The notions of citizenship, liberty, and equality of political rights, as well as popular sovereignty, were closely interrelated. The most essential feature of citizenship was one’s origin and heritage: Pericles was the ‘son of Xanthippus from the deme of Cholargus’. From 451 BCE, one had to be born of an Athenian mother and father in order to become a citizen. Defined by his belonging, the citizen (polites) was opposed to the idiotes, or non-citizen—a designation that quickly took on a pejorative meaning (from the notion of the isolated individual with no belonging came the idea of the ‘idiot’). Citizenship as a function thus derived from the notion of citizenship a status which was the exclusive prerogative of birth. To be a citizen meant, in the fullest sense of the word, to belong to a homeland – that is, to a homeland and a past.

- Excerpt from: The Problem of Democracy, by Alain de Benoist

Read more from Alain de Benoist at

This entry was posted in Historical. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>