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Cosmopolitanism and cosmopolitan (from the Greek cosmopolite meaning "citizen of the world") are diffuse concepts with various meanings. A belief that the systematic mélange of cultures is preferable to the identity of each culture — the belief that comes from the prejudice that some sort of world civilisation is necessary.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Encyclopedia states that "The word ‘cosmopolitan’, which derives from the Greek word kosmopolitês (‘citizen of the world’), has been used to describe a wide variety of important views in moral and socio-political philosophy. The nebulous core shared by all cosmopolitan views is the idea that all human beings, regardless of their political affiliation, are (or can and should be) citizens in a single community. Different versions of cosmopolitanism envision this community in different ways, some focusing on political institutions, others on moral norms or relationships, and still others focusing on shared markets or forms of cultural expression. In most versions of cosmopolitanism, the universal community of world citizens functions as a positive ideal to be cultivated, but a few versions exist in which it serves primarily as a ground for denying the existence of special obligations to local forms of political organizations. Versions of cosmopolitanism also vary depending on the notion of citizenship they employ, including whether they use the notion of 'world citizenship' literally or metaphorically. The philosophical interest in cosmopolitanism lies in its challenge to commonly recognized attachments to fellow-citizens, the local state, parochially shared cultures, and the like."[1]

Cosmopolitanism is thus argued to be the ideology that all human beings belong to a single community. However, this may be contrary to the ideals of having high "multiculturalism" and "diversity", which imply the presence of many communities.

Cosmopolitanism is one ideology supporting globalism and may imply support for a world government.

The word "cosmopolitan" may imply support for cosmopolitanism or that something has a high "diversity" (such as in a "cosmopolitan city").

Proponents often more or less openly imply that something which is "cosmopolitan" is exciting, "urbane", and sophisticated. Cosmopolitan is also the name of a well-known fashion magazine for women.

In the Soviet Union, "cosmopolitans" were intellectuals who were accused of expressing pro-Western feelings and lack of patriotism. The term "rootless cosmopolitan" referred more specifically to Jewish intellectuals thus accused.

Etymologically, cosmopolitanism is the establishment of a ‘world city’, whose every inhabitant is a citizen, no matter his origin. Cosmopolitanism is a pillar of the dominant Western ideology. Islam exploits Western cosmopolitanism in order to establish itself in Europe, but it lacks cosmopolitan ideals, for it strives to be culturally hegemonic and monopolistic. Islam is ‘universalistic’, but not cosmopolitan. Cosmopolitanism is nothing but a failed differentialism. Its ideal of mixing cultures for the sake of creating a single world culture is essentially totalitarian. With its simulacrum of heterogeneity, there lurks the will to uniformity.

Classical Greek democracy fiercely opposed cosmopolitanism, for since Pericles it rested on the rights of blood and on ethno-cultural homogeneity. Only in the Eighteenth century, with the Enlightenment, was democracy associated with cosmopolitanism, this same cosmopolitanism which the Greeks saw as a source of political chaos and thus tyranny. Cosmopolitanism’s principal argument is that ‘the mixing and mélange of cultures is an enrichment’. As an example, Nineteenth-century Vienna and its flourishing culture are often cited. This, though, is sophistic, for what is here held out as cosmopolitan was not at all cosmopolitan, for Vienna was solely about the peoples and cultures of Europe, and was thus rooted in her native substrata. The present European discourse on cosmopolitanism insists on a necessary Africanisation, as if it will be some sort of godsend. In reality, Europe’s cultural wealth owes little to extra-European contributions, despite the claims of the official vulgate. Today, cosmopolitanism seeks to dissolve European originality and specificity into a jumble of world cultures. It has no future. There’s never been a ‘world culture’. Europe is the sole victim of cosmopolitan propaganda for a future ‘mixed world’; everywhere else there’s been a reinforcement of identity and ethnic blocs.

Pericles (495?-429 BCE) governed Athens during its ‘Golden Age’ between the Persian and Peloponnesian Wars, when Athens made many of its greatest achievements. He also introduced many democratic reforms.

(see miscegenation; people; universalism)

See also


  1. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Cosmopolitanism