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Citizen vs denizen vs you tell me

At, I searched the word "citizen". Whereas its roots lie in community life, the primary definition has changed to be associated with nationalism. The word has always had a strong political flavour and its altered meaning is significant. To be a good citizen today is not the same thing as it once was. The word Civics, which pertains to the behaviour of citizens has been hijacked by association.

So where does this leave individuals who want to build self sustainable towns? If civics now means participation in national politics i.e. a trip to the ballot box every few years, what word is there for local-level civics?

The word "denizen" places an individual at a local scale. However, there is no political element to the word. So to be a "good denizen" is a meaningless phrase in any political sense. Therefore, a word to represent local-level civics cannot use denizen as its foundation.

So I ask you. What word would you create to describe the activity of an individual who participates in a local economy, contributes to local culture and has no inclination to rampant imperialism?

  • Sep 8 2012: Earthling
    • Sep 8 2012: Hi natasha

      Thanks for the effort!

      First of all, it's a noun. We need an adjective. We need an adjective that describes responsible and cooperative behavior at a municipal level. "Civic" was this word but no longer is.

      Earthlingic, earthlingy, earthlingsome...these adjectives...hmmm...well...I'm not convinced. :)

      Moreover, without accurate words, debate and discussion become narrowed and limited. So my point is that if the word "civic" has been ousted from municipal relevance, how do we promote local living economies, local culture and municipal democracies without a powerful word describing what "civic" once meant?

      Furthermore, this new word should move beyond "civic" in that it should imply not only healthful behaviour within one's own town but also an equal respect for the diverse array of geographic communities around the globe.

      Care to try again? ;)
  • Sep 9 2012: Eureka!!!

    Municipolite! :)

    I hereby declare this new word open source.
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    • Sep 8 2012: Hi Juliette

      Thanks for the link. While I appreciate the sentiment, I don't find simply viewing things at an astronomical scale particularly helpful. But at the same time, scale is at the heart of the problem.

      Large scale economic ventures by early imperialists lead to the formation of corporations. This introduced "limited liability". This legal protection of destructive behavior is responsible for many of the world's problems. This is why we need to promote sustainable and transparent localized economies in which the inhabitants are liable for their behavior. And this is why we need a powerful new adjective to represent healthful social behavior.
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    Sep 8 2012: A rugged individualist.
    • Sep 8 2012: Hi David
      One...two...three. Yep that's three words. :)
      Not so easy is it! ;)
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        Sep 8 2012: It's really only 2 ; p

        • Sep 8 2012: That word is already taken. It also has a distinctively different meaning from which is sought. Never consider quitting your day job and writing a dictionary David! Ha ha ha
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        Sep 8 2012: You either... Individualism is based on the basic understanding that human beings will organize themselves and strive to have productive communities, on their own, without government or religious interference. We're pack animals. So the type of constructive community building you describe would occur in a society which best strives for individual liberty. Governments, and religions, and society in general, encourage us vs them thinking, which is counter productive.

        Thus, a society founded on the principle of individual liblerty, will naturally create the most cohesive cultural unit possible.
        • Sep 9 2012: Hi David

          Yes me either... Hence the plea for help :)

          This is a bit of a digression from word creation but interesting none the less.

          Yes I understand the importance of individual rights but respect for and commitment to the "cohesive cultural unit" (town) along with the physical environment that it occupies, is still important enough to have it's own word. My point is that the word "civic" is no longer tied to a cohesive cultural unit or its geographical environment but is now in the domain of nationalism. Without words to describe specific behaviour, there is a danger that the behaviour will disappear.

          Would you agree that a community of individuals who desires that the economic development of their town be sustainable, should be free to regulate that development through municipal law? If not, how do you keep those rare but dangerous individuals with avaricious natures who, with a pinch of cunning and a dash of luck, find themselves with the financial resources to impose their individual will on the community, without regard for the freedom of other individual community members?
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        Sep 9 2012: I accept your critique of my definition as well, as it is a bit eccentric. I think there is a fundamental problem of communication being expressed, through the distortion of language, and this involves people who in their fundamental understanding of the world have two different perspectives. One of individualism, and one of tribalism, community, and culture...

        What many do not understand, and refuse to accept about the individualist perspective, is that we believe, that if it was good for the tribe, culture, or community, you wouldn't need to force people to do it, at the point of a gun. I truly believe, that the absolute best culture, emerges in a Republic. Don't kill, don't rape, don't steal, and don't lie in a contract... Now do whatever you want.

        It is really a difference between whether you believe human beings are good, or evil. I believe human beings are basically good, and their leadership, and desire for power, are evil. Most people who believe in typical cultural institutions, believe that you need a great leader, or organization, to make people be good. I think very few people want to be destructive, and if they were not backed by the government, religion, or atheists, they would have very little power.

        So, in general, I believe municipal law, is more likely to be destructive than productive. But, "Don't Kill", applies to poisoning water, and air, etc. Where I differ with most individuals, is that I'm willing to accept corporations as people... Provided we can start charging them with murder, and executing them.
        • Sep 9 2012: Yes I do understand. I'm not opposed to individualism, I am certainly not a tribalist and I do believe that most humans are not genetically programmed to avarice.
          I am still curious though, having said that municipal law is likely to be destructive, how would you deal with the question that I posed...regarding those rare avaricious natures?
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        Sep 9 2012: Progressive was the buzzword for awhile as well... but that language has been coopted too.
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    • Sep 7 2012: Ha ha ha
      Well it is one word...I'll give it that much. :)
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        • Sep 8 2012: :)
          Attain= to reach, achieve, accomplish
          I'm not sure how you arrived at your definition of "Attained"
          Even still, I'm not convinced that it is a powerful replacement of "civic".
          The word we need must be metaphoric in its depth and meteoric in its power.
          Btw What does Tolle mean?
          Cheers Ed
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    Sep 7 2012: This is quite a good Q,what would be a good modern word?

    Are you down at McMurdo? i would love to be down there but probably as a dishwasher and only for 1 season just so to say i've been there and seen it.
    • Sep 7 2012: Hi Ken
      No, I am not actually in Antarctica. I wrote Remote, Antarctica as a whim. However, I'm glad I did since I might not have heard of McMurdo otherwise. Thanks for contributing to the conversation.
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        Sep 7 2012: Heh Heh,a good choice,smart.

        In answer to your Q how about Communii unless we look around and adopt a word from a different language.
        • Sep 7 2012: Yes I like that idea. We would need to find a language from a culture in which community life is central. Now there is a fascinating challenge.
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    • Sep 7 2012: Hi Ed
      Thanks for the effort
      Sadly I am looking for one word. And can't remove the space in between these two. :)
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    Sep 7 2012: Probably just community member or member of society or something like that. If I define society as a group of people who make up a culturally organized system, then we are all members of that society, called Earth.
    • Sep 7 2012: Hi James
      I'm hoping to find a single word. :)
      By the way, I've clarified the Welcome Page on, having been influenced by your comments. Thanks
      Perhaps you will now become the first member? :)
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        Sep 7 2012: k, I just checked it out, I'm gonna send you a PM on this

        Edit: ok nvm, I can't seem to contact you privately through ted...
        • Sep 7 2012: I fixed my settings so you can now contact me.