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Cosmopolitanism

The term cosmopolitanism is derived from the Greek word used to denote a “citizen of the world” (kosmopolitês). This notion of world citizenship is derived from the Greek terms for “universe” and “polis,” which were understood as moral and legal order. The central libertarian claim that all human beings—indeed, all rational agents—have equal fundamental rights is rooted in the ancient tradition of cosmopolitan thought. (Another use of the term, which refers to a person of worldly or sophisticated tastes, is not directly relevant to its moral/political use; one could have parochial or unsophisticated tastes, but cosmopolitan political beliefs.)

Cosmopolitanism has deep roots in Western culture. About the year 420 B.C., the philosopher Democritus wrote, “To a wise man, the whole earth is open; for the native ...

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