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Don’t Shout at the Telly: Tolerance

54.20

Don't shout at the telly: Tolerance

Claire Fox, Director of the Institute of Ideas is the guest expert on this fascinating in depth, on the sofa discussion on tolerance. After the massacre in Norway, volunteers consider calls for clampdowns on Facebook, the English Defence League and bigoted views. Claire provides a compelling case for allowing the vilest views to be heard in order to challenge them. Outlining the emergence of tolerance as an Enlightenment idea in opposition to the inquisition and tyranny she explains its problematic and demeaning character today as expressed in multiculturalism, non-judgementalism and fashionable intolerance of intolerant groups and views. Not being able to hear, see and judge for ourselves degrades us all she explains and Mill’s ‘harm principle’ provides a useful understanding of the difference between ideas and implementation. Harm, she reminds us, has sadly been expanded to encompass how we subjectively feel, what we can eat, drink and do in our personal lives, justifying state interference, regulation and un-freedom – the opposite of tolerance.

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Related topics: Civil Liberties, Debates

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hilda said:

Tolerance is way of giving people freedom of expression of idea or personal view, but not necessarily agreeing with them. This is a way of allowing people to express their own views, but not to harm other people based on their ideas or views. More education on diversities will be ideal.

hilda said:

Tolerance is way of giving people freedom of expression of idea or personal view, but not necessarily agreeing with them. This is a way of allowing people to express their own views, but not to harm other people based on their ideas or views. More education on diversites will be ideal.

Torquil said:

Harry, this isn’t just about being civil. How do you guard against ‘extreme and ignorant views’ unless you elect to become a censor? You’ve missed the point about tolerance.

Harry said:

I think we are missing the point. Multiculturalism merely asserts that we don’t push our own views onto others as if there is one single idea to follow and it is ours. I can see how the kind of tolerance Claire talks about necessarily means we have to be open, to really listen in order to think how we reply but not all of us will take this civil approach and we need to actively guard against extreme and ignorant views.

Chloe said:

Embarrassing that the champions of tolerance was hundred of years ago. Let’s take the ideas and do better..

Evie said:

What this discussion made me realise is that by looking to government to mediate or in fact turning away from judging and arguing things out we don’t just lose the capacity to express ourselves but we aviod taking responsibility. That can only be a bad thing.

Will said:

Wasn’t sure I would get into this – a whole discussion on tolerance, but it was really good, made me think about what i assumed to be the right thing to do. We’re told not to judge, to respect, but actually respecting someone is assuming they are big enough for criticism.

Megan said:

Tolerance is really needed right now, but not the kind that on one hand tellls us off when we judge others negatively whilst on the other hand silencing who they don’t agree with by laws and more laws.

Randolph Ferry said:

Tolerance sounds better than ‘zero tolerance’ when applied to people we disagree with.
To promote intolerance sounds like the practised avoidance of political engagement with ideas that are different from one’s own. I’m with John Locke and John Stuart Mill on this question.

Sue Gentis said:

Nice point on challenging the intolerant of intolerance – which is widespread. Most people have a very different take on tolerance and mean banal respect for nothing in particular rather than the expansion of our capacity to criticise. I’m with Mill on this too.