] Could the recognition of our imperfect understanding
] serve to establish the open society as a desirable form
] of social organization? I believe it could, although
] there are formidable difficulties in the way. We must
] promote a belief in our own fallibility to the status
] that we normally confer on a belief in ultimate truth.
Wow, this might be the most important thing I've read since MemeStreams started.
First off, despite the title, this is not an anti-capitalist screed. George Soros is an investment banker and the 38th richest man in the country. In fact, this article isn't really about capitalism. This article is about everything. The title is so poor that I almost changed it.
What Soros is saying about Capitalism is that there are people who accept the concept of free trade in a ideological way, in an absolutist way, and that is a problem. The problem with religious states, which requires the separation of church and state, is that when laws are the product of man, they are open to debate, but when laws are the product of God, to question is heresy. If you have a society in which the law cannot be questioned, you have a totalitarian society. It is only a matter of time.
The thing that Soros is saying here is that any absolutist ideology can be abused in this manner. It doesn't matter if your ideology is based on the Bible, or the writings of Marx, or the writings of Adam Smith. If you have a nation of people who believe that their principals are beyond question, ultimately you have a totalitarianism. It is only a matter of time before the inconsistencies your absolutism forces you to ignore cause fissures which break your society down.
Reading this essay caused me to think back across many of the discussions that I've had on this site over the past two years. My instinct that Fukuyama's belief in an ultimate solution was flawed. Being able to see great tragedies of history reflected in the idea of pre-emptive military action and being unable to demonstrate that its not "ok" if you're doing it for Democracy. In our worries about the state of the IT industry. In my various discussions about politics with people from various perspectives.
I've had a really hard time deciding where I fit in the political spectrum. I know what the tests tell me, but somehow I'm never comfortable with the answers. When I talk to conservatives they think I'm a liberal. When I talk to liberals they thing I'm a conservative (or at the least that I've been duped by them). One thing I've come away from years and years of these conversations with is the idea that people usually intertwine their identity and their perspective. They are a certain thing. They believe that thing is right. So they think a certain way. The way they think defines what group they see themselves in, which defines who they are, and we repeat. After years they get quite locked into a c... [ Read More (0.2k in body) ]
The Capitalist Threat - George Soros