Citizenship

Toward a Theory of Property Destruction in Racial Protests

Imagine a nation in which the basic law of the land creates a single citizenship class but where public policy regularly divides the citizenry into two groups. For the first group, national and local governments assist citizens in obtaining property while also taking active steps to increase the value of that property, under the theory…

The Politics of Parenthood

In an interview conducted by Rachel Maddow, John Stewart once suggested that the media exaggerates the centrality of the Republican/Democratic divide in America. Looking surprised, Maddow asked what he meant. As an example, Stewart suggested that the difference between people with children and those without was much more significant. At the time I thought it…

How Should Government Promote Stable Families?

While the achievement of marriage equality will be a tremendous step, it comes at a time when an extended recession has drawn attention to the economic fragility of contemporary families. When two parents are required to support a child (or when only one is available), the consequences of unemployment or underemployment can be devastating for…

Should the Government Promote “Traditional” Families?

Insofar as it is ‘traditional’ to organize families around a legal marriage of two consenting adults, recognized by the state, and securing for them certain rights, I do believe the government has an interest in promoting ‘traditional’ families. But I do not believe the state has a compelling interest in denying marriage to same-sex couples….

A Government Interest in Promoting Stable Families

I believe that government does have a compelling interest in promoting the formation of stable families. To explain my thinking, let me first return to the framework of capitalism and citizenship at the foundation of this blog. As I have explained before, I see citizenship and capitalism as the two dominant and indispensable systems structuring American society…

Has the President Read This Blog?

Ok, yes, I know that’s unlikely, especially considering my dearth of posts lately. But after listening to his speech tonight (while proctoring a final exam for my students), I noticed this first part of James Fallows’ assessment:   1) Citizen Obama. The most interesting “new”-ish approach in the speech was the theme that ran through the final one-third…

Taxation and Slavery

In his recent comment,* Jacob made several references to slavery, both historical and metaphorical. I’d like to unpack them a bit since they reflect the foundation of some of our differences. In his first reference, Jacob references the historic institution of slavery. He suggests that “the majority of Americans were better off as a result…

Extending the Promise of America to More Americans

In September of 2009, on the eve of a speech that President Obama gave before a joint session of Congress, I wrote my own version of what I hoped he’d argue. It still captures much of what I consider the best arguments for a federal health care system, based upon the logic of the Declaration…

Airport Security System: Citizenship or Capitalism?

I listened to a discussion the other day that got right to the heart of the capitalism v. citizenship debate. The conversation (on local public radio) was about two competing trends in airport security. In the United States, the federal government (though the Transportation Security Administration) controls airport security checkpoints. But they don’t control the…

Health Care: Balancing Citizenship and Capitalism

As I have argued previously (see here, here, and here), the United States has been shaped by two great organizing models: capitalism and citizenship. Capitalism has provided the U.S. with one of the most dynamic economic engines in the world over the last century and more. Citizenship has made us a shining political beacon, a nation founded on…