How to Be Happy

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How to Be Happy

August 15, 2018 @ 11:00pm by Stephen J. Dubner Produced by: Max Miller & Anders Kelto


Denmark consistently ranks at or near the top of the U.N.’s annual happiness ranking. Is their secret generous social programs and high levels of social trust? (Photo: Mstyslav Chernov/Wikimedia Commons)

Our latest Freakonomics Radio episode is called “How to Be Happy.” (You can subscribe to the podcast at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.) The U.N.’s World Happiness Report — created to curtail our unhealthy obsession with G.D.P. — is dominated every year by the Nordic countries. We head to Denmark to learn the secrets of this happiness epidemic (and to see if we should steal them). Below is a transcript of the episode, modified for your reading pleasure. For more information on the people and ideas in the episode, see the links at the bottom of this post.

* * * Until a few years ago, Helen Russell was leading a seemingly happy life in London, working as an editor for the fashion magazine Marie Claire. True, she did feel restless at times; also true: she and her husband had been struggling with fertility treatments. That said, she had no intention of leaving the U.K. Helen RUSSELL: Until out of the blue, one wet Wednesday, my husband came home and told me he’d been offered his dream job working for Lego in Denmark. And we knew nothing about the country, as many people in other countries are fairly ignorant of Scandinavia. We couldn’t really have pinpointed it on a map.

They decided to go for it. But as soon as they arrived — in a small town in the rural hinterlands of Denmark, in the dead of winter— she had regrets. RUSSELL: My husband left to go to work at 7:30 a.m. I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t speak the language. I was in this freezing cold, dark country all by myself. I did a lot of howling at the moon, thinking I’d made the biggest mistake ever. And I did a lot of eating danish pastries, because as a repressed Brit, I like to eat my emotions.

But Russell had heard — as you may have heard — that Denmark is routinely at or near the very top of the annual happiness ranking compiled by the United Nations. And the other Nordic countries — Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Finland — pretty much dominate the top 10. Russell naturally wondered: why? What are the causes, and consequences, of this alleged happiness epidemic? Was it for real? What are the downsides? She set out to answer these questions, in a book she called The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country. Along the way, she asked nearly every Dane she met how they would rank their happiness on a scale of 1 to 10. A funny thing happened during this process: Russell herself became quite a bit happier. RUSSELL: I was maybe — I’d have said a 6 was a good day in London, and now I’m generally on that 8, and sometimes a 9, if I’m lucky. DUBNER: You’re practically Danish. RUSSELL: I’m practically Danish.

Today on Freakonomics Radio: what causes all this happiness? Jeffrey SACHS: What it is, I think, is a kind of ethos of life.

What’s keeping less-happy countries from copying it? Meik WIKING: The price tag.

And: an economist who thinks we should worry more about well-being and less about traditional measures like GDP: SACHS: My God. Let’s get serious about the quality of our lives, and stop this nonsense of chasing such a poor indicator that is taking us actually farther away from our happiness.

* * * I recently spent a few days in Copenhagen. There was one person I was very excited to meet. WIKING: So my name is Meik Wiking, and I’m the C.E.O. of the Happiness Research Institute here in Copenhagen. DUBNER: And is “Viking” a common surname here?

WIKING: No. I think we’re a handful of people. My dad is called Wolf. I have a brother called Kenneth. I have a couple of nephews, one is called Max Wiking, so he needs to grow up big and tall. DUBNER: Do you do Halloween here, where you dress up as costumes? WIKING: I see where this is going. DUBNER: I’m just curious, were you a Viking every year when you were a child? WIKING: No. But there was one episode, yes.

Wiking has a background in political science, economics, and sociology — all of which figure in understanding what’s called happiness. WIKING: One of the challenges we have with happiness is to define it and to measure it. And we should first and foremost acknowledge that it’s a wide umbrella term. So you have one understanding of what happiness is, and I have another one. So we need to break it down and look at different components. The first is an overall life satisfaction. And here you essentially ask your respondents to take a step back and evaluate their lives.

Happiness researchers also track people’s moods in the moment. WIKING: “How happy are you right now? How happy were you yesterday?” And there we can see that weather, what day of the week it is, impacts our happiness levels. People are happier — no big surprise — on the weekend, than they are on Monday mornings.

They also measure people’s sense of meaning. WIKING: That builds on what Aristotle thought the good life was. To him, the good life was the meaningful life. So here we try to understand, do people have a sense of purpose?

