the center of the new ethics of citizenship in the Trump era. Owens sketched two prevailing visions of citizenship that derive from liberal and civic republican political traditions, noting the inclinations of the latter toward protecting individual rights, and the former toward fostering collective self-government.
He argued that President Trump is promoting, implicitly and explicitly, an exclusive vision of citizenship driven by the binaries of trust/fear, popular/elite, chaos/control, patriotism/globalism, and that “America First” is a rejection of so-called “global citizenship” that frequently animates conversations work for human rights. Some of the most popular responses to Trump’s civic vision have been satirical or despairing, and some resistance movements have failed to offer any constructive vision. Owens argued that we ought to nourish the latent strain in oppositional politics that offers a more generative vision of human flourishing and inter-relationality, through conceptions of solidarity and the common good.
The ensuing discussion considered voting, impediments to the common good, political compromise, and the limits of “global citizenship.”
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