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The Open Society

Those who uphold and value principles such as freedom of belief and conscience should logically uphold also the autonomy of the individual and the ideal of the open society, with its wholehearted acceptance of the multiplicity of views and fundamental approaches to life. The open society is opposed (as argued more than half a century ago by Karl Popper) to both historicist ideas of social determinism and totalitarian ideas of individual subordination to a ruling orthodoxy.

It is a defining feature of the open society both that its members and its institutions respect individual freedom of belief and speech and that government and official bodies maintain a disinterested impartiality towards the many groups within society so long as they conform to the minimum conventions of the society.

The government of such a society should not offer privileges to religious or other groups. Nor should they seek them but rely instead on the persuasiveness of their arguments and the attractiveness of their position to win support, all the while recognising and respecting the deep commitment of other people to beliefs they do not share.