A recent article published in the Atlantic focused in on the Billionaire, George Soros, who has been the target of those who are looking to demonize his philanthropic efforts. Those not in the know might not be aware that Mr. George Soros has donated $18 billion of his own money to the Open Society Foundations philanthropy organization. Instead of focusing on how much he is helping people, detractors have chosen to steer everyone’s attention to a slew of conspiracy theories they have cooked up in order to downplay the difference Mr. Soros is making in the world. The interesting thing is that the conspiracies are not aimed at his political giving but rather his philanthropic endeavors.
The main factor driving these claims is a political climate of fear and blame that has been taking over the United States. The problem with a lot of this is the fact that authoritarian type leaders tend to play on the fears of people by using conspiracy theories and other forms of propaganda. Since George Soros is wealthy, he fits the narrative perfectly, and while the purpose of philanthropy is to help people, including the disadvantaged and unrepresented, his giving is being mischaracterized as something that has a darker, nefarious purpose behind it. This has also been the case in the past when other right-wing political movements sought to demonize philanthropy as being something that was purposely undermining the country.
George Soros’s wealth and philanthropy isn’t the only reason why he is being targeted by right-wing conspiracy theorists. The other reason, unfortunately, is his Jewish heritage, which he is very proud of. The truth is that antisemitism has always been coupled with the belief that Jews want to dominate the world, and that their giving is done for this reason alone. While his detractors don’t come right out and say it, they subtly allude to the fact that he is a foreigner and that his cosmopolitan nature is something to pay attention to.
George Soros started Open Society Foundations with the purpose of contributing to causes centering in on pro-democracy, basic human rights, and social justice, and the charitable organization is now operating in over 100 countries. The first cause the foundation focused on was to support black South Africans by offering them scholarships. That was just the beginning, because since then, Open Society Foundations has helped more causes and people that can be written about in one single article.
In an article published in 1997 in the Atlantic, George Soros wrote about the threat that capitalism can create in the world. He pointed to a book written by Karl Popper that is titled “The Open Society and Its Enemies,” where the author revealed that ideologies like Nazism and Communism claim to know the truth, and that their version of the truth is the only truth. In response to these kinds of dictatorships, Popper proposed the Open Society, where no one person or group has a monopoly on the truth. This is where George Soros got the idea for the name of his philanthropic foundation.