The open society and its new enemies

Michael Esfeld

    LI-BRIEFING. If unconditionally secured fundamental rights are transformed into privileges, our freedom is abolished.

    Like after the Second World War, we face today once again a choice between freedom and totalitarianism, namely between an open society that recognizes every human being as a person unconditionally and a closed society that ties the granting of fundamental rights to certain conditions that are set by a ruling elite.

    Challenges such as the spread of the coronavirus or climate change are not entirely new in their quality and magnitude. Such challenges have always been mastered by open societies through spontaneous adaptation of behaviour and technological innovation.

    Leading personalities from science, politics and business, in conjunction with the mass media, make these challenges appear as existential crises for humanity in order to gain acceptance for sweeping the basic values of our society aside by means of deliberately fomented fear.

    Externalities that come with free actions are played out in such a way that ultimately every free action comes under suspicion of harming others. People can discharge themselves from this suspicion only by means of a vaccination, a sustainability or, in general, a social pass. The exercise of freedom is thus placed under conditions set by experts who claim to have moral, normative knowledge to rule society.

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    (11 pages, PDF)

    April 2021

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