‘Tolerance in a Just and Fair Society’

Earlier in the day, Dalai Lama reminded everyone of the responsibility of the youth and the importance of action. This one day conference on 20 June 2012 at the LSE explores the nature of intolerance that exists in our societies. It was held in the 10th anniversary of Frederick Bonnart-Braunthal Trust. The first speaker of the day was Lord Parekh who viewed the world as a world where intolerance is invented. Where is the line of tolerance should be drawn? Is it ok to tolerate the intolerance? How to combat intolerance itself? Can you be tolerant of anything and everything? Buddhist saw the meaning of tolerance in quite a different perspective than that the others held. Buddhists saw it as a condition where we all can live together in peace. There is no equivalent word of tolerance where Dalai Lama lives. Looking back at history, tolerance does not appear in Greek. Roman, or even Christian virtues. Intolerance means we are putting up with error and it should not happen.

Virtue of Tolerance:

-Recognize certain practices but not judge them (non-judgmental of certain areas)
-It is possible to have different people who have different views (diversity – even if it is in their businesses)
-Open to dialogue

2 Differences of Tolerance:
-John Stuart Mill – gentler and kinder kind of tolerance
-Others – allow the oppositions to say things, but say ‘no’ in the end or not persecute people.

Buddha understands the human soul, that beliefs are not important (belief in God included), ethics is all important. Dalai Lama’s book ‘Beyond Religion’ — each individual has different personalities, they are unique and what’s good for me, might not be good for you. Buddhists constantly arguing — they try to look from other people’s point of view and respect/ learn from each other rather than trying to convert each other. ‘My beliefs define your identity, my identity does not define my beliefs’.

The intolerable is a moveable concept, according to Parekh, because it can be tolerable depends on the time frame (eg. equality law for women, gay rights, marriage equality).

BNP is legitimate now and declared as ‘non-racist’ group – silencing our enemies might not be the best way to live up to tolerance.

Does intermingling ruin your own culture?


What’s wrong with torture? – moral wrongness, state practice and the convention against torture
by Fatima Koal, UCL – torture on counter-terrorism

-Idea of human dignity and respect
-UN Convention defines torture as dehumanization
-Bush administration – depends on how we define ‘severe’ – if it is not reached the ‘fatal’ level, it should be fine.
-If people refuse to enter plea, torture becomes legitimate – not to interogate someone.
-Torture should not be focused on pain, but human dignity and rights.

Dynamic of Statelessness – Victoria Redclift, LSE
-Linguistic community in Bangladesh (speak Urdu) in Dhaka – people live in a camp where poverty re-doubles, discrimination exists (no jobs).
-Living outside the camp is seen as self-respect.
-Camp residents are stateless for 40 years.
-After recognized and being given official ID card, camp dwellers believe that fake id card is better because the real one stated that they are camp dwellers – therefore restricting them to get jobs.

The Case of Archeological Documentation and Cultural Intolerance in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank by Adi Keinan, UCL

-Institutional power over resources (political power)

Meaning, Morality, and the Minutemen: The Ethics of Studying the Far Right by Amanda Conroy, LSE

-Minuteman job is to secure US Border from illegal immigrants.
-The existence of labels for them – ‘racist’, ‘evil’, etc. Labels are dangerous tendency of humans.
-Reasons behind: some American people are homeless (moral obligation of the state to protect citizens).
-In the other hand: Illegal immigrants die to have better lives (Generally Mexicans).
-Border closed so that Mexico will be inspired to create a better society for its people.
-Minutemen personally want to do something meaningful in their lives by defending the country.
-‘The line dividing the good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being’ – Alexander Solzhenitsyn on The Gulag Archipelago

Trevor Phillips
-Tolerance is not the coexistence of different people who does not want to know each other.
-World divided by barriers – social media, etc.
-Guyana (British Empire), where he grew up – cultural mix except Australians and Aborigins.
-In London, Britain – Windrush ship (Nazi history).
-Situations around Europe: France (anti-immigrant government), Holland (anti-muslim party active in the government), Greece (immigrants could be sent out to the street – expressed by the representative in the Greek Parliament – Golden Dawn), Spain (immigrant numbers rose from half million to 50 million by 10 years).
-How gay people are treated in Gatwick airport.
-11 Million illegal immigrants on the USA – difference between ‘how do we manage?’ and ‘i don’t like those guys’. Where is the toleration?
-We share time and space with each other but sharp inequality exist in Britain and create division. Black and Pakistani baby are most likely to die. Cannot deal with individual complaints?
-Integrated society – bearing is not the same as destiny (age, gender, culture).
-Legal remedies and law does not always help. Right and wrong determined by content – greater transparency needed. Rules to manage behavior needed.
-Many people are tolerant as long as it serves one’s political view.
-Is there any difference between fairness and equality? – Trevor likes fairness better because it implies procedure, rather than equality.
-Culture and the Art always have the power to capture public imagination – the tools that are not used enough to create tolerance. TV as the best medium according to Phillips , experience other cultures – for example, Big Brother & Wife Swap.

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