A sense of purpose. A self-evaluation of life satisfaction. You may think all this sounds a bit squishy — especially to an economist, yes? SACHS: I’m going to answer anything you’re going to ask me.

Okay, we’ll ask some questions. First one’s easy: would you please introduce yourself? SACHS: Jeff Sachs, a university professor at Columbia University. And I am special adviser to the United Nations Secretary General on the Sustainable Development Goals. One part of that is human well-being. And so I am a co-editor each year of the World Happiness Report.

The World Happiness Report — that’s where Denmark and the other Nordic countries always come out on top. Jeff Sachs, just so you know, isn’t some woo-woo feel-good witch doctor. You may have heard him on our program before, talking about his work as an interventional economist for governments in crisis: SACHS: I worked in Poland and in Russia after the communist system collapsed.

Also in Bolivia, trying to tame its hyperinflation.

SACHS: And I worked in Latin America very extensively for several years after the work in Bolivia.

The calls kept coming. SACHS: And then in 1995, another quite decisive turn for me was an invitation to go to Zambia and to see what this experience and these lessons might mean for Africa.

Over time, and because of those experiences, Sachs came to believe that his fellow economists had left something out of their worldview. Something, in fact, quite vital. SACHS: The economics profession took a very bad turn roughly 150 years ago when it decided that since it wasn’t possible to measure happiness or to compare happiness across individuals, we would look basically at consumer preferences.

The inspiration to incorporate happiness into economic modeling came from a rather unlikely source. SACHS: So back in 1971, the fourth king of Bhutan — who also brought democracy to the country — was an extremely, extremely wise leader, he raised the question already, why are we pursuing Gross National Product when we should be pursuing Gross National Happiness? You know it’s such a wonderful phrase. And GNH entered the vocabulary of a small niche of economists and a small niche of Buddhists, and others who are dreaming of this, already, decades ago. But Bhutan went ahead as a very poor country and actually set up the mechanisms for detailed survey measurement of dimensions of Gross National Happiness. It set up a Gross National Happiness commission. It ordered that all legislation should be an evaluated happiness benefit-cost ratio.

Sachs began meeting with the king, and they brought more world leaders and economists into the happiness conversation. This ultimately led to the creation of the U.N.’s World Happiness Report. The concept was jarring to many of Sachs’s colleagues, particularly in the U.S. SACHS: Well, in our country, we don’t talk about almost anything else in the public space. It’s all about growth, GDP, incomes. Of course, there is a massive industry of happiness studies, self-help manuals, helping people to overcome all sorts of unhappinesses, trying to help people find meaning in their lives, trying to help people make better decisions about their lives.

To Sachs, the booming self-help industry in rich countries like the U.S. reveals a disturbing paradox. SACHS: We have the paradox that income per person rises in the United States, but happiness does not. And it’s not that that’s because humans are humans. It’s because the

U.S. is falling behind other countries, because we are not pursuing dimensions of happiness that are extremely important: our physical health, the mental health in our community, the social support, the honesty in government. And this is weighing down American well-being.

Like the Danish happiness expert Meik Wiking, Sachs finds wisdom in the ancient Greek model. SACHS: I go with Aristotle — he’s my guy, my favorite philosopher. And he pointed out in the Nicomachean Ethics, 2,300 years ago, that to be happy requires the good benefit of having material needs met. So don’t deny those, he said. But he also said, only aiming for wealth, single-mindedly pursuing a higher wealth, is certainly no way to happiness and after a certain point of income, work on other things — work on your friendship, work on your mental health, work your physical health. Work on good governance, work on your charitableness. Because in this kind of world, a good life is a balanced and a virtuous life. Not a single-minded pursuit of income.

Okay, if these are the factors that supposedly generate happiness — community, good mental and physical health, good governance — and since Denmark and the other Nordic countries top the happiness rankings, let’s take a look at how they address those factors. Let’s start with the social-safety net; Meik Wiking again: WIKING: There is obviously universal healthcare. There’s also free university education. In fact, now — DUBNER: Up through university — I mean, along — from the lower level, too — it’s always free, yes? WIKING: So, heavily subsidized kindergarten, primary school free, high school free, and university free. And you get a government grant. And that creates also a lot of social mobility. So — DUBNER: As does health care not being tied to a job, which we have mostly in the States. WIKING: Exactly.

