On toleration

AutorWalzer, Michael
PealkiriOn toleration / Michael Walzer
IlmunudNew Haven ; London : Yale University Press, 1997
ViideWalzer, Michael 1997. On toleration. New Haven; London: Yale University Press.

Always begin negatively, a former teacher once instructed me. Tell your readers what you are not going to do; it will relieve their minds, and they will be more inclined to accpet what seems a modest project. (Walzer 1997: 8)
Understood as an attitude or state of mind, toleration describes a number of possibilities. THe first of these, which reflects the origins of religious toleration in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, is simply a resigned acceptance of difference for the sake of peace. People kill one another for years and years, and then, mercifully, exhaustion sets in, and we call this toleration. But we can trace a continuum of more substantive acceptance. A second possible attitude is passice, relazed, benign indifference to difference: "It takes all kinds to make a world." A third follows from a kind of moral stoicism: a principled recognition that the "others" have rights even if they exercise those rights in unattractive ways. A fourth expresses opennes to the others; curiosity; perhaps even respect, a willingness to listen and learn. And, furthest along the continuum, there is the enthusiastic endorsement of difference: an aesthetic endorsement, if difference is taken to represent in cultural form the largeness and diversity of God's creation or of the natural world; or a functional endorsement, if difference is viewed, as in the liberal multiculturalist argument, as a necessary condition of human flourishing, one that offers to individual men and women the choices that make their autonomy meaningful. (Walzer 1997: 10-11)
On this scale, Yuri Lotman can easily be placed in the furthest end of the continuum where heterogeneity and multiplicity of life-styles (codes, languages, texts, etc.) are endorsed and intertwined.
Visible prosperity is certain to put a national minority, especially a new national minority, at risk. Invisible povert, by contrast, brings less danger bur greater misey, making for radical nonrecognition and a kind of automatic, unreflectice discrimination. Consider the "invisible" men and women of minority groups (or lower castes) who provide society's streetcleaners, garbage collectors, dishwashers, hospital orderlies, and so on - whose presence is simply taken for granted and who are rarely looked in the eye or engaged in conversation by members of the majority. (Walzer 1997: 57-58)
Atrocious conditions.
...vritually all the tolerated religions aim to restrict individual freedom, which is, for liberals at least, the foundation of the idea. Most religions are organized to control behavior. (Walzer 1997: 71)
Seems valid enough.
...civil religion often makes for intolerance in international society by enrouraging parochial pride about life on this side of the border and suscpicion or anziety about life on the other side. Its domestic effects, by contrast, can be benign, because it provides everyone (on this side of the border) with a common basic identity and so makes subsequent differentiation less threatening. (Walzer 1997: 76)
Compare this Rousseau's term to nationalism or patriotism.


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