The truth and lie on Cosmopolitanism


“Cosmopolitanism” literally means the “”citizen of the world” which can be derived from the ancient Greek, ranging from Cynic and Stoic philosophers. Nowadays, cosmopolitanism has become more and more prevalence as the politics is becoming more and more global and international. Basically, all of the cosmopolitans share the idea that all the people in the world are equal regardless of their political affiliations. Cosmopolitanism is a view that its starting point is drawn from the individual rather than groups or communities. There are different issues that different cosmopolitans focused on, but I would like to argue about the cosmopolitanism on the political and moral level that is more representative and typical.

Political cosmopolitans give their strong arguments on building a global institution that could benefit all the human beings around the world and replace the old and ineffective one (the state). They argue that all human beings should aid fellow human. Nowadays, the global institution has already play their significant role of helping solve the world issues, such as the International Red Cross, Famine relief organization and the United Nation. It seems that the assumption of global institution is beneficial to all of the members.

However, in my point of view, the international communities build on the way of voluntarily and external will turn out to be a kind of straw. I think it is hardly to change the current state system. Firstly, there are so many different communities in the world that these communities s are sharing their own culture so they are holding heterogeneous backgrounds. Thus, building that kind of global political institutions may cause conflicts among different cultural groups. Secondly, the existing state is built from the contract of all the citizen’s decisions. Just as the realists’ debate that the nature of state is based on the Hobbes’s theory of contract, which means all of the citizens make a social contract and everyone go through a kind of cooperative obedience. This violation is caused by the higher level of integrity of a global institution, which will leave the countries with less power to make their decisions also the contract will be more difficult to agreed between individuals when the scale become global since more differences and conflicts are now need to be considered. Therefore, according to the Hobbes’s theory, I believe it is unrealistic to build a global institution.

Besides, from the view of post modernism and post colonialism, even though the global community is not going to have the strong political power, nor the military strength, the world is controlled by the groups, which are more developed rather than those developing groups. So the problem is that the global institution may lead to the despotism. For instance, the permanent members of the UN is consisted of 4 developed countries and only one developing country that the developed countries are on their dominant position on making the decision upon the international affairs. For example: when talk about the issues like environmental pollution, developed countries often blame developing countries but ignore the problems of their own. This is contrary to the justice and equality principle of cosmopolitanism and their ideal thought about the global institutions.

Nevertheless, this kind of realistic theory of building a real global institution may come true when the cultural and economical equality is realized around the world. Of course, there is also a modest version of cosmopolitanism that when asking for building global political institutions, they also admit the existing states.

When comes to the moral dimension of cosmopolitism, they defend the moral equality of all the people no matter where they live and human beings share the fundamental value of the human right.

In my point of view, cosmopolitans are not simply having hostility towards to cultural pluralism. They focus on how can individuals get into good life based on the virtue and the ethic principles, which can be refined from history that all community shared. We are more and more caught into the global issues even though we have no input in, such as the environmental problem, terrorism and some social problem such as the children and gender problem and the decisions made by other side of the world influences us a lot because of the globalization So, I do think the common bonds of the human beings need to be built to protect the most basic human rights and it is a really good point the cosmopolitans have made.

However, firstly, since every community has their own value standards, and we could not basically draw a clear line on which can be used to separate the absolutely good or wrong. From the communitarianism view of point, people identify themselves in the community because of the same memory of history, culture and society. So it is really difficult to realize the common value among human beings. For example, it is meaningless to talk about gender discrimination in an extreme poverty country.

Secondly, it is hard to definite the meaning and the standards of fundamental value. For example, how can we estimate the United States interference of other countries’ domestic affairs for the name of human right? They boost that they love everyone but they trigger a war to kill some one who is not regarded well-behaved from the view point of American value. It is so ironical that it makes me to think about the true meaning of the so-called “common value”. When the common value is built by more developed countries, it is skeptical that the common value is reasonable.

So, the moral way of analyzing cosmopolitanism may also end of its infeasible and unreliable. However, there is also a moderate version that considers people are supposed to finish their duty to help human beings around the world, but also need to care about their compatriots.

In conclusion, cosmopolitanism is a kind of idealistic way of thinking and when talks about building global political institutions and common humanities now, there are many limitations obstacle the way of its realization from the short-term of human history. However, in this more and more globalized world, cosmopolitanism do play its irreplaceable influence on the every issues of the international relationships and I believe cosmopolitanism can go further in influencing the long-term political decision-making.

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