Volume 19, Issue 1, 2019
Populists, Samaritans and Cosmopolitans
What is the Right Alliance?
In the last decade the international situation has been marked on the one hand by refugee crisis, and on the other by right-wing populist reaction to it. This constellation forces a new playground for the traditional philosophical cosmopolitan–nationalist debate. The moral and political issues raised in this new context concern duties to “strangers at our doors”, and these duties and the awareness of them are the first step in a cosmopolitan but realistic direction. Cosmopolitanism now has to start as “samaritan” cosmopolitanism, openness to and engagement for the close and present strangers. Once the present urgent problems are on the way to be solved, we should turn our attention to deeper causes of the crisis. These causes are the evils traditionally discussed by cosmopolitan authors, from dramatic North-South inequalities, to exploitation and warmongering done by the richest countries. The initial samaritan motivation naturally leads to attention to deeper issues, and toward a more ideal cosmopolitan theory. The resulting Samaritan-to-deeper-measures model fits well with Ypi’s engagement with the principle/activism divide, and offers a way of understanding, and hopefully, overcoming it. At the meta-level it connects the appeal to empathy as the relevant moral sentiment and the more rationalist, contractualist justification of global justice.