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Karl Popper, the Open Society, and the Cosmopolitan Democratic Empire

  • Malachi Haim Hacohen
Chapter

Abstract

In The Open Society, written in New Zealand during WWII, Karl Popper invented the cosmopolitan democratic empire as an antidote to ethnonationalism. Popper, a non-Marxist socialist, protested that the nation-state was a charade and, in his portrayal of classical Athens, merged the images of Austria-Hungary and the British Commonwealth into a utopian democratic empire. The empire was an open society that would provide a home to the assimilated Jewish intelligentsia, which was excluded on racial grounds from the European nation-states. Jews were not to expect, however, recognition of their culture: Assimilation remained the best solution to the Jewish Question. Emerging from Jewish anxiety, Popper’s cosmopolitanism formed a marvelous imperial vision that failed to allay his own fears of antisemitism.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of History, Political Science, and ReligionThe Kenan Institute, Duke UniversityDurhamUSA

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