The Free Society is an Open Society

“He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither…” — Declaration of Independence “Mister Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” — Ronald Reagan, June 12, 1987 — In my previous essays between the election and the inauguration, I discussed how we got here, and how we didn’t, as well as what’s distinctively worrying about the new style of politics. In the first week of the new administration, it’s worth noting that we saw an outpouring of an identity-based...

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Authoritarianism and Post-Truth Politics

In response to the bizarre politics of 2016, the Oxford Dictionaries have selected as the word of the year “post-truth,” a term that highlights how far we’ve come in the eleven years since Stephen Colbert coined “truthiness” for his comedic coverage of the George W. Bush administration. “Truthiness” required that a claim felt true or seemed true; it connoted a concern with at least the appearance of validity that “post-truth” lacks. “Post-truth” is a declaration of baffled uncertainty about how contemporary politics and politicians relate to the facts of the world, with Donald Trump, the...

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