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Friday, April 07, 2006

The Paradox of Tolerance

Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. – In this formulation, 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 most unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself out­side the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.

- Sir Karl Popper, in relation to his remarks in his The Open Society about Plato’s Republic. Karl R. Popper, The Spell of Plato, Vol. I of The Open Society and its Enemies (New York: Harper Torchbooks/Harper & Row Publishers, 1963), footnote 4 to ch. 7, 265.

This is what Sir Karl was alluding to in his remarks:

"A short bus ride from Paris, a world capital of romance, teen-age girls trapped in soulless, Soviet-style housing complexes are too scared to wear skirts and balk at the idea of dating.
Imprisoned behind yellowed curtains that hang limply at windows, they stay indoors to avoid the jeers, bullying and the ominous risk of rape that lurks in dingy stairwells where gangs of boys of mostly North African origin hang out."

and this:

"Over half of all convicted rapists in Denmark are Muslims even though Muslim immigrants constitute hardly five percent of the Danish population. "

The American Melting pot has been replaced by multiculturalism to disasterous results. Don't believe me, take a look at the marchers in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. Hundreds of thousands of hypeneated Americans took to the streets of these American cities, flying the flag of a foreign government demanding that we reward their illegal behavior with citizenship - putting them ahead of the line of those who have worked hard to come here "the right way". Now I don't fully agree with my Republican counterparts on how to resolve this problem, but I do know that putting everyone who came here illegally 5 years ago, ahead of someone who did come here legally 10 years ago on the citizenship track is wrong! It is not fair to those who followed our laws.

Have we come to a point where we must tolerate all sorts of criminal/abhorrent behavior (rape and murder)? What comes next? Tolerating things like genital mutilation? When are we finally going to have the backbone to say "NO" to illegal behavior? When are we finally going to recognize that sometimes a little intolerance is the preferable alternative?


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