Political disputes over toleration are endemic, while toleration as a political value seems opposed to those of civic equality, neutrality and sometimes democracy. Toleration in Political Conflict sets out to understand toleration as both politically awkward and indispensable. The book exposes the incoherence of Rawlsian reasonable pluralist justifications of toleration, and shows that toleration cannot be fully reconciled with liberal political values. While raison d'etat concerns very often overshadow debates over toleration, these debates - for example about terrorism - need not be framed as a conflict between toleration and security. Framing them in this way tends to obscure objectionable behaviour by tolerators themselves, and their reliance on asymmetric power. Glen Newey concludes by sketching a picture of politics as dependent on free speech which, he argues, is entailed by the demands of free association. That in turn suggests that questions of toleration are inescapable within the conditions of politics itself.
Glen Newey is Professor of Political Theory at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles. He has taught and written about toleration for over 25 years and is the author of Hobbes and Leviathan (2007), After Politics (2001) and Virtue, Reason and Toleration: The Place of Toleration in Ethical and Political Philosophy (1999). He has also written many articles on the theory and practice of toleration and is a frequent reviewer and commentator for publications including the London Review of Books, The Independent, the New Statesman and the Times Literary Supplement.
1. Introduction: toleration in trouble; 2. Tolerating politics; 3. Democratic toleration?; 4. Toleration as sedition; 5. The trouble with respect; 6. How not to tolerate religion; 7. Liberty, toleration, security; 8. Toleration and power; 9. Tolerating ourselves, tolerating terror; 10. Toleration, free speech and the right to lie; Epilogue.