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Popper's Leftism

Here are two unfortunate quotes by Popper:

if there could be such a thing as socialism combined with individual liberty, I would be a socialist still. For nothing could be better than living a modest, simple and free life in an egalitarian society. It took some time before I recognized this as no more than a beautiful dream; that freedom is more important than equality; that the attempt to realize equality endangers freedom; and that, if freedom is lost, there will not even be equality among the unfree.
Myth of the Framework page 125:
Avoidance of war is ... the overriding problem of public policy ... In this context it should be stated very clearly that one of the most disturbing aspects of recent events is the cult of violence. We all know that one of the most horrible aspects of our entertainment industry is the constant propaganda for violence, from allegedly harmless Westerns and crime stories to displays of cruelty pure and simple. It is tragic to see that this propaganda has had its effects even on genuine artists and scientists, and unfortunately also on our students (as the cult of revolutionary violence shows).

Elliot Temple on September 10, 2008

Messages (3)

Popper as a minimum state liberal

Popper's lingering leftism is quite exasperating because the logic of his situation should place him firmly with the minimum state liberals. Consider the way he took on board the difference between rules and orders (possibly tipped off by Hayek while the OSE was in press) and they way he insisted that the expansion of the state was dangerous, so that socialists and all interventionists should be constantly alert to errors and the downside of their reforms. Look at the liberal principles that he spelled out in a talk to the Mont Pelerin Society.


But he accepted the morbid view of conditions under the industrial revolution, even though the did not accept the Marxist analysis that followed from that view of the problem situation. For what it is worth, my summary and commentary on Popper on Marxism is critical in a way that my gloss on Popper and Plato is not.


Anonymous at 3:59 AM on September 12, 2008 | #1497 | reply | quote

"freedom is more important than equality; that the attempt to realize equality endangers freedom; and that, if freedom is lost, there will not even be equality among the unfree"

You disagree?

Anonymous at 5:30 AM on September 12, 2008 | #1501 | reply | quote

Ever read "Brave New World".

I think Poppers first quotation could be read that such a world would be nice to live in but without freedom and free thought.

America knows just socialism and liberalism. Popper was what we germans call social democratic. This is not socialistic, nor pure liberal, but liberalism with wellfare state obligations due to his ethical primer "reduce suffering" is an individual and an state obligation.

Tobias Müller-Kortkamp

Anonymous at 2:32 PM on January 22, 2009 | #1736 | reply | quote

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