Andrew Curry reflects on the work of Jon Alexander, author of a book called Citizens (2022). Alexander has been on a bit of a journey talking to people, and has made some discoveries. The image features three columns, each representing different societal roles: SUBJECT, CONSUMER, and CITIZEN, each with its own background color—orange, pink, and blue, respectively. For the SUBJECT, words such as DEPENDENT, RELIGIOUS, DUTY, OBEY, RECEIVE, COMMAND, PRINT, HIERARCHY, and SUBJECTIVE are listed, set against a light orange striped background. The CONSUMER column has words like INDEPENDENT, MATERIAL, RIGHTS, DEMAND, CHOOSE, SERVE, ANALOGUE, BUREAUCRACY, and OBJECTIVE, all on a pink striped background. Lastly, the CITIZEN column lists INTERDEPENDENT, SPIRITUAL, PURPOSE, PARTICIPATE, CREATE, FACILITATE, DIGITAL, NETWORK, and DELIBERATIVE, against a light blue striped background. The text is arranged vertically in a sans-serif font, and each word is placed in a horizontal alignment with its counterparts in the other columns.

I’m mainly sharing this for the diagram, which Stowe Boyd also picked up on, and provides a better commentary than I ever could. All I’ll say is that it’s good to see things laid out so clearly, although I would have put the ‘Subject’ column to the right (where it is politically) and made it an easier-to read colour!

[H]eaven knows we have a lot of Sensible Grown-Up Politicians around the place. Albanese in Australia, Starmer in the UK. But: because they have not yet realised, or acknowledged, that our political systems are failing, they don’t have the tools to deal with authoritarianism.

But it’s not just down to them. We can’t sit down in Restaurant Hope and wait for the menu. We need to be in the kitchen. […]

Authoritarians offer to replace this with a story about being a subject: if we put them in power, they will fix things for us (although they don’t, of course).


We need to believe in people if we, the people, are to have any hope for ourselves and for humanity.

Source: Just Two Things