Citizen King

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In fact every citizen is king of his own living world, this of course within the boundaries – which most societies have commonly agreed on as the playing field or canvas – of the public domain.

The kingdom of the citizen can stretch over vast territories, networks, topics and processes, but at the end it is always confined by the borders of the realm. These are often be set and guarded by government, which actually is in principle chosen and indirectly steered by the citizens themselves – at least in democratic societies. The balancing act of freedom, rights and borders is always challenging.

The realm of the Citizen King is often well described and defined in article 1 of a national constitution, such as freedom of expression and the right on privacy, voting and equal treatment. Franklin D. Roosevelt articulated in his State if the Union in 1941 four fundamental freedoms that people “everywhere in the world” ought to enjoy: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.

The system world of government though can be highly dominant as we have seen before, but from the perspective of good public governance, government can set clear borders and position them as small but present markings on the canvas. Just that, to not only serve the perception but also to contribute to actual freedoms, rights and interests of every citizen. The equilibrium is often challenging. Living world and system world are often at odds. The Citizen King should be a starting point for every government.