And my point is that a state is not entitled to loyalty or servitude any more than, say, a corporation would be.
That is a quite silly statement. The state is a vehicle for collective security and economic prosperity.
It needs to pay for them. In practice, that means "bread and circuses", ...
The security and economic opportunity provided by the state is the payment. The "bread and circuses" were buying political votes, nothing to do with paying for security.
Their ancestors lived in a city-state and were answering the call to defend their own homes, ...
Untrue. They were also called upon to defend colonies (fellow citizens), allies (often those who materially aided Rome when it was threatened, including supplying their own troops to aid Rome) and friendly neighboring states (perhaps an economic partner, sometimes a state that took in and sheltered Roman citizens when the sh*t hit the fan in Rome territory).
... not some stranger who lives on another side of the continent, where they couldn't get to even if they wanted to Also, they're not their "fellow citizens", they're subjects of the Emperor.
Whoa .. your time references are way off. I am largely referring to Republic Rome. Imperial Rome was not the start of the decay in "civic virtue" as Juvenal put it, it was one of the later effects. Here is the true original context "bread and circuses":
"Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses"