True Tolerance: Liberalism and the Necessity of Judgment

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Transaction Publishers - Philosophy - 323 pages
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In contemporary liberal thought, "tolerance" has come to be redefined as a synonym for ethical neutrality: refusal to judge among competing views of goods and evils. The result of this extreme relativism has been a foundations crisis in law, politics, education, and other areas of social life. In this lucidly written and brilliantly argued volume, J. Budziszewski attempts to reserve the self-destruction of modern liberalism by showing that true tolerance is not only consistent with taking stands about objective goods and evils, but actually requires doing so.

Tolerance, falsely understood as ethical neutrality, has the paradoxical effect of crippling policy choice by divesting it of the moral and practical framework on which it depends. By painstakingly and exhaustively dissecting each of the many neutralist arguments, Budziszewski demonstrates that real neutrality is logically impossible. Confronted by alternative views, the neutralist at best obscures his own underlying judgments, and at worst abandons all possible defense against fanatics who oppose both true equality and true tolerance.

True Tolerance is both a rigorous critique, and a polemic undertaken in the name of a positive, twenty-first century vision of liberalism. Budziszewsky outlines a view of true tolerance that assumes a relationship with an older liberal tradition and a codependence with other virtues, including humility, mercy, charity, respect, and courtesy. This vision is rooted in historical experience and rational conviction about what is good. In the spirit of liberal and classical theorists of virtue from Aristotle to John Locke to Alasdair MacIntyre, the virtue of true tolerance is much more than a readiness to follow known rules; it includes a developed ability to distinguish good rules from bad, and to choose rightly even where there are no rules or where rules seem to contradict each other. Accessibly written and intended for a wide readership, True Tolerance will be of special interest to political theorists and activists, and to sociologists and philosophers.

J. Budziszewski is associate professor of government at the University of Texas in Austin. His books include The Resurrection of Nature: Political theory and the Human Character and The Nearest Coast of Darkness: A Vindication of the Politics of Virtues.

 

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Contents

The Idea
5
Illustrations of True Tolerance in Three Spheres of Regulation
17
Is True Tolerance Constitutional?
43
The Heads of the Hydra
55
Arguments for Ethical Neutrality
61
An Exploded View of Neutrality
103
Special Cases of True Tolerance
119
The Special Case of Tolerance in Education and Nurture
121
Abuse of the Free Speech and Free Press Clauses The State Involvement with Obscenity
177
The Special Case of Religious Tolerance
219
Tolerance and the Ultimate Concern
223
True Tolerance Again
237
13 Is This a Possible Constitutional Position?
241
Epilogue The Great Refusal
263
The Counsels of Tolerance A Subset
269
Constitutional Interpretation
277

Introduction to Part Three
123
Liberal Education Contrasted with Authoritarian
125
How Neutralism Distorts Liberal Education
133
Neutralist Education in Closer Scrutiny
141
The Special Case of Expressive Tolerance
157
General Counsels of Expressive Tolerance
161
Patristic Sources
289
Empirical Issues
295
Bibliography
299
List of Cases
313
Index
317
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Page xiv - Is there no virtue among us ? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks, no form of government, can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea.

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