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Five criteria to be a citizen

By Valerie Yule - posted Wednesday, 6 August 2014


To be a citizen in a multi-racial multi-religion democracy like ours, it does not matter what a person wears as long as they can be recognized as individuals – the fusses about head-scarves are silly. It does not matter if you can’t answer irrelevant historical questions about Don Bradman or who did what.

However, everyone must share attitudes which affect their relationships within the country, and not be admitted or allowed the privileges of citizenship unless they agree to them:

They must allow other religions.

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They must let people change their religions.

They must give women the freedom that they allow to men.

They must not outbreed others in the country – for social and ecological reasons, and to prevent other religionists panicking. The state will encourage reproduction only – two children per couple – by paying for no more, and giving priority for immigration to families that are no bigger.  This is ecologically sound. If a couple lose their own two children, and cannot replace them, they are encouraged to join in neighborly care for all the children around them. The ordinances of religions were set for times when the world had room for more people as well as other animals. Religions must be ecological – it was only in the past that Catholic and Muslim instructions were to have more children. Now humans have obeyed the demand to be like the sands of the sea-shore. They can turn to other instructions – like loving their neighbors.

Citizens must not feel insulted by what others do or say, and they must not deliberately insult others.

The citizenship test should be a test of these five attitudes.

The democracy itself must have a minimum wage, and not allow any social group to be at the economic bottom. If trends are that way, research must find out what is holding back that group, and it must be changed.

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It may appear easy to the rest of society to have one group whose habits and attitudes make them employable at the lower levels only, but it is for the long-term socially disastrous. The lower levels of employment must have a reasonable wage.

The democracy must have an education system in which no children are completely segregated. Not segregated in the elite top or in the bottom schools. Not segregated in faith schools that are shut off from other faiths. All children must meet others from other faiths, and schools have ‘swop-days’ where teachers and children spend a day in another school, at least once a year, in groups of six children per grade, who then tell their classmates of where they have been. Children must have excursions to other places of worship when they are operating, to experience how the tenets work out in practice.

The democracy can refuse to admit people who will not agree with its canon of citizenship. People who have rafts of children who cannot be supported are at the end of the queue for admission.

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About the Author

Valerie Yule is a writer and researcher on imagination, literacy and social issues.

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