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Has tolerance gone too far?

01.18.07

Has tolerance gone too far?

Do we confuse tolerance with democratic rights or respect and approval? Should we uphold the idea of tolerance while maintaining the right to criticise and judge? Is tolerating the vulgar, the offensive, the shocking, the price of liberty? Speakers on this esteemed international panel at the Battle of Ideas are: Christopher Caldwell, senior editor, Weekly Standard; author, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: immigration, Islam and the West; Frank Furedi, professor of sociology, University of Kent, Canterbury; author, On Tolerance: in defence of moral independence; Professor Anna Elisabetta Galeotti, chair of political philosophy, University of Piemonte Orienatale; author, Toleration as Recognition; GM Tamás, president, Green Left; author, Les Idoles de la Tribu

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Related topics: Civil Liberties, Debates, Democracy

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Hilda said:

The idea of tolerance which is discussed here is way of allowing people express their views without necessarily agreeing with them just as in this debate. This means persuading others to hear your point without forcing them. I think our society is more tolerant now than before and less tolerant in some case depending on the subject of concern. Accepting different views can also be interpreted as being scare to pass judgment on others which can lead to error. Tolerance, I think is personal

Randolph Ferry said:

This debates chimes with my experiences. I’ve noticed an illiberal turn to the views of those whom I considered to be ‘middle class liberals’ who have become, in recent times less tolerant of racists, misogynists, islamists and other “- ists” that they disagree with. So I think we have a kind of building crisis of middle class liberal-left morality. Most often the targets of their disapproval are the ‘working classes’, or at least some kind of parody of such, rather than the upper class, who used to be the target of their disapproval.

Max said:

This debate makes you realise how much we are told that tolerating people is seen now as just putting up with all, not really thinking about, which means just approving things we don’t necessarily agree with. Whereas actually tolerance is not a passive activity but something that should be about allowing all opinions and beliefs to surface and be discussed so we can judge them, be discerning, in order to get to the truth. Really liked how it turned on its head what I have been taught.