Conclusion: Toward a New Humanism
The conclusion offers reason to hope for a more unified progressive politics founded on a truly universal humanism—a revival on a cosmopolitan scale of an ideal first articulated in Western democracies that fell miserably short of realizing it. That hope is justified because—thanks to postmodernism, and in spite of the excesses it entailed—there could now be a truly representative diversity of voices involved. By appealing openly (and controversially) to educated elites—again, on a cosmopolitan scale—this vision challenges the young especially to take up an intellectual task, first of all. It invites those qualified to start from scratch and to ask again the ancient question: what is it to be human? What does it mean to be human? And it invites the same educated elites to step up and take responsibility for fashioning a political program founded on emerging answers to that ancient question, now being asked and answered in a cosmopolitan context. No one else can do it. It is their duty. And in the age of Trump in particular, and of know-nothing “autocratic populism” in general, in ascendency across the globe—it is a duty that could not be more urgent.
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