The Open Society
There are five key components of an open society:
- A constitution that enshrines the rule of law, individual rights and freedoms, and the separation of powers
- Transparency and accountability, without which governments abuse their power and compromise the freedoms enshrined in the constitution.
- Security of person and property
- An independent and free-thinking civil society, including a free and independent media and a free and independent political opposition that is loyal to the constitutional order
- A general tolerance of difference on the part of the population
- An economy that is characterized primarily by the free choices of individuals
The two key ideas that unite these five components are the related ideas of individual freedom and the limitation of state power. They are related because an extension of state power necessitates a limitation of individual freedom and vice versa. In other words, an open society is one in which individuals are free to be themselves and pursue their own ends, and in which both the law and the attitudes of the population provide the space for them so to be.
In protecting and promoting an open society in South Africa, the Democratic Alliance must identify and oppose attempts to limit the space for individual freedom and actively promote the extension of such space.