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A blog dedicated to the Source of everything good.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

True Tolerance: a review

John Holzmann has posted an interesting review of J. Budziszewski's book, "True Tolerance: Liberalism and the Necessity of Judgment," on his blog, John's Corner of the World. The book concerns itself with distinctions between definitions of the term "tolerance." It's worth a read.

Here's an excerpt:

So what does Budziszewski have to say about tolerance?

First, that the leaders in the modern movement of “toleration” or “tolerance” are, in essence, demanding ethical neutrality and/or “indifference about what is lovable or praiseworthy.” And, second, that ultimately it is impossible to avoid making choices—decisions—based upon what one deems lovable or praiseworthy. Put another way, the modern demand for tolerance (in the sense of ethical neutrality) is, by its own definition, intolerant because it is neither ethically neutral nor indifferent. It says that at least one thing (tolerance) must be valued.

It seems to me that moral relativists' interpretation of "tolerance" shares similar characteristics to their definition of morality itself.

Budziszewski closes his book with a series of 39 “Counsels of Tolerance.” The following few particularly caught my eye:

2. Although diversity is not a good in itself, the good is diverse.

5. Part of true tolerance is remembering at all times that one is an object of tolerance to others. One should sometimes even deny oneself things that are innocent in themselves if others cannot bear them.

7. While avoiding connivance at the wrongs or faults of others, one must avoid the even greater monstrosity of moral pride. If you avoid me because of what I do, do it because you are not good enough to be with a man as bad as me; not because you are too good.

18. Contempt travels easily under the mask of tolerance. To accept the unacceptable is to tell a child that nothing about him matters.

22. Teachers should present not only the ideals of their own tradition, but also the ideals of the significant alternatives to it—including the traditions against which their own is in part a reaction.

26. If any person proposes a policy, he shows his tolerance for others by honoring their demand to know on what understanding of the good his proposal rests.

29. Expressive tolerance must be observed not only by individuals, but also by the state. Thus, discursive reasoning and the communication of information that republican citizens might need in order to carry out their constitutional responsibilities should be granted absolute protection.

33. Government should be prohibited from coercive enforcement of belief in an officially approved ultimate concern.

34. Government should be prohibited from coercive enforcement of outward acts of affirmation of such belief.

35. Government should be prohibited from coercive enforcement of outward acts for the support of an organization officially designated for promulgating these beliefs.

39. A sincere petition by the state for the blessing of whatever God may be thought to exist is not a violation of true tolerance. However, the state may not “use” religion as a Noble Lie for its own ends. (pp. 269-276)

In other words, if everyone practiced "gentlemanly" or "gentlewomanly" behavior, this whole tolerance thing would take care of itself!


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