Communitarianism Vs. Cosmopolitanism

Andrew Potter writes in The Authenticity Hoax:

What all of this underscores is the deep contradiction between liberal cosmopolitanism and the communitarian desire to preserve distinct cultural identities. For the communitarian, the effect of opening up on a country such as Bhutan is a strike against cosmopolitanism, since any system that so relentlessly works to undermine a people’s cultural heritage must be dangerous and should be resisted. But we can just as easily throw the ball back and shift the burden of argument. Why should the community be our prime unit of concern? Does the community exist to serve the people or vice versa?

Any community whose survival rests on keeping its members ignorant, poor, isolated, and politically disenfranchised should not be worthy of our respect or our efforts. It may warm the hearts of authenticity seekers and left-wing academics to see Havana frozen in 1946, just as we may wish that Bhutan remain a charming kingdom of agrarian Buddhists, toiling away in their rice fields in the foothills of the Himalayas. But we need to recognize the people of Bhutan and Cuba for what they are: victims of the hoax of authenticity and pawns of people who would put their culture in a museum as a symbol of resistance to the modern world. (p. 231)

I think it would be fair to say that the biblical view of the world is cosmopolitan, in this sense. The alienating divisions of people are a result of the fall, not something to be celebrated. Of course, distinct cultures can be good things (depending on the culture), but this is not intrinsically exclusive of economic and political cooperation with other peoples.