Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Limits of Liberal Tolerance

From Reason, Faith, and Revolution by Terry Eagleton:
The liberal principles of freedom and tolerance are dogmas, and are none the worse for that. It is simply a liberal paradox that there must be something close-minded about open-mindedness and something inflexible about tolerance. Liberalism cannot afford to be over-liberal when it comes to its own founding principles, which is one reason the West is caught between treating its illiberal enemies justly and crushing their testicles. As British prime minister Tony Blair remarked in a classic piece of self-deconstruction: "Our tolerance is part of what makes Britain Britain. So conform to it, or don't come here." (p. 127)

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