Fish on "Tolerance"

Steve Jamar sjamar at LAW.HOWARD.EDU
Fri Jan 4 12:36:11 PST 2002


And despite its flaws and logical problems, it is the best idea around.  Unless we can learn to tolerate each
other, to treat each other with mutual respect, to respect the inherent worth and dignity of each other, then
ongoing troubles will continue and intensify.  We certainly cannot replace an idea of tolerance for diversity with
one of imposed hegemony.  That has never worked for long, if at all.

So, those who trash tolerance should come up with a better, workable alternative.

Until then, I vote for liberal values of tolerance and acceptance of diversity.

Rick Duncan wrote:

> We have had a number of discussions on the meaning of
> "tolerance" and its role in shedding light on various
> law and religion controversies. Although I am not a
> big fan of Stanley Fish, he often has valuable
> insights on the use and misuse of the concept of
> tolerance, and I recently came across another good
> one. It is from Stanley Fish, The Trouble With
> Principle, at 201:
>
> "Whether the focus is Locke or Nagle or Conkle or
> Thiemann or Gutmann and Thompson--philosophers,
> theorists, liberals, conservatives--what it discovers
> is always the same. Someone sets out to resolve the
> problem presented to a would-be regime of tolerance,
> or higher order impartiality, or openness of mind, or
> mutual respect, by views that are manifestly
> intolerant, have no truck with impartiality, and
> accord respect largely to those who already agree with
> them; and invariably the solution that emerges is a
> mirror version of the problem it claims to address.
> Tolerance is defined in a way that renders the
> troubling views unworthy to receive it; openness of
> mind turns out to be closed to any form of thought not
> committed to its hegemony; and mutual respect is less
> a formula for ecumenical generosity than the cant
> phrase of a self-selected little club of right-mimded
> academics."
>
> Wow! Good stuff.
>
> Cheers, Rick Duncan
>
> =====
> "Do you not think an angel rides in the whirlwind and directs the storm."
>     --President George W. Bush (quoting John Page)
>
> "When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle things are gone."  -C.S. Lewis
>
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--
Prof. Steven D. Jamar, Director LRRW Program         vox:  202-806-8017
Howard University School of Law                     fax:  202-806-8567
2900 Van Ness Street NW                   mailto:sjamar at law.howard.edu
Washington, DC  20008   http://www.law.howard.edu/faculty/pages/jamar/

"The things that will destroy us are:
 politics without principle;
 pleasure without conscience;
 wealth without work;
 knowledge without character;
 business without morality;
 science without humanity,
 and worship without sacrifice."

            Mahatma Gandhi



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