, sovereignty could be challenged, whether through R2P, the
demands of the ICC, universal jurisdiction, human rights, the Genocide Convention, crimes
against humanity and so on. What made this possible was the lack of a state capable of
challenging the US, which was explicitly committed in principle to economic and politicalliberalism (even as it found ways to exempt itself from the impact of those rules). And even
where intervention did not occur, and the US explicitly rejected norms around rights and
intervention, the space opened for a small army
The idea of toleration as the appropriate response to difference has been central to liberal thought since Locke. Although the subject has been widely and variously explored, there has been reluctance to acknowledge the new meaning that current debates offer on toleration. This book starts from a clear recognition of the new terms of the debate, reflecting the capacity of seeing the other's viewpoint, and the limited extent to which toleration can be granted. Theoretical statements on toleration posit at the same time its necessity in democratic societies, and its impossibility as a coherent ideal. There are several possible objections to, and ways of developing the ideal of, reasonable tolerance as advocated by John Rawls and by some other supporters of political liberalism. The first part of the book explores some of them. In some real-life conflicts, it is unclear on whom the burden of reasonableness may fall. This part discusses the reasonableness of pluralism, and general concept and various more specific conceptions of toleration. The forces of progressive politics have been divided into two camps: redistribution and recognition. The second part of the book is an attempt to explore the internal coherence of such a transformation when applied to different contexts. It argues that openness to others in discourse, and their treatment as free and equal, is part of a kind of reflexive toleration that pertains to public communication in the deliberative context. Social ethos, religious discrimination and education are discussed in connection with tolerance.
basic liberty in his more recent book
PoliticalLiberalism . 28 But he accepts that freedom of occupation can be secured
without the principle of fair equality of opportunity being satisfied. 29 Freedom of occupation,
when it is conceived as a negative liberty in Rawls’s preferred way,
in effect as the absence of state-directed labour, does not seem to require
equal chances of success for the similarly endowed and motivated. (Nor does
Barry claims that what follows is scepticism, understood as doubt rather
than denial.5 Since we cannot persuade others of the truth of our own conception of the good, we must hold that conception with some doubt, and
doubt is all that is necessary in order to generate (moderate) scepticism.
Rawls, however, resists this conclusion because he believes that politicalliberalism ought, so far as possible, to stand back from questions of the
highest good and from metaphysical and philosophical questions generally.
In a society characterised by reasonable pluralism
, that it may carry too little conviction to motivate in real life, for it appears to entail a counterintuitive
conception of people’s commitment to their own beliefs and values, suggesting that they hold their beliefs, and commit to their values, in a provisional way.
As a move away from merely prudential or deeply sceptical justifications
of toleration, contemporary philosophers subscribing to some form of politicalliberalism have argued that the justification of political principles must
proceed according to the ideal of public reason.9 Broadly stated, this ideal
, ‘Pluralism and Liberalism: A Reply’, Political Studies, 42:2 (1994)
See Berlin, ‘Two Concepts of Liberty’.
J. Rawls, PoliticalLiberalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993),
J. Rawls, ‘The idea of public reason revisited’, in S. Freeman (ed.), John Rawls:
Collected Papers (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), p. 577.
See B. Herman, ‘Pluralism and the community of moral judgement’, in D. Heyd
(ed.), Toleration: An Elusive Virtue (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press,
1996), pp. 81–105.
Rawls, ‘The idea of public reason revisited’, p
formulation just quoted referred
not only to compossibility and maximisation but also to the idea of ‘a
similar liberty for others’.8 In PoliticalLiberalism, the equality constraint
Toleration and reasonableness
is more prominent: ‘Each person has an equal claim to a fully adequate
scheme of equal basic rights and liberties, which scheme is compatible with
the same scheme for all.’9
Equality here may be understood in two ways. It might mean that the
liberties must be the same for everyone: if P has a right to do X, then everyone in
Dewey was adamant that the entire meaning of liberalism and liberty
must now be reconstructed to help facilitate creative democracy and
the habits of social intelligence in the midst of the Great Society. To this
end, Dewey recovered what he called the ‘formula of early democratic
politicalliberalism’ that located the relationship between equality and
liberty and recognized the historical relativity associated with obtaining
this goal. This conception of democratic liberty, which in the hands of
Dewey was another name for the democratic way of life, viewed that
Rawls, Theory of Justice , pp. 140–1,
J. Rawls, PoliticalLiberalism (New York,
Columbia University Press, 1993), p. 49.
Rawls, PoliticalLiberalism , p. 49, n. 2.
Scanlon’s current position (which is different) is set out in T
Clarendon Press, 1979), pp. 210–11.
For example, J. Rawls, PoliticalLiberalism
(New York, Columbia University Press, 1993).
F. von Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (London,
Routledge, 1944), ch. 6.
Hayek, Road to Serfdom , pp