Danes also work fewer hours: on average, 27.6 hours per week, compared to 34.4 in the U.S. To Helen Russell, moving here from Britain, that was a big change. RUSSELL: There’s no stigma to clocking off — people work mainly from 8 until 4 in offices. There’s no stigma to leaving at 4 because you’ve got to go pick up your kids from daycare, you’ve got to go make supper, or you just need to get on with your hobbies.

Denmark strives toward egalitarianism on the gender front, and its parental-leave policies are famously generous. RUSSELL: So there’s 52 weeks — both parents can share it between them. And you can defer, I think, 13 weeks of this for, I believe it’s up to eight or possibly nine years. I have a friend whose family are — she has two children and the youngest one is now five, but she’s

taking 13 weeks off next year to go on a big trip around Australia. And I was outraged by this, like, “Goodness, isn’t this taking the mick a little bit?” She said, “No, it’s perfectly acceptable here.” So yeah, it’s just a different mindset, I guess. SACHS: The basic idea of social democracy is to pay attention to social cohesion, to provide ample social goods like healthcare available automatically for all, education at all levels available for all, vacation time available for all.

Jeff Sachs argues this strong social support in the Nordic model contributes to a number of healthy outcomes. SACHS: The life expectancy is higher. Our obesity epidemic does not exist in those countries. Our opioid epidemic does not exist in those countries. WIKING: There is also a high level of trust towards the government. And that goes hand in hand with the Nordic countries being at the low end when it comes to corruption, or perceived corruption. We have a different perception of the state. So what I see from over here, you feel you need to be protected from the state. Is that a fair assumption? DUBNER: It’s a fair assumption for a significant fraction, at least, of Americans, let’s say — not all, certainly, but yeah. WIKING: And people in the Nordic countries will feel that the state protects us from things. The high level of social security is one element, that there is a notion that if you fall, you will be picked up. So I think we see more the state on our side, and helping us create good conditions for good lives.

Scandinavia also gets high marks on interpersonal social trust. WIKING: So if you ask Danes and Norwegians and Swedes, do you feel that most people can be trusted, or can you become too careful when it comes to strangers? Three out of four would say, “Yes, you can trust most strangers.” The global average is one in four. RUSSELL: So you may have heard of — there was a story in New York a few years ago of a Danish woman who was there, who left her child sleeping outside in a pram, which is what you do in Denmark, and was arrested for child neglect. And lots of people in Denmark didn’t understand why it was such a fuss, because in Denmark people trust most people. And this plays into everything. You are not anxious if you trust the people around you, you’re not scared they’re going to rob you to put food on their table. DUBNER: And have you become more trusting as well? RUSSELL: Yeah, I think so. I don’t want to reveal too much about where I live, but I regularly forget to lock car and/or house. DUBNER: But considering the very high level of support in Denmark for citizens from prenatal, really, until literally after death, my question — which is maybe unanswerable — is, would you say that the very high level of social trust is a result of such a generous social security system, or the cause of it?

RUSSELL: That’s a really interesting question, and it’s something that academics in Denmark are still very much grappling with. Some of the economists that I spoke to for The Year of Living Danishly put it that, actually, these high levels of trust have been here, that pre-date the social services and social welfare system. Other people argue it’s the other way around. There’s something interesting about the experience of living Danishly that increases your levels of trust. So immigrants to Denmark also end up adopting Danish values, or their levels of trust rise as the experience of being around Danes and being in this environment starts to sort of filter in, and bed down. So it’s a real debate, actually — there’s a bit of both.

Russell enumerates several other factors that may contribute to a relatively high state of Danish happiness. Most people belong to at least a few clubs or community groups; they spend a lot of time on fitness and outdoor activities; and they don’t put too much emphasis on material possessions. WIKING: Yes, it’s frowned upon to flash your wealth, to flash your success.

Meik Wiking again. WIKING: That is quite common in the Nordic countries. So it also sort of puts a lid on conspicuous consumption. DUBNER: So do you believe that that is a driver, major or minor, of overall happiness, that people feel less compelled to compare themselves to others? WIKING: Yes, a minor one, but I think it’s one. And yeah, there’s so many studies out there that show that inequality is bad for health, for crime rates, for murder rates, and all sorts of things. RUSSELL: It’s really interesting. So I — literally this morning, I’ve just come from an independent coffee bar and there’s an equality there. There is not a difference between the person who is serving me coffee and the person buying the coffee. You can talk as equals, because you know that you are both probably, after tax, taking home around about the same amount. And everybody is having a sort of decent life. On the flip side, there’s not the same service culture. I was just back in the U.K. for work. Oh my goodness, everyone was so nice to me. And when I go to the States, that’s even more so, and I have to remind myself, “Oh, they’re being nice to me because there’s a financial imperative.” And there is more of a service culture in some places than others. In Denmark, that’s not the case. You don’t expect bells and whistles. But I’m kind of fine with that now.

