POLI: Soros

Reilly Jones (Reilly@compuserve.com)
Tue, 25 Feb 1997 17:24:33 -0500

Sasha wrote 2/25/97 about Soros: <I read about half of his book, and found
his philosophy as unimpressive as his market knowledge was sophisticated.
I don't know that much about him though. Recently, I read an excellent
review of Soros's ideas and activities, and problems of his organization in
Telepolis - <http://www.heise.de/tp/tp.html>>

I am in agreement with your assessment of his philosophy. A friend
recently sent me a critique of his self-contradictory philosophy, and I
will forward it here:


"George Soros, Positivist in a Poke"
by Carl Jahnes 2/2/97

Now comes George Soros, investor extrordinaire, with his view on "The
Capitalist Threat" in the February '97 issue of "The Atlantic".

Soros says that when a "system" seeks to become "absolute truth," it then
feels that it must compel those who don't buy into its postulates... it
feels it must compel them to "be free," or to do the actions it defines are
in everyones' best interests... it must force them to do the acts it
defines as the good life. He rather says that we must come to a belief in
the fallibility of ALL systems (and I think he is talking about political
"ideologies"). He says (and all quoted lines are from the article, pp. 55
& 58):

"All cultures and religions offer such standards (criteria of truth); the
open society cannot do without them. The innovation in an open society is
that whereas most cultures and religions regard their own values as
absolute, an open society, which is aware of many cultures and religions,
must regard its own shared values as a matter of debate and choice."

Soros is falling for the old siren song of Positivism. He refuses to see
his own axiom which he places 'beyond' the "...matter of debate and
choice," and that is, that "An Open Society is the type of society we
should have." Or to state it another way, "An Open Society is the Best
Society." He does not see that he must place this 'beyond' debate, in
order to maintain the conditions FOR debate, which allows Openness of
debate to prevail! Continuing...

"To make the debate possible, there must be general agreement on at least
one point: that an open society is a desirable form of social organization.
People must be free to think and act, subject only to limits imposed by
the common interests."

But aren't "common interests" debated in an "open society"?

"The D of I may be taken as a pretty good approximation of the principles
of an open society, but instead of claiming that those principles are
self-evident, we ought to say that they are consistent with our
fallibility. 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."

There are problems with this analysis. If our "axiom," that "An Open
Society is Best," proceeds from us, then it is a product of our
"fallibility." Later, (and I'll quote it) Soros betrays his

"But if ultimate truth is not attainable, how can we accept our
fallibility as ultimate truth?

"This is an apparent paradox, but it can be resolved. The first
proposition, that our understanding is imperfect, is consistent with the
second proposition; that we must accept the first proposition as an article
of faith."


"The need for articles of faith arises exactly because our understanding
is imperfect. If we enjoyed perfect knowledge, there would be no need for
beliefs. But to accept this line of reasoning requires a profound change
in the role that we accord our beliefs."

"Historically, beliefs have served to justify rules of conduct.
Fallibility ought to foster a different attitude. Beliefs ought to shape
our lives, not to make us abide by a given set of rules."

This is so convoluted that I have to stop. Soros' reasoning is not
penetrating the wet paper bag he's in! To say, "if we enjoyed perfect
knowledge, there would be no need for beliefs," is ridiculous. I believe
that 2 + 2 = 4, because it is true that 2 + 2 = 4. Soros is thinking that
in a perfect world, there would be no "freedom" to choose falsehood, rather
than the truth. This itself, is a "belief," and is an axiom he has placed
in front of his so-called reasoning which is beyond "...debate and choice."

He also says, "...Beliefs have served to justify rules of conduct" and that
"Beliefs ought to shape our lives, not to make us abide by a given set of
rules." Well, if our lives have "shape" and have "form," if they are
ordered according to the axiomatic faith that "An Open Society is Best,"
then our conduct which serves to support the existence of this "shape of
life" could be abstracted into "rules." For there would be some
"character" to our lives, which we call "shape," which could be described
so that we understand what this shape "is." Like describing the "shape" of
a table to understand why it is not "a wheel." And so, if beliefs "shape"
our lives, the acts which make up this shape, in that they conform to the
axiom which asserts what the "good shape" of society "is," are "rules."
Let Soros continue to thrash...

