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Odin2005

(53,521 posts)
Sat Mar 19, 2016, 10:20 PM Mar 2016

Trump's inciting his supporters to violence reminds me of a quote from the philosopher Karl Popper.

"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. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But 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. 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."


Popper was an Austrian Jew who fled the Nazis and wrote this in the middle of WW2.
11 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Trump's inciting his supporters to violence reminds me of a quote from the philosopher Karl Popper. (Original Post) Odin2005 Mar 2016 OP
Latest example of violence at Trump rally Elmergantry Mar 2016 #1
There is wisdom Jenny_92808 Mar 2016 #2
Excellent quote Fairgo Mar 2016 #3
Popper also wrote Chitown Kev Mar 2016 #4
I don't like that premise of unlimited tolerance that then leads to no tolerance. Festivito Mar 2016 #5
Good point, I didn't read it that rigidly Rebkeh Mar 2016 #9
Read Christopher Hedges' book _American Fascists_ (about RW Christian Dominionism). tblue37 Mar 2016 #6
Yes rusty quoin Mar 2016 #7
Yeah, I like this quote but I am flexible in how I read into it Rebkeh Mar 2016 #8
Yes, but the decline in tolerance of intolerance is a symptom of the decline of tolerant society leveymg Mar 2016 #10
American law is more protective of free speech, and properly so, IMO Jim Lane Mar 2016 #11
 

Elmergantry

(884 posts)
1. Latest example of violence at Trump rally
Sat Mar 19, 2016, 10:25 PM
Mar 2016


Black Trump Supporter - Stomps Anti-Trump Protester In KKK Hood At Tucson Rally



Was promptly arrested.

Chitown Kev

(2,197 posts)
4. Popper also wrote
Sat Mar 19, 2016, 11:59 PM
Mar 2016

the best case against Plato that I've ever read.

This is why my immediate response to an acquaintance of mine who is considering supporting Trump was that, "Donald Trump is a racist and anyone who would support him is a racist" and I left it at that.

Festivito

(13,499 posts)
5. I don't like that premise of unlimited tolerance that then leads to no tolerance.
Sun Mar 20, 2016, 12:14 AM
Mar 2016

Unlimited? Hmm. Unlimited could mean there are no intolerant that would then destroy tolerance. The quote is not reality based with that word: unlimited.

We each need to decide what we tolerate and what we don't. Just look at our DU jury system to see some of that quagmire.

tblue37

(65,831 posts)
6. Read Christopher Hedges' book _American Fascists_ (about RW Christian Dominionism).
Sun Mar 20, 2016, 12:18 AM
Mar 2016

He also says extreme tolerance of intolerance allows intolerance to destroy a tolerant society.

 

rusty quoin

(6,133 posts)
7. Yes
Sun Mar 20, 2016, 12:50 AM
Mar 2016

They are not prepared to meet us with rational argument. And we have been fighting them in a field of lies.

Rebkeh

(2,450 posts)
8. Yeah, I like this quote but I am flexible in how I read into it
Sun Mar 20, 2016, 01:17 AM
Mar 2016

You could flip this to support separatism - which is very, very bad.

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
10. Yes, but the decline in tolerance of intolerance is a symptom of the decline of tolerant society
Sun Mar 20, 2016, 10:41 AM
Mar 2016

The context of Popper's statement amidst WW2 is all-important. It's the pistols and fists we should be suppressing not the persons.

 

Jim Lane

(11,175 posts)
11. American law is more protective of free speech, and properly so, IMO
Sun Mar 20, 2016, 04:34 PM
Mar 2016

A majority that's unhappy with what's being said would have a lot of leeway under Popper's formulation:

We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal....


If a Louis Farrakhan says in a TV interview or writes in a pamphlet that the white race is a race of devils, that speech could readily be criminalized in any jurisdiction with enough jurors who are offended by it. The same would be true of a Stormfront website that preaches intolerance but in the opposite direction.

In modern American jurisprudence, the First Amendment isn't an absolute, but the bar for suppressing speech on such grounds is pretty high. The Supreme Court has used different formulations, but they amount to variations on the "clear and present danger to public order" test. If someone is carrying a "Dump Trump" protest sign at a Trump rally, and Trump says from the podium "Let's rough that guy up!", then arguably there would be such a danger. If the feared connection to violence is less direct, however, as with Farrakhan or Stormfront, then the speech should be permitted.
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