6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A great and influential work,
This review is from: The Open Society and Its Enemies (Routledge Classics) (Paperback)
This book has been an inspiration to many, especially those who contributed to the overthrow of the totalitarian communist bloc in Eastern Europe established after the second world war. Popper contrasts 'open societies' based on democracy, where people are free and allowed to express criticism, with 'closed (or tribal) societies' which have rigid codes of ethics and politics, and ruling elites which are impossible to change without violence. With the growth of religious fundamentalist attitudes and forms of governments which is occurring today around the world, Popper's critique is as valuable now as it was when he wrote this book during the second world war. There are many countries where democracy is non-existent and a ruling elite brutally imposes a single uncriticisable government on its citizens. Popper correctly shows that these governments fear free thought and long for the tribal certainties which they do not want questioned.
Volume 1 is devoted to Plato. Popper translated Plato himself to avoid the usual translation euphemisms made by those unwilling to criticise Plato. In volume 2, Popper's view of Hegel as a charlatan is in line with the views of Schopenhauer. Popper exposes a passage of Hegel's supposed scientific writings as empty nonsense.
Most of volume 2 is devoted to Marx, a thinker who Popper admires but thinks is mistaken in his historicist prophesying analysis of history.
The phrase 'open society' has become a touchstone for those who value freedom and democracy.
A great book which should be widely known.
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Initial post: 13 Oct 2013 22:38:50 BDT
L. Horvat says:
Thank you for your review. I am not sure if this book is applicable today, when we know that democracy is totalitarianism in disguise. you vote, then you need to follow the orders. you can do a criticism, you can write stuff on the wall of a facebook and get out on the street and express your thoughts, but if you become dangerous, like Bradley Manning, totalitarian state will nail the knife in your throat. so I think this book is worthless, since it discuss things from the "black and white" point of view. correct me if I am wrong here. Thanks
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