My favourite essay this year, so far! The premise is debatable and nuanced but it's overall well-argued and profound.
It situates cosmopolitanism within global nuances, and I can't but compare it to Afropolitanism, its African variant. I like how it stresses how cosmopolitanism seeks tolerance of differences but it somehow reduces itself to a form of tribalism that is also aristocratic in form. Brilliant.
"Genuine cosmopolitanism is a rare thing. It requires comfort with real difference, with forms of life that are truly exotic relative to one’s own."
"The people who consider themselves “cosmopolitan” in today’s West, by contrast, are part of a meritocratic order that transforms difference into similarity, by plucking the best and brightest from everywhere and homogenizing them into the peculiar species that we call “global citizens.”
"This species is racially diverse (within limits) and eager to assimilate the fun-seeming bits of foreign cultures — food, a touch of exotic spirituality.... "
"They have their own distinctive worldview (basically liberal Christianity without Christ), their own common educational experience, their own shared values and assumptions (social psychologists call these WEIRD — for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic), and of course their own outgroups (evangelicals, Little Englanders) to fear, pity and despise. And like any tribal cohort they seek comfort and familiarity: From London to Paris to New York, each Western “global city” (like each “global university”) is increasingly interchangeable, so that wherever the citizen of the world travels he already feels at home."