Tolerance of intolerance is a paradox whereby tolerance may produce intolerance by not standing up to it. This has two important variations:
Free SpeechFree speech is tolerance of speech with which you strongly disagree. Part of the process of defeating intolerance is allowing the intolerant to talk so that you can know what they are thinking and can argue with them. People think intolerant thoughts all the time and the idea of banning these ideas according to some official view of what is right or wrong is arguably more intolerant than intolerance itself.
Systems & ActionsTolerance of intolerant speech is very different from tolerance of intolerant systems and actions. If a cat lover says that all dog lovers are dumb, that is their opinion. If the cat lover is a judge who gives harsher sentences to people who own a dog, that is intolerance that negatively impacts people's lives and may not be tolerated by a tolerant society. Tolerance of intolerant systems and actions is arguably akin to being intolerant yourself. This is all very paradoxical.
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ReferencesPopper, Karl. The open society and its enemies. Routledge, 2012.Walzer, Michael. On Toleration (Castle Lectures in Ethics, Politics, and Economics). Yale University Press, 1997.Smolla, Rodney A. Free speech in an open society. New York: Knopf, 1992.Sunstein, Cass. "Democracy and the problem of free speech." Publishing Research Quarterly 11.4 (1995): 58-72.
Rational thought is often somewhat logical but includes factors such as emotion, imagination, culture, language and social conventions.
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