"If we recognize that our beliefs are expressions of our choices, not of
ultimate truth, we are more likely to tolerate other beliefs and revise
our own in the light of our experiences. But that is not how most people
treat their beliefs. They tend to identify their beliefs with ultimate
truth. Indeed, that identification often serves to define their own
identity. If their experience of living in an open society obliges them to
gvie up their claim to ultimate truth, they feel a sense of loss."

Well, it *would* be a loss, because to accept the axiom that "An Open
Society Is Best," is the same sort of faith - belief - that a religious
person exercises in HIS object of faith. Soros is trying to make "the Open
Society" self-evident in the way Positivists do, by assuming its truth and
not recognizing that this "truth" is an assumption which must, if it is to
find "form" and "shape" in lives, must be identified AS a subset of
"Ultimate Truth," and must be protected by an Institution, which PUTS its
ultimate truth beyond debate.

Soros thinks that if we accept our "fallibility" on faith, then this can
"ground" the Open Society, can "protect" it magically, because by placing
our relentless urge to find where Truth is Unified, where it is Ultimate,
beyond debate, it must logically follow that Society Must Be Open To All
Opinions, To All Debate, To All Choice. But this is fallacious. If we are
'fallible,' then the axiom that "Society Must Be Open... blah, blah" is
ALSO fallible, and does not necessarily follow any less than its opposite,
"Society Must Be Closed....blah, blah." Let me just keep typing Soros, so
you get the gist...

"The idea that we somehow embody the ultimate truth..."

Why "embody"? All we were doing before was "believing" it!

"is deeply ingrained in our thinking. We may be endowed with critical
faculties, but we are inseparably tied to ourselves. We may have
discovered truth and morality, but, above all, we must represent our
interests and our selves. Therefore, if there are such things as truth and

Remember, in an "Open Society," the existence of truth and justice are
matters of debate and choice...

"and we have come to believe that there are - then we want to be in
possession of them. We demand truth from religion, and recently, from
science. A belief in our fallibility is a poor substitute. It is a highly
sophisticated concept, much more difficult to work with than more primitive
beliefs, such as my country (or my company or my family) right or wrong."

"If the idea of our fallibility is so hard to take, what makes it so
appealing? The most powerful argument in its favor is to be found in the
results it produces."

Here's the Utilitarianism.

"Open societies tend to be more prosperous, more innovative, more
stimulating than closed ones. But there is a danger in proposing success
as the sole basis for holding a belief, because if my theory of reflexivity
is valid...."

He's defined "reflexivity" as "feedback which helps create course
corrections." The Open Society allows this to happen, of course!

"being successful is not identical with being right. In natural science,
theories have to be right... for them to work.... But in the social sphere
what is effective is not necessarily identical with what is right, because
of the reflexive connection between thinking and reality. As I hinted
earlier, the cult of success can become a source of instability in an open
society, because it can undermine our sense of right and wrong."

Apparently there is "much more" which is a matter of "belief" in this Open
Society (right and wrong).

"That is what is happening in our society today. Our sense of right and
wrong is endangered by our preoccupation with success, as measured by
money. Anything goes, as long as you can get away with it."

Skipping a paragraph, and continuing...

"The concept of the open society needs to be more firmly grounded. There
has to be a commitment to the open society because it is the right form of
social organization. Such a commitment is hard to come by."

INDEED! For, according to Soros, it "must" be what it cannot be,
Ultimately True that the Open Society is Best! Soros is left to his own
feeble "belief statements," as we see, continuing...

"I believe in the open society because it allows us to develop our
potential better than a social system that claims to be in the possession
of ultimate truth."

Yawning contradiction!