There is one more Danish attribute that’s said to greatly contribute to happiness. WIKING: So it’s pronounced “hooguh.” DUBNER: Hygge.

WIKING: Well done. So I think the best explanation of what hygge is, is the art of creating a nice atmosphere. So it’s about togetherness. It’s about pleasure. It’s about warmth. It’s about relaxation. And that is a key cornerstone of Danish culture. To Danes, hygge is perhaps what freedom is to the Americans. DUBNER: But I gather there are also physical components of it that are specific — a lot of candles, good lighting, and good pastries and so on. Pillows. WIKING: Right. Because hygge is about atmosphere, lighting is important. Lamps are important. Candles are crucial. So we’re — so Danes burn twice as much candle wax as number two in Europe, which is Austria.

Wiking is the author of an international best-seller called The Little Book of Hygge. WIKING: And I receive a lot of letters from readers saying, I’ve been having hygge all my life. I just didn’t know there was a word for it. So I think what we did with hygge was, we gave a word or a language for people to appreciate something they were already doing. RUSSELL: It’s in every area of Danish life. And I’m working with UNESCO right now to get it put on the World Heritage Intangibles List . Studies show that if you are practicing hygge, it’s a bit like self-kindness, but without the woo. And it makes you nicer to other people. This has a ripple effect out into society. So it really does contribute to happiness.

* * * I was recently in Copenhagen, speaking with Meik Wiking who’s C.E.O. of the Happiness Research Institute. I’d been hearing about all the factors that make Denmark and the other Nordic countries rank so high on the U.N.’s World Happiness Report — the generous healthcare and child-care and education benefits, the strong levels of social trust; and the hygge! It was all sounding a bit too good to be true. DUBNER: Wouldn’t you think that more governments around the world would look at the Scandinavian model and say, “Wow, they are thriving economically, and they’re thriving on a happiness-and-life-satisfaction level, let’s just do what they are doing.” Why do you think it hasn’t happened even more? WIKING: The price tag. So I think that the tax level is what scares politicians. But I do sense a larger and larger interest. I get visits on a weekly basis, especially from South Korea. We do see a lot of interest in trying to understand what is it that is working so well in the Nordic countries, that seems to have a positive impact on people’s lives. SACHS: Now one thing that those countries do, which is unimaginable in the U.S. context as of today — they tax themselves, and tax themselves.

That, again, is the economist Jeff Sachs, an editor of the World Happiness Report. SACHS: And they end up paying, oh, 45 to 50 percent of national income. RUSSELL: A lot of people are paying around 50 per cent.

And that’s the recent British transplant Helen Russell. RUSSELL: I’d say most things — if you’re doing your grocery shop, it’s maybe 20 percent more. Goods and services are very expensive. So yeah, life is more expensive. There is not very much extra when you’ve paid for everything.

But the data show that high taxes and prices are generally considered worthwhile. WIKING: Nine out of ten Danes are happily paying their taxes. There is an acknowledgement that we collectively invest in the public good, and that is fed back to people in terms of quality of life. RUSSELL: There is something about the taxes. When you’re paying that much tax, you have to trust that this is all going to be worth it. And like life, you know, we’re all trapped by something — we have to choose what we’re going to be trapped by. And for me, that seems quite a good thing to put my chips on. DUBNER: One counterargument is that well, if you have that, you have that, what you don’t have are the huge rewards for innovation and invention. So there are a lot of things that we complain about in the U.S., including income inequality, including the lack of a lot of the social-service network that a lot of European countries have. But we are the country that makes Apple and Google. And on and on and on and on. It seems that there’s an upside to status-seeking, as well as downsides. RUSSELL: You’re right in terms of accomplishment. There isn’t the same incentive perhaps to go the extra mile that there might be in the U.K. and the U.S., I’d say. So I know that in some places of work, for instance, if your team is working on something but it’s 4 o’clock, they’re going to go home. That can be a frustration for people coming from other countries who are used to people staying there, to really impress the boss or just to do that extra bit. I think for me and from weighing up the pros and cons, there are always trade offs. And the idea that you can have most of the people doing okay and fairly happy — well no, pretty happy actually — that feels sort of worth it, rather than a couple of tall poppies and everyone else in the gutter. WIKING: I think perhaps Danes have lower materialistic ambitions than in some countries. But in terms of having an interesting job, having a happy family, having a healthy hobby and keeping fit, I think there is a lot of, sort of, expectations that people want to live up to. DUBNER: Okay, so you’ve told us that Denmark and the other Scandinavian countries are relatively very high on social trust compared to the rest of the world. And you’ve told us that social trust drives happiness. We also know that social trust decreases when diversity increases. At least, that’s what a lot of literature that I’ve seen has to say. And we know that Denmark and other Scandinavian countries are — relative to other rich countries, the U.S. and the U.K. in particular — are not very diverse. How much do you think the social trust in a place like Denmark is driven by some version of homogeneity? I’ve read that something

