By Ralf Dahrendorf
The essays assembled during this quantity are a considerate and energetic remark on Europe after the revolution of 1989. needs to revolutions fail? definitely, the open society has its personal difficulties, no longer least that of electorate looking for which means. the nice Society has to sq. the circle of prosperity, civility and liberty. Social technological know-how will help us comprehend what should be performed, and intellectuals have a accountability to start up and accompany switch. All this increases questions for Europe which expand a long way past the all too slender confines of the ecu Union.
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Extra info for After 1989: Morals, Revolution and Civil Society
I find it easy to agree with Walter Lippman in his critique of a vestedinterest notion of laissezjaire which simply does not care for those in need. But when it comes to morality, I should prefer to leave it to preachers and philosophers rather than governments, to friends and neighbours rather than a state-organized Befriender Service; it should ultimately be left to individuals. The institutions of the open society are convenient in view of human frailty; they allow the correction of errors without bloodshed; they are thus a pretty good invention of civilized humans.
Citizenship defines in practical, almost legal terms what all human beings have in common, in order to set people free to be different. The floor on which people stand in a society of citizens is common to all of them but the building in which they live has many storeys and apartments and nooks and crannies within them. This is, I believe, an exhilarating idea which defines an entire agenda for freedom. But then I have just confessed to what many would regard as a rather austere morality ofliving with conflict.
It is not London, nor is it a society in the larger sense. The other point is that people in the 'fairly large town' are nice both in themselves and to each other. Like Lippman's Norwegians they are 'near the Mean in the employment of all their faculties'. More than that, they are bent on improving themselves without wanting to do others down; they even accept minorities and newcomers happily as fellow citizens. Leaving doubts and irony on one side, there is a serious point to all this. It is that the good society has to offer more than the Great Society or even the Open Society.
After 1989: Morals, Revolution and Civil Society by Ralf Dahrendorf