George Soros LO29646

Date: 12/04/02

Soros writes nearly six years ago,

"It can be seen that the concept of the open society is a seemingly
inexhaustible source of difficulties. That is to be expected. After all,
the open society is based on the recognition of our fallibility. Indeed,
it stands to reason that our ideal of the open society is unattainable. To
have a blueprint for it would be self-contradictory. That does not mean
that we should not strive toward it. In science also, ultimate truth is
unattainable. Yet look at the progress we have made in pursuing it.
Similarly, the open society can be approximated to a greater or lesser
extent. To derive a political and social agenda from a philosophical,
epistemological argument seems like a hopeless undertaking. Yet it can be
done. There is historical precedent. The Enlightenment was a celebration
of the power of reason, and it provided the inspiration for the
Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. The belief in reason
was carried to excess in the French Revolution, with unpleasant side
effects; nevertheless, it was the beginning of modernity. We have now had
200 years of experience with the Age of Reason, and as reasonable people
we ought to recognize that reason has its limitations. The time is ripe
for developing a conceptual framework based on our fallibility. Where
reason has failed, fallibility may yet succeed."

Copyright 1997 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; February 1997; The Capitalist Threat; Volume 279,
No. 2; pages 45-58.

Andrew Campbell


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