"...Accepting the unattainable character of truth offers a better
prospect for freedom and prosperity than denying it. But I recognize a
problem here; I am sufficiently committed to the pursuit of truth to find
the case for the open society convincing, but I am not sure that other
people will share my point of view. Given the reflexive connection between
thinking and reality, truth is not indispensable for success. It may be
possible to attain specific objectives by twisting or denying the truth,
and people may be more interested in obtaining their specific objectives
than in attaining truth. Only at the highest level of abstraction, when we
consider the whole meaning of life, does truth take on paramount

Yawning blind spot. If it is not 'true' that *Open Society Is Best*, and
if there does not exist an Institution to protect and defend this Truth, to
put it "beyond debate," "beyond choice," "beyond attack," then, one can
"choose" the closed society, and that "choice" is just as valid as its

"Even then, deception may be preferable to the truth, because life
entails death and death is difficult to accept. Indeed, one could argue
that the open society is the best form of society for making the most of
life, whereas the closed society is the form best suited to the acceptance
of death. In the ultimate analysis a belief in an open society is a matter
of choice, not of logical necessity!"

O Yawning Blind Spot!

"That is not all. Even if the concept of the open society were
universally accepted, that would not be sufficient to ensure that freedom
and prosperity would prevail. The open society merely provides a framework
within which different views about social and political issues can be
reconciled; it does not offer a firm view on social goals. If it did, it
would not be an open society."

Yawning contradiction! "If an Open Society does not allow for the "choice"
to be made which would transform this Open Society into a Closed Society,
then it is Not An Open Society."

"This means that people must hold other beliefs in addition to their
belief in the open society. Only in a closed society does the concept of
an open society provide a sufficient basis for political action; in an open
society it is not enough to be a democrat; one must be a liberal democrat
of a social democrat or a Christian democrat or some other kind of
democrat. A shared belief in the open society is a necessary but not
sufficient condition for freedom and prosperity and all the good things
that the open society is supposed to bring."

Yes, "...necessary, but not sufficient condition," the *necessary and
sufficient* condition is the reasoning which "proves" that it is True that
the Open Society is Best, such that it can be "defended."

"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 upon a 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 we
should not strive for it. In science also, ultimate truth is

Soros can't see his own contradictions. Would he call it a "blueprint" for
the Open Society to be defended from becoming a Closed Society by the very
conditions of "debate" and "choice" it allows? Would he call it a
"blueprint" for the Open Society to be grounded in an article of "faith"
that "We are Fallible"? If we feel we are fallible, then, it supposedly
stands to reason that debate should never be closed off, in the sense that
its products become Ultimate Truth... but then, wouldn't the statement that
"We are Fallible" ITSELF be fallible? Why should it be believed over any
other statement?

The Open Society *itself* is an article of faith. My opinion is that the
Open Society is a Product of Christendom. Why? The answer is theological,
and reasonable. If God does not "force" us to believe in Him, if He gives
us freedom, TRUE freedom to accept Him or reject Him, then we should accord
no less freedom to our neighbor than He does. If this is "truth" inherent
in Reality, because God intended it to be this way, then it is a matter of
"virtue" that we preserve the kind of social conditions in which this
Freedom can take "shape," and can "be real." Therefore, it is Good that
the Open Society Exist, and that it continue to exist when choices are made
to 'close' it. For no man knows the mind of God, and if you buy what God
says about you and me, our fallibility ALSO is established, and so Openness
serves as a "defense" against our falliblity. And, there must be an
Institution which can "defend" and "fight for" this Openness, when choices
are made, in the name of Openness, to Close it off.

Yours in laying bare attacks on Western Civilization, Carl.


P.S. For my own part, I see Soros as having bought into the nonsensical
political correctness slowly poisoning our academic institutions of higher
learning; Allan Bloom's phrase springs to mind, "openness to closedness."
The Open Society is defenseless to those who would openly choose to close
it, the monoculturalists who masquerade as multiculturalists. The one
culture that prevails in an undefended Open Society of Soros' fantasy, is
the culture of death.