Matt Welch: Don't Close the American Mind


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Free thought is necessary to improve or surpass flawed but dominant ideas; open minds are needed to embrace the results. It takes an open society, or at least an open subculture or two within it, to let once-radical visions compete in the marketplace of ideas. But too many activists are now emboldened by their newfound political power to compel obedience and hound heretics rather than continue their incredibly successful long-term efforts at persuasion.

Openness is also a condition of mind and a habit of discourse, writes Reason editor in chief Matt Welch. Abandoning it in the face of perceived ideological victory will create as yet unimagined self-inflicted defeats. If we want to keep "open-minded" as a compliment, we need to make sure we don't replace one set of intolerant laws with another.