14. Membership of the Community

A community can be small or large; it can involve people separated by space or those who are not. The community exists due to the duties to each other, which the members acknowledge, and is continued by the fulfilment of those same duties. To be part of a community, as the definition of community connotes, requires the individual to consent to act in such a way as to enhance the survival of the other citizens of the community and their families. As well as refrain from acting in any way which harms the survival of the other citizens. Therefore, membership of the community is predicated on three conditions: exclusivity, affirmation, and mutual recognition of members.


Exclusivity


The obligation to act to enhance the survival of the other citizens and refrain from acting in any way that harms the survival of the other citizens is ultimately exclusive in nature. This exclusivity may seem counter-intuitive in an age whose bywords are transnationalism and cosmopolitanism. However, citizenship, like membership in a family, carries with it non-negotiable duties. Duties are absolutes, contingent only upon higher duties. To allow for a multiplicity of absolute obligations to divergent and competing groups would be highly illogical. It would require a citizen to attempt to prioritise between two groups that had equal claims to their loyalty. If the individual was required to harm one to protect the other, which would they choose?


Of course, in most cases, being loyal to a community will not involve harm to another community. However, one cannot merely consider the demands of peace but also the needs of crises. To be a citizen of multiple communities is to be, in a real way, a citizen of none. Wherever loyalty is divided, it is in doubt because if you are forced to choose between the two equals, the question must be by its nature doubtful. As such, citizenship of a community must be exclusive and singular if it is to be relied upon. Citizenship must supersede any other claim for loyalty except for that to the family. In addition to being exclusive, citizenship must also be predicated on the acceptance of the obligations of citizenship.


Affirmation


The acceptance of citizenship obligations must be an active affirmation, not a passive submission. With the claim to exclusivity of citizenship, it also follows that the individual members of a community must actively and freely choose to belong to and actively affirm their acceptance of their duties to the community. As such, no individual can naturally be a citizen by the mere chance of birth in a community. They must become one by affirming it in their majority, choosing to reject any other claims on their loyalty at the same time.


This concept can be conceptualised as follows; a child born in such a society would have the right to affirm their citizenship by virtue of birth or descent but would not be a citizen by birth or descent. Upon reaching an age whereby they are judged to have reached adulthood, they would choose to affirm or not affirm their right to citizenship. If they chose to affirm after renouncing any other citizenships and carrying out whatever service to the community was required, they would be admitted to full citizenship. Suppose they chose not to affirm their citizenship. In that case, they could either remain as a resident or take up without prejudice the rights of citizenship of any other community which they may be entitled.


However, affirmation is not single-sided, it must be mutual. It is naturally contingent on the acceptance of the existing citizens. The existing citizens retain the right to both reject the applicant and expel those who fail in their duties to the group. In our example, the young person had the right to affirm their citizenship and be recognised as a citizen by virtue of birth or descent. In a strangers’ case, the principle of qualification would apply.


Recognition


This acceptance of the existing citizens or, as it will henceforth be called, recognition, is the third of the prerequisites of membership of a community. After all, as the community exists only to promote the constituent families’ survival, it is natural that the existing members hold a veto over the inclusion of new citizens and the right to expel miscreants. The requirement of recognition of citizenship provides a failsafe for the community in that it allows for the enforcement of the community’s minimum standards in a way in which, without the principle, would not be possible. As such, to become a community member, an individual must actively offer their loyalty to the community without caveat and be recognised by the existing citizens. It follows that the membership of any group that demands loyalty above the community other than the family is unacceptable in our conception of community.


Another example might provide some clarity here. For example, if a stranger wanted to become a citizen of this society, they would need to fulfil the same service required of the young and be allowed by the citizens to join them. Similarly, if an existing citizen betrayed the community by acting in a grievously harmful manner or through the continued membership of a group that required of its members higher loyalty than that to the community, they could be excluded from the community.

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