Paradox of tolerance
The tolerance paradox arises from a problem that a tolerant person might be antagonistic toward intolerance, hence intolerant of it. The tolerant individual would then be by definition intolerant of intolerance.
Michael Walzer asks "Should we tolerate the intolerant?" He notes that most minority religious groups who are the beneficiaries of tolerance are themselves intolerant, at least in some respects. In a tolerant regime, such people may learn to tolerate, or at least to behave "as if they possessed this virtue". Philosopher Karl Popper asserted, in The Open Society and Its Enemies Vol. 1, that we are warranted in refusing to tolerate intolerance. Philosopher John Rawls concludes in A Theory of Justice that a just society must tolerate the intolerant, for otherwise, the society would then itself be intolerant, and thus unjust. However, Rawls also insists, like Popper, that society has a reasonable right of self-preservation that supersedes the principle of tolerance: "While an intolerant sect does not itself have title to complain of intolerance, its freedom should be restricted only when the tolerant sincerely and with reason believe that their own security and that of the institutions of liberty are in danger."
In popular culture
In understanding homophily as people’s preference for interacting with those with similar traits, it seems clear that there is a close relationship between homophily and intolerance. This relation is manifested when a tolerant person is faced with the dilemma of choosing between establishing a positive relationship with a tolerant individual of a dissimilar group or establishing a positive relationship with an intolerant group member. In the first case, the intol- erant disapproves the established link, leading necessarily to a negative relationship with his or her equal. In the second case, the negative relationship toward the other- group individual is endorsed by the intolerant in-group member and promotes a positive relationship between them. This dilemma has been considered by Aguiar and Parravano to model a community of individuals whose relationships are governed by the rules of the so-called Heider balance theory, but modified to address the impact of tolerating intolerant individuals. To consider tolerance toward a different group, the elements are assigned one of the two flags, A or B, and the elements of each group can be tolerant or intolerant. Two additional parameters, p and q, respectively, char- acterize the propensity of elements to cooperate and the propensity of tolerants to reject intolerant attitudes. They find that (1) parameter q does not affect the degree of conflict at the micro level, but has an important influence on the degree of conflict in the whole system; (2) segregation into two cliques occurs whenever there exists intolerants in both groups; (3) when intolerants are present in only one of the groups, segregation can be avoided for appropriate combinations of parameters p and q that depend on the fraction of intolerants and the size of the groups; (4) as the size of the system increases, two balanced solutions dominate: segregation into two cliques or the isolation of intolerants; and (5) endemic partially balanced configurations are observed in large systems.
- Michael Walzer, On Toleration, (New Haven: Yale University Press 1997) pp. 80-81 ISBN 0-300-07600-2
- Rawls, John, (1971). A Theory of Justice. p. 220
- Aguiar, F.; Parravano (2013). "A.". Journal of Conflict Resolution. doi:10.1177/0022002713498708.
- Heider, F. (1946). Journal of Psychology 21: 107–12.
- Heider, F. (1958). The Psychology of Interpersonal Relations. New York: John Wiley.
- The Concept of Toleration and its Paradoxes, in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
- The Paradoxes of Tolerance,[dead link] Barbara Pasamonik in Social Studies, v95 n5 p206 Sep-Oct 2004.
- "Puzzles and Paradoxes of Tolerance", Hans Oberdiek, 2001.
- Tolerating the Intolerant, Michael Totten.
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