Well, both Mr. Goldberg and Mr. Ponnuru, both of National Review (the latter a co-author of the original Exceptionalism essay, the former of National Review Online) have indicated clearly that they are not Mills’ men, and that it is unreasonable for me to treat them as such. Meanwhile, a long-time What’s Wrong with the World reader accuses me of the device of a straw man for that treatment.
Let me just say that no one is happier with my error than me. I welcome any and all who see the truth about Mills’ monomania, and join the defense of the partially-closed society. That, as Goldberg puts it, “Cella might be overreading the phrase ‘open society’” in the case of the authors of the NR essay, is a definite possibility.
Goldberg adds a brilliant point as well. The Declaration of Independence is itself a great and solemn act of closing questions. Who can question what is self-evident, after all?
He goes on, now really pressing it, “There cannot be a true open society where all questions are open questions because some questions will always be closed. What’s interesting is to ask which ones, because what is closed and what is open does change — a lot . . . In other words, where are the self-evident truths today?”
Now that is question worth keeping open. But part IV will not, I assure you, neglect to consider the Declaration of Independence.