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George Soros Quotes on Democracy: 7 Memorable Statements by Billionaire

By    |   Thursday, 14 May 2015 11:45 AM

Billionaire George Soros could be a lot richer. Instead, he has given away hundreds of thousands of dollars every year, much of it to promote democratic ideals.

A large part of Soros’ philanthropic effort has been through the Open Society Foundations, established by Soros in 1984. The foundations represent a philanthropic network spanning more than 50 countries. Their goal is to establish democratically elected governments that respect human rights, the rule of law, and market economies.

Vote Now:Do You Think George Soros Is Good or Evil?

As a Hungarian-Jewish immigrant who lived under fascists, Nazis, and Soviets in Europe, Soros has a strong commitment to democracy, both in the United States and elsewhere. Here are some of the things he’s had to say about it:

1. “The strength of this country lies in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights and the freedom of speech and thought.”
—Remarks at the University of Pennsylvania, April 8, 2002, quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer

2. “As an immigrant to the United States and a naturalized American citizen, I have deep sympathy for those who come to this country in search of a better life.”
—Remarks upon his donation of $250,000 to the Emma Lazarus Partnership of Southeastern Pennsylvania, aimed at helping immigrants and refugees after federal cuts to public assistance for legally resident noncitizens, quoted in the Philadelphia Daily News.

3. “The United States has been a democracy and open society since its founding. The idea that it will cease to be one seems preposterous; yet it is a very likely prospect.”
My Philanthropy by George Soros, The New York Review of Books

4. “The adoption of Orwellian techniques gave the Republican propaganda machine a competitive advantage in electoral politics.... Deliberately misleading propaganda techniques can destroy an open society. Nazi propaganda methods were powerful enough to destroy the Weimar Republic. Different but in some ways similar methods have been used in the United States and further refined. Although democracy has much deeper roots in America than in Germany, it is not immune to deliberate deception, as the Bush administration demonstrated.”
— From “My Philanthropy.”

5. “I think you should be concerned with the common good ... as a citizen. So, if you vote, you vote your best judgment of the common interest rather than, let’s say, pay off your representative to make him represent your interests. Then I think you’ll have a better-functioning democracy and then the political process will work better.”
Interview with Mark Schapiro and Gabrielle Kelly in 2000

6. “Democracy has to be built painstakingly and very slowly.”
To David Brancaccio on PBS in 2003

7. “I have made it a principle to pursue my self-interest in my business, subject to legal and ethical limitations, and to be guided by the public interest as a public intellectual and philanthropist. If the two are in conflict, the public interest ought to prevail. I do not hesitate to advocate policies that are in conflict with my business interests. I firmly believe that our democracy would function better if more people adopted this principle. And if they care about a well-functioning democracy, they ought to abide by this principle even if others do not. Just a small number of public-spirited figures could make a big difference.”
—From “My Philanthropy.”

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Billionaire George Soros could be a lot richer. Instead, he has given away hundreds of thousands of dollars every year, much of it to promote democratic ideals.
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Thursday, 14 May 2015 11:45 AM
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