As a Capitalist was driving to the supermarket to go shopping, he hit a Commoner, who was riding her bike to the same supermarket to fetch some milk. Luckily the Commoner was not hurt, but her bike was a mess. The Capitalist was devastated, because he knows that bikes are expensive. The Commoner was furious because she is sick and tired of drivers not sharing the road with bikers.
So which world do you want to change: the world of sports, or shopping, or business, or the world of work? There are lots of worlds, and many need repair. (See my son’s attempt to repair the world of higher education: Whose University.) What world would you begin with?
A citizen is one among the many—one among others. Citizens are members. We are always citizens “of.” “Of what?” Of the many? Yes. But citizens are not mobs or crowds. Citizens are members of civic communities, and citizens create and re-create civic communities. The civic, in other words, comes into existence when we participate in civic conversations as citizens.
According to Aristotle, even though families and clans preceded the emergence of the city, the city was the end that human communities aimed for. To be a good member of the city—a good citizen—was the human telos or final end. In some ways I think he was right.
How different from the world that Adam Smith created for us that treats everyone as traders, engaging in the exchange of properties to become wealthy. The truth is that we today live more in the legacy of Adam Smith than of Aristotle. We tend to define the good life in terms of ownership instead of membership.