Advocates of a free society embraced this as a fulfillment of Alexis de Tocqueville’s vision of a healthy organic social system solving its problems from the grassroots. “In democratic countries, the science of association is the mother science,” Tocqueville wrote in Democracy in America, his narrative of American exceptionalism.
Tocqueville noted that society needs more of these voluntary organizations as the artificial privileges enjoyed, e.g., by Communist Party members in Eastern Europe, disappear. “In order that men remain civilized or become so, the art of associating must be developed and perfected among them in the same ratio as equality of conditions increases.” Civil society is imperative for the preservation of political freedom.
Unfortunately, George Soros’ politically motivated giving aims at increasing state power at the expense of grassroots, or religious, organizations. Soros’ progressive agenda is inimical to everything that Alexis de Tocqueville admired about America: the flourishing of traditional families, the free establishment of churches, the existence of Bible study groups and book clubs, and the encouragement of self-restraint in social settings. The tone and the language used by activists funded by Soros is always incendiary, calling for a revolutionary action.
Oftentimes, the radical ideologues favoured by the Open Society Foundation subvert or divert religious organizations from their high purpose. If there is a Catholic organization that they want to align with Soros’ progressive agenda, they would initially broaden the scope of its mission, soften the pastoral language of its spiritual leaders, and shift the focus of Christian theology from the pursuit of heavenly blessings to entirely earthly matters like income inequality, social justice, or global warming. This gradual transition of Christian civil society organizations, from diversion to subversion, has proven effective. By following the model of Saul Alinsky, the heresiarch of community organizers in Chicago, countless activists from across the globe engage in street mobilization. This astroturf seeks to replace imperfect but legitimate conservative governments with leftist politicians and bureaucrats whose policies will further erode the voluntary sector.
In the past decade, this has taken place in the Balkans under the eyes of the Obama administration – and at U.S. taxpayer expense. In Macedonia alone, since 2012, USAID has provided millions of taxpayer dollars to “civil society” NGOs, which almost exclusively consisted of progressive groups and organizations. In Skopje, these activists supported the policies of the Social Democratic Union (formerly the League of Communists of Macedonia). Journalists funded by the Open Society Foundation-Macedonia also expressed a favourable view towards Angela Merkel’s position towards the refugees coming from the Middle East, through the Balkans, to Western Europe. President Gjorge Ivanov, in turn, came under heavy fire once he denounced open borders policies.