Monday, December 30, 2019

The Paradox of Tolerance

I came across this on twiter, but they didn't say who the quote was from.

"The paradox of tolerance states that if a society is tolerant without limit, its ability to be tolerant is eventually seized or destroyed by the intolerant" - "In order to maintain a tolerant society, the society must be intolerant of intolerance."


Matt Franko said...

Textbook Platonism 101....

Ralph Musgrave said...

“Tolerance and apathy are the last virtues of a dying society” – Aristotle.

Karl Poper: “Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant. . . .then the tolerant will be destroyed…”

Matt Franko said...

"we had to bomb the village in order to save the village..."

Marian Ruccius said...

The first time I have ever cribbed from a Libertarian website (, but it bears reading:

"As stated here, and not altogether fairly, the paradox runs:

A tolerant society should be tolerant by default,
With one exception: it should not tolerate intolerance itself.

But Popper never believed anything like this. Rather, he wrote:

I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise.

This is no warrant here for laws against hate speech. On the contrary, Popper appears to have called such laws “unwise.”

To Popper, intolerance is not to be deployed when the utterance of intolerant ideas might make you uncomfortable, or when those ideas seem impolite, or when they get you really mad. Intolerance – if that’s the right word for it – is only warranted when we are already facing “fists and pistols,” or, presumably, worse."

Kaivey said...

That makes sense.

jrbarch said...

There is something fundamental to understand here.

It doesn’t matter how large a room is, completely sealed off from light: - bring in one little candle and everything becomes obvious (to the extent of its light).

Darkness is not a presence; light is the Presence.

Darkness is an absence of light; not a presence. Hate is the absence of love; ignorance is the absence of knowledge; intolerance is the absence of tolerance; ego is the absence of the true human self. Kindness is a presence of the heart. We need to know what the power of a presence is; and what it means when it is absent. Understand why it is absent. Is our candle lit or unlit?

Here is the magic: - an unlit candle cannot light another unlit candle. But a lit candle can certainly light an unlit candle.

Tolerance cannot be destroyed by intolerance. An absence has no power over a presence. Light cannot be destroyed by darkness. Knowledge cannot be destroyed by ignorance. ”What darkness” said the Sun - ”everywhere I go, all I see is light!”. We do not understand the power of a presence.

But still, we choose.

The same leptons, quarks and force carriers make up every human being. We choose. Light does not struggle with darkness.

A tolerant society in one in which the candles are lit; the heart is alive. ‘The King was good and the people were happy’. Without that, everyone is squabbling in a darkened room, over nothing...

Bob said...

"Rule of law" doesn't sound like an excess of tolerance to me. Same goes for peer pressure, social conformity, and role models.

Any Calvinists in the house?

Matt Franko said...

Yo They don’t enforce the laws Bob,,..

“Humphrey Hawkins Full Employment Act” codified in law what do we get?


We need to euthanize all the libertarians... they need to disappear...