Quoting Karl Popper’s “The paradox of tolerance”

The next direct quote is an important one, a theory that I full support.   The Austrian scientist and philosopher Karl Popper simply made much sense and non-more than his paradox of the concept of tolerance.   If anything, much of how I judge radicalism is based on what is stated below in regards to dealing with intolerance.  I do not hide the fact that I have cut and pasted that section direct from the Wikipedia’s item on Karl Popper (with reference links and all).  I do so with full acknowledgement and appreciation for the excellent presentation and as per my practice, I recommend to everyone to read the biography of Popper on Wikipedia as a great start.

Before the quote, I should point out that I was reading about the Iranian-born Islamic-philospher Abdolkarim Soroush whom is a believer in Popper’s theories.   It is ironic that Soroush, whom many consider as a philosopher of the caliber of those from the Golden Ages of Andalus, was called to duty to help

Abdolkarim Soroush - world renowned Islamic philospher and supporter of Popper's theories

establish the Islamic Republic of Iran’s philosophical base out of recognition and was well supported (and still is – by the Green Revolution Movement).  In following the theories, including those of what really is purist Islamism, he came out with those that the simply pointed out what is wrong with the current Islamic Republic.  Since then, according to journalist and author Robin Wright, the current Supreme Leader of Iran “”devoted more time berating Soroush…than condemning the United States or Israel.”





The paradox of tolerance

Although Popper was an advocate of toleration, he realized that even a tolerant person cannot always accept another’s intolerance. For, if tolerance allowed intolerance to succeed completely, tolerance itself would be threatened. In The Open Society and Its Enemies: The Spell of Plato, he argued that:

Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.

The utterence of intolerant philosophies should not always be suppressed, “as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion.” However,

we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive , and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols.

Furthermore, in support of human rights legislation in the second half of the 20th century, he stated:

We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.[11]

About donny2811
Trots Nederlands, goed gereist en een begerige politieke centrist met een speciale afkeer voor basissen.

4 Responses to Quoting Karl Popper’s “The paradox of tolerance”

  1. Kenny says:

    very insightful… follows the theory that there are two sides to everything and each have to have equal distribution to exist… good/evil, light/dark, etc.

    • donny2811 says:

      Thanks Kenny,

      I see the theory as there are always apposing forces, that is the nature of things, but it is wrong to take the form of the ugly opposite (intollerance) except to fight that intollerance.

      There is an irony, many of Popper concepts are taken and followed, hailed as great etc, by political parties etc, and yet they all forget this particular one. It is also why I dispize people like Wilders, Gellar, Spencer etc, because they show that do the opposite, they are intollerant to the whole and not only those aspects that are intollerant. Wilders in particular is a system totally based on selectivity, collective punishment and intollerance.

      Donny vdH
      Rotterdam (now in Casablanca)

      • Kenny says:

        Indeed… and apologies for the delay in responding. However, when intolerance is predicated on political correctness how does that make it right? humans all have the inherent flaw of being judgemental of differences … some would say that is what makes us “us” … but the difference – in my opinion – is when intolerance is shielded by a veil of PC and the honest truth and forth right criticism which is very much needed in our world these days is begged off over fears of some form of offense.

      • donny2811 says:

        Good points there Kenny.

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