Cosmopolitans and universalism and their opposites… October 8, 2016Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.
Thanks to SonofStan for allowing this comment to be reposted.
Theresa May in her conference speech last week attacked ‘cosmopolitans’ as ‘citizens of nowhere’ and as ‘an absurdity’. It’s interesting – to me at any rate – because, in a way, she is echoing, in another key, the first man to describe himself as ‘kosmopolitikos’, a citizen of the world, Diogenes of Sinope, or Diogenes the Cynic. He described himself thus, not to claim world citzenship, but to deny any responsibility towards Athens – it was a patent oxymoron to him and those who heard him because one could obviously only be a politikos of a polis, of a particular place.
The Stoics though, took it seriously and were the first – probably – to develop the idea of humanity as a universal condition with rights and duties that transcended the local and particular. And Stoicism fed almost seamlessly into Pauline Christianity, inclusive of both Jew and Greek – i.e. everyone.
The ‘catholicism’ of the church is rooted in that, and it’s curious to me that a scion of the Anglican Church, a vicar’s daughter, could make a plea for particularity and against universalism; if you think about it, a church that claims access to revealed, and universal truth, but is also the ‘Church of England’ is the real absurdity. But that church and the rarely interrogated complicity between it, the state and the armed forces, is one of the occult pillars of English exceptionalism.
(although I’ve just checked, and curiously perhaps, TM went to an RC school for a while….)