Reasonable tolerance
in The culture of toleration in diverse societies

Toleration was supported along two main lines of reasoning, although the ascendancy of arguments for religious tolerance can be traced to considerations of prudence and political realism from a more principled perspective. One was overtly sceptical and secularist, undermining the truth-content of religious beliefs and their relevance for social and political coexistence. The other was more subtly latitudinarian, questioning the control that we have on our own beliefs, and the self-defeating nature of imposing outward conformity on intractable inner convictions. Theoretical statements on toleration posit at the same time its necessity in democratic societies, and its impossibility as a coherent ideal. The success of 'zero tolerance' as a slogan for a less forgiving society bears witness to the diffusion of such a mood in public opinion.


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