The freedoms prized and secured in a modern liberal democratic societies give rise to significant forms of moral and social diversity. In many cases, these forms of diversity must be dealt with by the state and its citizens. A standard way of trying to address social diversity is to call for toleration. But toleration can seem to have a dark side: it might appear that we tolerate only that which we, to some degree, disparage or disapprove of. In this way, toleration might also be a way of affirming ones superiority to those who one tolerates. Toleration, then, might look like an inappropriate response to diversity within a liberal democratic society.
In Respecting Toleration: Traditional Liberalism and Contemporary Diversity
(Oxford University Press, 2017), Peter Balint
defends toleration as the appropriate response to moral and social diversity in a liberal democratic political order. Drawing on a distinction between toleration as a general attitude of permissiveness, and tolerance as a more particular disposition of forbearance, Balint argues that a familiar form of liberal toleration is the proper response to moral and social diversity in a democratic society.