Rethinking Open Society - Event Reports

Trust, Belonging, Duty Necessary for Sustaining Free Society, Scruton Says

Trust and a sense of belonging, as well as an emphasis on duty in addition to rights, are key to preserving the freedoms of democratic society, according to writer and philosopher Sir Roger Scruton, speaking at CEU November 16 as part of the Rethinking Open Society series. Scruton, whose lecture was entitled “Liberalism and Loyalty,” is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington and a contributing editor to The New Atlantis.

Simple Rules, Transparency Key to Reducing Corruption, Says Mungiu-Pippidi

October 30, 2017

Low levels of regulation, minimal government intervention, and transparency are essential to reducing corruption, but can only be effective in a society where an independent media and judiciary can empower active citizenship, said Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, who chairs the European Research Centre for Anticorruption and State-Building (ERCAS) at Hertie School of Governance.​ Mungiu-Pippidi delivered her lecture as part of the Rethinking Open Society series at CEU on October 10.

Constitutionalism’s Imperfections Contribute to the Closing of Open Societies, Sajo Says

Constitutionalism is an unfinished and imperfect project that can be manipulated to contribute to the closing of minds and societies, according to CEU University Professor Andras Sajo, who founded the Department of Legal Studies at CEU and served as a judge at the European Court of Human Rights for a decade. Sajo spoke as part of the Rethinking Open Society lecture series at CEU hosted by President and Rector Michael Ignatieff on October 17, delivering a lecture entitled “Constitutionalism in Closing Societies.”

An Open Society Should Permit Critique of Religion, Says Tim Crane

October 13, 2017

What we should respect are not views, but the people who hold the views, said CEU Philosophy Professor Tim Crane, while discussing his book “The Meaning of Belief” as part of the Rethinking Open Society series on Oct. 3. He also stated that New Atheist critique of religion misses what is central to these world views.

Ordinary Virtues Help Create Moral Order, Promote Open Society, Ignatieff Says

CEU President and Rector Michael Ignatieff opened the second season of CEU’s Rethinking Open Society series September 18 with a talk based on his latest book, “The Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World,” published by Harvard University Press the same day. Tolerance, forgiveness, trust, and resilience are essential for a free and open society, but these ordinary virtues can conflict with universalist human rights, Ignatieff said.

Technology Has Shrunken Geography, Altering Regional Dynamics, Kaplan Says

The world is more anxious, more claustrophobic and more interconnected than ever, said Robert D. Kaplan, author and senior advisor of the Eurasia Group, speaking at CEU May 31 as part of the Rethinking Open Society series. Altering regional dynamics as a result, Kaplan said.

Benner on the Dangers of Demagoguery

When it comes to politics, talk is not cheap, said Erica Benner, a fellow at CEU's Institute for Advanced Study and at Yale's Department of Political Science. “It's a mistake to think that political communications don't matter. Speech matters,” Benner said at her May 25 lecture “Beyond Demagoguery?

Liberal Democracy Should Prevail if We Are Honest, Patient, and Realistic, Walt Says

Liberal democracy has been more successful than other types of government by many measures, meaning it should prevail, according to Stephen Walt, professor of international affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, speaking at CEU at a President’s Seminar May 29, part of the Rethinking Open Society series. Walt, known as a realist, outlined the recent failures related to liberal democracy and open society, and listed a set of remedies.

The Clash Between Hierarchies and Networks Shapes History, Ferguson Says

History is characterized by the clash of hierarchies and networks, said Niall Ferguson, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the Center for European Studies at Harvard University, speaking at CEU on May 22 as part of the Rethinking Open Society series. Hierarchies are vertical systems, while the “network” stands for the horizontal, interpersonal connections organically forming in societies. The hierarchy is now globally challenged by the network, but it’s too early to say which one will dominate, Ferguson said.

Democracy Can Be Effective Even with Poorly Informed Voters, Christiano Says

Democracy effectively creates successful economies and societies, even though the average voter is not well-informed about the issues, because of the mechanisms of the economics of information, according to Tom Christiano, professor of philosophy and law at the University of Arizona, who spoke at CEU April 13 at a President’s Seminar, part of the Rethinking Open Society series.