Arguing that the core laws of the nation-state are more about a fear of death than a desire for freedom, Jacqueline Stevens
imagines a world in which birthright citizenship, family inheritance, state-sanctioned marriage, and private land ownership
are eliminated. Would chaos be the result? Drawing on political theory and history and incorporating contemporary social and
economic data, she brilliantly critiques our sentimental attachments to birthright citizenship, inheritance, and marriage
and highlights their harmful outcomes, including war, global apartheid, destitution, family misery, and environmental damage.
It might be hard to imagine countries without the rules of membership and ownership that have come to define them, but as
Stevens shows, conjuring new ways of reconciling our laws with the condition of mortality reveals the flaws of our present
institutions and inspires hope for moving beyond them.