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Modern Tolerance

A Practical and Theoretical Critique
  • Aaron Tyler
Chapter
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Abstract

Migration has been a potent corollary to globalization. The mass immigration of Muslims to Europe is most significant, with millions of second- and third-generation immigrants now residing in Europe. Muslims from the Maghreb, West Africa, Turkey, the Indian subcontinent, and the Arabian Peninsula continue to immigrate to the European continent in overwhelming numbers. The number of Muslims in Europe is unknown—and estimates vary widely. One study concludes that about 17 million Muslims currently reside in the European Union—some 24 million when those European states currently negotiating membership or candidacy (not including Turkey) are included.1 According to numbers released by the Central Institute’s Islam Archives in Soest, Germany, France has the greatest number of Muslims—primarily from the Maghreb—at well over 5 million, and Germany is next with more than 3 million, mostly of Turkish and Kurdish origin. While still a clear minority in European society (between 4 percent and 5 percent), the number of Muslims in Europe is expanding rapidly, increasing by well over 800,000 since 2003. What is more, the Central Institute has labeled Islam as a “young religion,” with, for instance, 850,000 Muslim minors living in Germany alone.2 In one of his latest studies on religious demographics, Pennsylvania State University professor Philip Jenkins discusses how Muslims in France—who currently represent 25 percent of France’s “under twenty-five” population—could conceivably comprise that same percentage of its entire population by the middle of the century.3

Keywords

Body Politic Comprehensive Doctrine Civil Unity Ultimate Concern Modern Western Society 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    CIA Factbook, available at http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html; cited in Philip Jenkins, God’s Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe’s Religious Crisis (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 16.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    Oliver Roy, Globalized Islam: The Search for a New Ummah (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), 16.Google Scholar
  3. 10.
    Michael Walzer, On Toleration (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997), 37–40.Google Scholar
  4. 18.
    Michael Walzer, On Toleration (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997), 84.Google Scholar
  5. 20.
    Ibid., 26. For a thought-provoking look at the realities of banal discrimination toward minority cultures in the UK, see Eileen Barker, “Banal Discrimination: Equality of Respect for Beliefs and Worldviews in the UK,” in International Perspectives on Freedom and Equality of Religious Belief, ed. Derek Davis and Gerhard Besier (Waco, TX: J. M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies, Baylor University, 2002). Banal discrimination is generally defined as a “common unthinking discrimination” that encourages traditional, cultural, and social boundaries that ensure a “normalcy” or status quo in society. See Barker, 31.Google Scholar
  6. 23.
    For a discussion of liberal tolerance as “non-judgmental,” see Michael Sandel, “Judgmental Toleration,” in Natural Law, Liberalism, and Morality: Contemporary Essays, ed. Robert George (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), 107–12.Google Scholar
  7. 24.
    Liberal theorist Ronald Dworkin emphasizes the value of an ethically neutral body politic, demanding that the government be neutral “on what might be called the question of the good life.” Quoted in Budziszewski, 25; and in Gary Remer, “Bodin’s Pluralistic Theory of Toleration,” in Difference and Dissent, ed. Cary J. Nederman and John Christian Laursen (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1996), 119.Google Scholar
  8. See Ronald Dworkin, A Matter of Principle (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985), 181–204.Google Scholar
  9. See also Bruce Ackerman, Social Justice in the Liberal State (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1980);Google Scholar
  10. and John Rawls, A Theory of Justice (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971). See also J Budziszewski’s challenge to ethical neutralism in his chapter “Arguments for Ethical Neutrality,” in True Tolerance (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2000), 61–101.Google Scholar
  11. 25.
    In the words of Clermont-Tonnerre, who advocated Jewish emancipation in late eighteenth-century France: “It would be repugnant to have a society of non-citizens in the state, and a nation within a nation.” See Gary Kates, “Jews into Frenchmen: Nationality and Representation in Revolutionary France,” in Social Research 56 (Spring 1989): 229; partially quoted in Walzer, 39.Google Scholar
  12. 27.
    Ibid., 89. See also zz Nederman and zz Laursen, “Difference and Dissent: Introduction,” in Difference and Dissent: Theories of Toleration in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, ed. Cary J. Nederman and John Christian Laursen (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1996), 4.Google Scholar
  13. 29.
    A. J. Conyers, The Long Truce: How Toleration Made the World Safe for Power and Profit (Dallas: Spence Publishing Company, 2001), 9.Google Scholar
  14. 39.
    Nicholas Lash, The Beginning and the End of Religion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 43.
    John Rawls, “The Idea of an Overlapping Consensus [1987],” in John Rawls: Collected Papers, ed. Samuel Freeman (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), 424.Google Scholar
  16. 45.
    Budziszewski, 234. Rawls’s original position, as a constructivist political conception, is, unlike that of Kant, focused primarily on a constructivist framework for political justice rather than an encompassing moral doctrine. Such a construction, argues Rawls, makes an overlapping consensus of basic political values possible in a pluralistic, democratic society. zz Rawls, Political Liberalism, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), 89–90.Google Scholar
  17. 53.
    Donald Demarco, “Is Tolerance a Virtue?” in Lay Witness (November/ December 2005): 14–15.Google Scholar
  18. 60.
    Cary J. Nederman, Worlds of Difference (University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000), 4–5.Google Scholar
  19. 65.
    Rushworth M. Kidder offers a similar assessment of the term “value” that provides an effective framework for distinguishing between those ideas that possess an intrinsic worth and those which help to achieve some worthy goal. Rushworth M. Kidder, How Good People Make Tough Choices (New York: HarperCollins, 2003), 79.Google Scholar
  20. 69.
    Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology, vol. 1 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951), 211.Google Scholar

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© Aaron Tyler 2008

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  • Aaron Tyler

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