The Cosmopolitan Gesture

From Greg Johnson’s post “What’s Wrong with Cosmopolitanism?”:

The cosmopolitan gesture is different. It is not a search for a new place to put down roots. It is an aspiration to deracination, to rootlessness. It is an attempt to sever one’s connection with one’s actual home and step into a bigger world—the biggest possible world—the whole world. It expresses a desire to kick free of the earth and float through the cosmos. Cosmopolitans are not earthlings but space cadets.

But nobody is at home everywhere. Nobody is familiar with the whole world. Nobody is comfortable everywhere. Nobody can understand all the people of the world, or be understood by them. Thus there are no actual citizens of the world. Thus cosmopolitanism is merely an aspiration. A cosmopolitan is just an alienated or disgruntled citizen of somewhere, a misfit who thinks that the misfits of the world constitute a global community which he wishes to join.

Cosmopolitans say they represent the common interests of the global community. But in fact, they constitute a community of their own, a community that has only one thing in common: alienation from and loathing for the real communities its members aspire to leave behind. And yet these cosmopolitans also wish to rule over the rest of us. But we have to ask: why is it in our interest to be ruled by people who despise us? Shouldn’t we want leaders who feel loyalty and love for us instead? Which sort of leadership is more likely to be corrupt and tyrannical? Which is more likely to produce good government?

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