AN ANTI-STATE STANCE Can Be Manipulated for Opposing Goals

Cape Times (South Africa), January 8, 2008 | Go to article overview

AN ANTI-STATE STANCE Can Be Manipulated for Opposing Goals


BYLINE: Saliem Fakir

Many well-meaning left intellectuals have often over-stated the power of cosmopolitanism. The Greek roots of the word suggest a citizen should not only be a citizen of the polis, but also the universal, the cosmos. There should be, to put it simply, a handshake and hug between strangers in celebration of the fraternal bonds between humanity.

Kwame Anthony Appiah, the Ghanaian philosopher, talks about cosmopolitanism as a new ethic between strangers as a reaction to negative aspects of globalisation. As he writes: "The real challenge to cosmopolitanism isn't the belief that other people don't matter at all; it's the belief that they don't matter very much."

Appiah's is an appeal for a universal duty of care that citizens can exercise of their own volition towards others - in close proximity or at a distance.

It is not, as will be shown, that cosmopolitanism is only a left tradition: in order to realise the promise of progressive cosmopolitanism it has to contend with another - elite cosmopolitanism, seeking to counteract its egalitarian vision.

While the first seeks the ideal where there is justice and equality for all, the second has a very exclusive outlook and is self-serving.

Elite cosmopolitanism is a construct of like-minded elites around the world who share the same taste for vanity goods, cars, luxury holidays and educational grooming in some of the top universities in the world. They regard it as their natural right to rule, otherwise barbarism will prevail.

Elite cosmopolitanism is led by multinational and transnational corporations and global capitalists, often with friends in state bureaucracies and international organisations.

Ideologically, they have forced a convergence of views: that the private sector and, less so, government should be the primary vehicle for economic development, wealth distribution and shaping the character of national power.

In that sense, the two tendencies can be unwitting bed-fellows in their anti-statism. Often the anti-statist rhetoric of progressive cosmopolitanism can feed the hand that bites it and others - the corporations that prefer a hollow state than a strong one.

Progressive cosmopolitanism's rise is often timed with a simultaneous loss of sense of human solidarity and oneness - it raises its head now and then when the world is in a crisis of leadership, like we are in now.

The appeal of progressive ideals is heightened in times when states are wanting in the fulfilment of their duties - like the duty of care to the poor, the protection of rights and defence of interests of others who are harmed by the policies and actions of other states.

Disenchantment with national politics is often the mother of cosmopolitan sentimentality in the hope that, by replacing the playing field of politics from the national state to the global citizenry, it is possible to save the national - or entirely replace it - with a universal ethic.

Cosmopolitan idealism can run ahead of itself, obscuring from itself the realities of power - in the realm of global politics, states are still key to the brinkmanship of the world order and distribution of power.

The state is back in the ascent, and old ideas about the power of civic society and the power of unbridled markets have to be revisited in light of the re-emergence of national state power.

Progressive states were key to changing the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) intellectual property rules for life-saving medicines when big pharmaceutical corporations, backed by their mother countries, tried to impose an impossible regime of intellectual property on poor and emerging economies.

The issue of life-saving drugs quickly turned into a human rights' issue and such moral high-ground forced big corporations to bow, even though it is well known that the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (Trips) regime was literally drafted by the pharmaceutical companies before the WTO was born. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

AN ANTI-STATE STANCE Can Be Manipulated for Opposing Goals
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.