Don’t Shout at the Telly: Tolerance

Claire Fox, Director of the Institute of Ideas is the guest expert on this fascinating in depth, on the sofa discussion on tolerance. After the massacre in Norway, volunteers consider calls for clampdowns on Facebook, the English Defence League and bigoted views. Claire provides a compelling case for allowing the vilest views to be heard in order to challenge them. Outlining the emergence of tolerance as an Enlightenment idea in opposition to the inquisition and tyranny she explains its problematic and demeaning character today as expressed in multiculturalism, non-judgementalism and fashionable intolerance of intolerant groups and views. Not being able to hear, see and judge for ourselves degrades us all she explains and Mill’s ‘harm principle’ provides a useful understanding of the difference between ideas and implementation. Harm, she reminds us, has sadly been expanded to encompass how we subjectively feel, what we can eat, drink and do in our personal lives, justifying state interference, regulation and un-freedom – the opposite of tolerance.