like 85 percent of Danish citizens are not only born here, but are ethnically derived from Danes. So how much of it is just a sort of comfort with belonging to a club that you belong to? WIKING: Yeah. So it’s true, in some of the Nordic countries, there is a high level of homogeneity. In Sweden it’s much less — they’ve been much more welcoming to refugees and immigrants, in the past years, than for instance, Denmark and Norway. But then again, if you see the level of trust, that has not declined. DUBNER: In Sweden, yet, you’re saying? WIKING: In Sweden, in Denmark, in Norway, in those countries that have accepted immigrants. DUBNER: Has it been long enough, though, to know? Like with the refugees, coming primarily from Syria and Iraq, that’s relatively recent. WIKING: That’s true. But — DUBNER: And I also wonder — when I see those numbers, I wonder whether those refugees are part of the survey on social trust? Do we know? WIKING: They are. But now it’s refugees from Syria. But when I grew up, it was refugees from Vietnam. Then, in the ‘90s, it was refugees from Bosnia. Then also in the ‘70s, it was not refugees, but migrant workers from Turkey. So we’ve had a lot of different waves of migrants, it’s not a new phenomenon. And I don’t see evidence that trust had fallen in the Nordic countries, in that time. DUBNER: I’ve read and heard from people who move here either as highly skilled workers or as refugees, that Denmark works great if you’re Danish. And that it’s much harder — and granted, most countries are this way — but one particular complaint in Scandinavia is that even when you’re being treated fairly and given opportunities, economic and educational opportunities, and so on, it can be very, very hard to break into the society. WIKING: Yes. And that’s what I hear also from expats living here, from my international friends, that it’s very, very difficult to penetrate the social circles in Denmark and Scandinavia. So it takes a lot of effort, it takes a lot of time. It’s a really, really tight-knit network, and it’s also a very small country. And people still live down the block from people who they know from, they were in kindergarten together. SACHS: I believe that social, linguistic, ethnic, religious homogeneity probably is conducive to the social democratic model, but I don’t believe that diversity is a barrier to it.

The economist Jeff Sachs again. The 2018 edition of the World Happiness Report focused on migration and happiness. One finding, he says, jumped out at his team of researchers. SACHS: People who move from a poor, unhappy, violence-filled country to a happy Nordic country become like the Nordic citizens in the country. They do carry some of the legacy of the country that they came from. But the adjustment is remarkably fast.

But of course the adjustment depends on how welcoming a new country is. SACHS: It matters to go to a country where people are desirous and accepting of in- migration. I’m happy to say that, despite what might appear to be the case in Trump-land right now, Americans rank rather high on acceptability of migrants and still do, and I think that’s a wonderful thing. What I find fascinating about the social democracies — and Denmark is a good example of this — there’s a very strong anti-migrant party in Denmark that is also very economically and socially left-of-center. So it’s basically social democracy, but for the Danish people, not for migrants. Whereas in the United States — and in many other countries — we tend to think of anti-immigrant also as being right-wing. But Scandinavia has, “Yeah, we love our social democracy, but it’s just for us.” WIKING: It’s also important to say here that, you know, Denmark, as you have seen, is by no means a utopia.

