By Ralf Dahrendorf
The essays assembled during this quantity are a considerate and full of life statement 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 great Society has to sq. the circle of prosperity, civility and liberty. Social technology might help us comprehend what has to be performed, and intellectuals have a accountability to start up and accompany swap. All this increases questions for Europe which expand a ways past the all too slender confines of the eu Union.
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Additional resources for After 1989: Morals, Revolution and Civil Society
There are social problems. The first task is to study them thoroughly. The facts brought up by such investigations speak for themselves. They must, of course, be disseminated. The general public needs to be prepared for change, and even more importantly, experts need to be trained as agents of change. Such change is the responsibility of governments. The 37 38 After 1989 solution of social problems requires a concerted effort of men and women of know ledge and good will to create a machinery of improvement, including income transfers, public services, offices of planning and systems of implementation.
Lippman makes a powerful case, and he makes it in passionate language. I have no disagreement with this argument and much admiration for its counter-cyclical thrust at a time of totalitarian temptations. Yet neither the power nor the passion can detract from the gaps which remain. Walter Lippman's central point is that liberalism has to be freed from the errors of laissez-faire thinking. Liberalism is about rules, about the rule oflaw in the best and fullest sense. This has to be invoked to protect people not only from arbitrary dominion but also from vested interests, from cartels, and from distortions of the market by private power.
The flag and the constitution enter into a holy alliance with a remarkably secular religion which without being ecumenical manages to unite rather than divide. The British experience is more complicated. Edmund Burke's 'primeval contract of eternal society' made me think about it, as did the disdain with which he considered the revolution in France as if to say: who do they think they are, believing that they can create a democratic society? This Kirkpatrick strand of thinking is still very much alive, as the undertones of the debate 32 After 1989 about Britain and Europe show.
After 1989: Morals, Revolution and Civil Society by Ralf Dahrendorf