Tolerant Society Essay

Consider the view that in tolerant society no particular way of life should be promoted as superior.

Many would argue that a tolerant society involves the state being a neutral umpire. This is the idea of a neutral based liberalism and it states that we should not supress, or promote any particular way of life. This is because of the reason for being tolerant in their opinion is because we are fallible humans who will never know the truth and also because moral truth is subjective.

First of all there are always going to be different opinions of what is moral truth and different meathods which people use to find it because moral truth can not be proved using empiricm. It is different to proving things like science, we can not use empirical evidence to discover moral truth and therefore there are always going to be disagreements on it. We as humans are fallible, and one way in which we are fallible is that we sometimes think and believe that we are definitely right when in fact we are wrong.

This therefore must apply to moral truth. Because we all as humans are imperfect this means that when we believ ourselves to be right about something we could easily be mistaken and infact be wrong. States and majorities, who have the power, are also made up of fallible humans. If a state promoted a particular way of life, it is insinuating that it knows this way of life to be better, it is assuming its own infallibility, because by promoting this particular way of life it is saying that this is the right way to live. As the state is made up fallible humans this could very easily be wrong because we are imperfect and therefore could be mistaken. Therefore it means that this isn’t necessarily the right way to live and that another way which is infact the right way to live is overlooked by so many people because the state is promoting the way in which they believe is best even though they are wrong.

Basically by promoting a certain way of life above others, the state is first of all asuuming its own infallibility which it is incorrect to do as it is made up of fallible humans and secondly it would mean that certain other ways of life are ignored and pushed aside, even supressed if another way is promoted to a certain degree, which means that a tolerant society could be supressing the right way to live. Even if it is not the right way to live, a tolerant society should not supress any view, action or way of life, as to do so would not be being tolerant. If a tolerant society only accepted and promoted cultures which is agreed with then it would not be being tolerant at all, it would be using its powers to be intolerant.

A tolerant society would not promote any certain form of good life as it would argue that we need diversity and that the only way for us to gain this is to not supress any lifestyle even ones we disgagree with, even though we have the power because society should believe that the moral value of tolerance and diversity and having all the options available to us is more important than promoting a certain form of lifestyle and in that was supressing or demoting other lifestyles. Ontop of this moral truth is subjective, and to promote a certain lifestyle would assume its objectively moral correct, which can never be so because there is no such thing as objective moral truths according to Mill and neutrality based liberalists. The only job of the state should be to make sure that no one is preventing others to live how they want to and to stand as a neutral umpire and never promote its own ideas of the good life.

Criticisms to this is that what if by only being a neutral umpire the state must stand by and watch minority groups trying to promote their way of life dissaprear as intolerant majority groups destroy them, and therefore just being a neutral umpire is infact bad for diversity, as there are less and less groups as Intolerant groups are dominating. It can be said that a state should not be wholly tolerant as this can lead to the dissaperance of tolerance all together, as those who are intolerant of other groups would not be stopped, and would have to be allowed to continue in their tolerant ways, If a tolerant society promoted their idea of the good life which would evidently be tolerant one then tolerance would not disappear. autonomous based liberals would state that a tolerant society could promote its own idea of the good life because autonomy based liberals believe in the value of tolerance because it values autonomy and the human ability to make our own decisions and reflect upon those beliefs and decisions.

They say that the reason the state should be tolerant is so that everyone has the opportunity to follow their own paths. They would argue that the state should promote its own idea of the good life because they argue that tolerance is such an important moral value, it should be upheld and made sure that it continues, even if that means it has to be promoted. If a tolerant society must promote a tolerant lifestyle then this is acceptable as it is allowed to be intolerant of intolerant lifestyles because otherwise the whole reason for being tolerant in the first place, to bring autonomy, dissaprears. If a society just stands by and doesn’t promote tolerance, then Intolerant groups are likely to dominate because they unlike tolerant groups have no obligation to allow everyone to do what they want.

They can supress other groups and force them to believe and join their intolerant groups. Then sooner or later we would all have to believe in what the original intolerant society believed, and this would certainly damage out autonomy. We wouldn’t have all the options available to us if only the intolerant group was left and therefore we could be truly autonomous. Therefore by promoting a certain type of lifestyle and therefore supressing another, a tolerant society should be allowed to do this, otherwise tolerance would cease to exist and this would reverse the whole point of being tolerant in the first place, to bring autonomy because autonomy makes us fillfilled human beings, although there isn’t much evidence which links autonomy to fulfilment of the human race therefore this could be criticised greatly.

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