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Independent writer. Bylines in The National Interest, City Journal, Foundation for Economic Education, Law & Liberty, and other publications.
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In big and diverse countries, it is important that smaller units adapt their laws to the local peculiarities and specifics of the economic and public health situation. However, the problem stemming from the centralization of decision-making power is not limited to the inability of bureaucrats in a distant capital to understand the peculiarities of a local situation. It is that civil servants in centralized states deal with abstract and theoretical numbers rather than interact with real people; they are detached from reality.

Individuals, communities, and state governments make better decisions than bureaucrats in a distant capital thanks to local sensitivity.

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In the wake of the 2020 US election, there have been renewed calls to eliminate the electoral college and replace it with a national popular vote. The most common argument is that the uneven distribution of electoral votes among the states — based on the size of their delegations in the US Congress, composed of at least one representative and two senators, regardless of population — means that the candidate who receives the majority of the votes does not necessarily win the election.

According to its critics, the electoral college thus violates the fundamental principle of democracy — one person…

Pablo Pacheco (Unsplash)

While open societies strive to make the best use of the possibilities of man, totalitarian regimes aim to change human nature itself, so that it is possible to manipulate humans into accepting absurdities, logical contradictions, and double standards. By disabling human creativity and criticism, totalitarian movements can more easily gain power and control their subjects. …

Fabio (Unsplash)

The enemies of the open society often cite examples of the successes of authoritarian regimes as a proof of their superiority and an argument against liberal democracy. It is true that centralized regimes often succeed. Examples include the resurgence of the Soviet Union following the end of the Second World War (with the Soviet Union becoming the first nation to put a man into space and challenging the West’s economic, military, and ideological dominance), as well as China’s spectacular growth following Deng Xiaoping’s reforms.

However, the success of centralized regimes does not imply that dictatorships are preferable to free and…

C D-X (Unsplash)

At the heart of the idea of an open society lies the principle of fallibility. Fallibility implies that individual knowledge of reality is provisional and incomplete. Humans are incapable of measuring and analyzing the entirety of the world. As a result, we resort to the use of mental shortcuts and theoretical constructs.

Constructs are models, but no model is a perfect reflection of the underlying reality. Maps, for instance, are used to navigate across the territory, but they do not reflect the territory as it is. …

Katie Moum, Unsplash

Reflexivity refers to our ability to change reality as our knowledge of the world increases. A typical example of this phenomenon is Karl Marx’s prediction of communist revolution. His forecast of the eventual collapse of the capitalist system and the proletariat revolution affected reality: Western governments undertook steps that improved the living conditions of the working class, hence eliminating potential sources of discontent.

Reflexivity is what distinguishes social disciplines from natural sciences. Denying reflexivity, as totalitarian ideologies like Marxism do, puts social doctrines on the same level as natural laws, undeniable, immutable, and eternal, like the Marxist belief in class…

photo by Simon Zhu @smnzhu

We are in the midst of a democratic recession. According to Freedom House’s latest report, for the 15th consecutive year, the number of democracies is declining. More worryingly, the pace of this change has accelerated to a record pace: in 2020, 73 countries became less democratic, while only 28 moved away from autocracy.

The liberal democratic model of governance, threatened by the rising influence of authoritarian regimes abroad and acute social challenges at home, is losing its appeal. In the United States, the January 6 storming of the Capitol, the raging coronavirus pandemic, an economic crisis, toxic culture wars —…

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One argument in favor of the imposition of constraints on the ability of some individuals to disseminate their speech is that our discourse would benefit from having fewer conspiracy theories, false information, and irrational beliefs in general. This is why, for example, Twitter has been regularly flagging Donald Trump’s tweets that falsely asserted election fraud, adding labels like “Official sources have called this election differently” and “Get the facts about mail-in ballots.”

Arguing that some speech can inspire actions that could potentially lead to violence, Twitter ended up suspending Trump’s Twitter account altogether. This followed the deadly storming of…

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In the last four years, America has experienced the early stages of democratic backsliding. Like the authoritarians in Hungary, Poland, Turkey, India and other countries that used to be democracies, President Donald Trump has flouted both formal and informal restrictions on executive authority and used the power of the state to his advantage. While the traditions of the rule of law, division of power and checks and balances are more deeply embedded in the United States than in perhaps any other country, these ideals do not seem as unshakeable or well established as they were four years ago.

Donald Trump…

Mohamed_hassan (Pixabay)

A typical defense of the freedom of speech focuses on the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to the pursuit and acquisition of truth. We need other people to tell us when we are wrong by criticizing our ideas, since the quest for truth is a self-correcting process based on learning from trial and the gradual elimination of error, a process of collective discovery based on the recognition of individual fallibility — something which is impossible when there is no freedom of expression. …

Sukhayl Niyazov

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