world citizenBy Roger Kotila, Ph.D.
DWF Vice President 

Narrow nationalism is easy to find as we discovered from a recent speech by Great Britain’s new Prime Minister, Theresa May who said: “But if you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere. You don’t understand what citizenship means.”  

May’s derogatory view of (world citizenship) brought a quick reaction from world federalists, one of whom felt that May was attacking our values and therefore requires a strong answer. 

A response by one leading world federalist cautions that to limit citizenship to nationalism undergirds the world community’s ability to address fundamental challenges facing the world.  We couldn’t agree more.

A Washington Post reporter wrote an article on May’s speech and included the results of a research survey about global citizenship. People were asked to “Agree” or “Disagree” with the statement:  “I See Myself More as a Global Citizen than a Citizen of My Country.”  This 18 nation survey shows a surprisingly large number of people identifying with global citizenship.

May’s narrow nationalism, one might speculate,  gives the British an excuse to avoid the plight of the unfortunate refugees fleeing the violence in the Middle East, wars that Britain itself helped to cause.  To hell with the flood of desperate immigrants, they are not British!  Let the European Union worry about them. 

By leaving the European Union (Brexit) the British can avoid taking responsibility for these unfortunate immigrants whose lives have been ruined by militant foreign powers whose lust for regime change has led to violent chaos from Iraq to Syria to Libya.  

By contrast, world federalists worry about the whole world and peaceful change, a moral value that gives me great pride.  Part of the genius of world federalism is world patriotism is required in order to be a genuine national patriot.

Logic tells us that what is good for the world is good for my nation since my nation is part of the world.  It follows then, that if one truly loves one’s country, one must also be a world citizen. 

Embracing world citizenship, however, is not always easy.

We are taught from an early age to look first and foremost as to what is good for our nation, not what is best for the world.  At Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s political rallies, for example, the crowd bursts forth repeatedly shouting “USA! USA!” to boast of their belief that their country is “exceptional” and deserves special consideration over all others.

Such extreme nationalism trumps global citizenship and Global Conscience.  Blind love of country can lead to national policies that are harmful to the world at large as we see when countries refuse to deal responsibly with climate change, universal rights, or insist upon their sovereign right to endanger the world by military invasions and by possessing nuclear weaponry capable of destroying the world.

*Please consider reading A Message from the President, which is a direct response to this article.

NOTE: The Democratic World Federalists are committed to expressing a wide range of views on the vision of creating a peaceful, just, and sustainable world through a democratic World Federation. The views expressed in this article represents that commitment and not necessarily our official position.