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1 hour ago, Karger said:

That is a highly ambiguous question.  Some context would perhaps be helpful.  I would say that a good citizen is someone who has a personal investment in a government or other political process and acts accordingly.

I think the point of the question is to be ambiguous, so as to garner a wide variety of responses. Thanks!

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All right, I think I have my thoughts in decent enough order, and a keyboard which will make this easier than typing it out on my phone. 

Citizenship is going to be tied up in politics by its very nature, so good citizenship will deal with a sort of political action (not political as in Democrats vs Republicans, so calm down moderators and put that ban hammer away). This political action has to deal with maintaining or improving on the governance to be as "fair" (in a Rawlsian sense, I'll get to that definition) as you can get it. This political action is continual, as there will always be those who recklessly or purposefully try to weaken that structure and there is always room for improvement.

So, the structure of governance that I have in mind right now is a democracy in the framework of rational pluralism (I also borrowed "rational pluralism" from John Rawls, so you are starting to see a huge influence on my thoughts here). Pluralism because I recognize that two people can use rational thinking and logic and arrive at different ideas of what should be done. So there is a plurality of thought and ideology and that is fine as natural. Someone who has different thoughts and ideologies from me is not automatically irrational, nor am I more rational just by virtue of the stances I take. The conflicts between these ideas would take place in a democratic process to determine the course of actions taken by the government and the process would be more in line with discussion, argument and compromise before a vote.

Rational means that some ideologies would not be tolerated because they are incompatible with pluralism. So the most general example of this would be an ideology that would call for extreme limits on the citizenry's rights to speech, say by only having government approved journalism and obligating all publications to be edited and censored by a governmental organization. Since that sets up a society were any sort of pluralism is not tolerated, that ideology should be opposed. Other examples would include discrimination based on one's race, sexual orientation, gender identity, health, religion and the like.

Now to get into "fairness". In this case, Rawls uses a thought experiment called the Veil of Ignorance. The general idea is that you are trying to look at how society is or should be from the viewpoint of the least advantaged (which could be due to economic issues, racial policies that haven't been abolished and cultural norms). The way the thought experiment works is that you are supposed to put yourself in the shoes of the least advantaged and consider whether or not you could rationally accept the conditions of society as they are or as you would want them to be.

I will have to think of an example, but the criteria is that a least advantaged person COULD reasonably and rationally accept the condition, not that they WOULD (after all, in pluralism, there might be a rational reason why they would not. All we can do is make sure that we don't support conditions that we would reject if in their shoes... like working 12 hours a day for a large bowl of beans a week).

So with that minimal and non-comprehensive background: good citizenship means political action where policies and ideologies that threaten or weaken rational pluralism would be roundly rejected while supporting and practicing actions that would strengthen that. At the same time, you would look towards the least advantaged and push for policy changes and updated to societal norms that would be fairer for them (like having a living income. There would be various solutions because of pluralism, so there would be political differences on the HOW. Good citizenship is not reliant on HOW you would rationally make society fairer, but that you would work TO make society fairer).

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