Global Citizenship as the Completion of Cosmopolitanism

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The No More Deaths volunteer, a recent college graduate who was spending her summer conducting humanitarian patrols in search of border crossers stranded in the harsh desert of southern Arizona, struggled for words. The question grated. “I think that's ridiculous,” she finally said, in response to those who would contend it is wrong to aid unauthorized crossers. “One of the first questions a reporter ever asked me was ‘why, as an American, are you doing this?,’ That's always funny to me, when people ask that. It's not really an American thing. It's a people thing. You know, thirsty people should be given water. It seems to me just to make sense” (Author interview, 6-05). Her co-volunteer at the No More Death spatrol camp expressed a similar mix of difficulty and exasperation when asked why she felt compelled to seek out migrants in distress. “There's this imaginary line drawn across the desert. That doesn't make any sense to me. For someone to become illegal as soon as they cross that line—They are just people. It's that simple to me” (Author interview, 6-05).

Meanwhile, participants in the Minuteman effort, who stand armed vigil on some of the same stretches of desert, hoping to spot unauthorized entrants and report them to US authorities, expressed quite a different sentiment toward the crossers. “The country belongs to us. The country doesn't belong to them,” said one retiree who had traveled from Eunice, New Mexico, to take part in the inaugural Minuteman action on the border in southeastern Arizona (Author interview, 4-05). “I didn't force them to come to the United States,” said David Jones, a Minuteman leader in Arizona who had served as “line boss” on several vigils. Addressing a group at Minuteman field headquarters on a rural ranch, he indicated a jug of murky brown water, likely filled in a cattle tank, that had been taken from two crossers his group had helped apprehend. “If they want to come and drink that, that's their problem,” he said, while adding that he would not refuse water to a crosser (Author interview, 10-06).

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • World Governance: Do We Need It, Is It Possible, What Could It (All) Mean?
    One of the main objections raised against world governance is not that it is impractical, but that it is unnecessary and even undesirable. There is a fear that world government would be or become tyrannical. German philosopher Immanuel Kant devised a project of "perpetual peace," but he was against a world state, advocating instead a kind of confederation of the states in the world. Finally, if a world government is indeed formed, how far should the instruments and tools of such a body reach? These and other issues have been explored in this book. Covering a wide range of disciplines - from philosophy to jurisprudence, ethics, and social science - the book explores how theorists have reflected upon the necessary components of an effective global order.
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