Meik Wiking again. WIKING: First and foremost, it’s important to note that the World Happiness Report, that is based on a national average. So you have people above that average and below that average. DUBNER: And the suicide rate here, for instance, is not wildly low — in fact it’s somewhere in the middle, correct? WIKING: Yeah, you would expect that the happiest countries in the world have a suicide rate of zero. DUBNER: Although truthfully, the data show that there is a paradox, in that suicide increases with well-being and prosperity, yeah? WIKING: So, if you look at the U.S. states, the individual states, the higher level of life satisfaction, the higher level of suicide rates. DUBNER: The most compelling explanation of suicide I’ve ever heard about — discussed with the fellow who promulgates it — because we don’t really know that much about suicide, because it’s taboo, the research is very distant and so on. But he calls it the “no-one-left-to- blame” theory. Which is that if you have problems in life, but you’ve got a toxic environment or a nasty government, you can always imagine that life will get a lot better. But if you’re surrounded by happy, shiny people and you’re not happy and shiny, it can be — so can you talk about that notion in a place that’s so happy? WIKING: Yeah. So there is a term, “the happiness-suicide paradox,” that talks about exactly that — that it might be more difficult to be unhappy in an otherwise happy society. If everybody around you feels that life is great, that are oh-so-happy, and you yourself feel unhappy, then that could create a stronger contrast and maybe you start to blame yourself. And more developed countries have reduced the reasons why we should be unhappy. You

know, eliminate poverty, have eliminated lack of education — then if I have all these opportunities, why am I still unhappy? We start to internalize that cause and blame ourselves.

Helen Russell, the British expat, has now lived in Denmark for six years. You may recall that she and her husband had been trying, unsuccessfully, to have children back at home. RUSSELL: We had been trying to start a family for years, trying many different types of fertility treatment. But it never quite worked, and the only feedback I kept getting from various medical professionals was, “Oh, you know, we don’t know what it is, but you’re quite stressed, and” — but everyone in London is stressed. It’s city life, it’s what you do. So you just carry on. Life is busy. We just carry on. DUBNER: Then you moved to Denmark. I understand now, you have not one, but three children. So is Denmark also somehow a fertility engine — how did that work? RUSSELL: I am now riddled with children, you are quite right. I have a litter. Yeah, I think — so, full disclosure: child number one, Little Red, I found out I was pregnant six months after moving here. And so, he — yeah, that is a result of being more relaxed, and that is an incredible thing. Also the work-life balance is more conducive to being relaxed enough to conceive, and also to having a family here. Women can have a career and a family because everything’s shared a bit more equally between the sexes, and there is this heavily subsidized child care. I actually had I.V.F. for my twins who were born last year. But again, it’s cheaper to have I.V.F. here than it certainly would have been in the U.K.. And interestingly, Denmark is one of the biggest exporters of sperm, so there’s a lot of genetically Danish babies that will be coming around the place in the next few years.

This suggests a nice study for some demographer out there — to see whether all those genetically Danish babies will go spreading happiness around the globe. In the meantime, Helen Russell has also adapted to the Danish style of parenting. RUSSELL: I do leave my children outside to sleep. DUBNER: Not overnight, presumably. RUSSELL: Not overnight, no. I mean, I might forget one day, but no, just for nap times. And they do sleep really well, because of the fresh air, and they’re all bundled up in their old- fashioned prams, Mary Poppins-style.

Thanks to Helen Russell, Jeffrey Sachs, and Meik Wiking for speaking with us. Freakonomics Radio is produced by Stitcher and Dubner Productions. This episode was produced by Max Miller and Anders Kelto, with help from Alvin Melathe, and a special thanks to Denmark Radio for helping us out in Vejle. Our staff also includes Alison Craiglow, Greg Rosalsky, Greg Rippin, Harry Huggins, Zack Lapinski, and Andy Meisenheimer. The music you hear throughout the episode was composed by Luis

Guerra. You can subscribe to Freakonomics Radio on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. Here’s where you can learn more about the people and ideas in this episode: SOURCES

  • Helen Russell, journalist and author.
  • Jeffrey Sachs, economist at Columbia University.
  • Meik Wiking, author and CEO of The Happiness Research Institute.


  • “World Happiness Report 2018,” edited by John F. Helliwell, Richard Layard and Jeffrey D. Sachs (2018).
  • The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country by Helen Russell (Icon Books Ltd 2015).
  • The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking (William Morrow 2017).


  • “The Year of Hygge, the Danish Obsession with Getting Cozy,” Anna Altman, The New Yorker (December 18, 2016).
  • “Trust Me,” Freakonomics Radio (2016).
  • “The Dark Side of Happiness,” Meik Wiking, TEDxCopenhagen (May 10, 2016).

From: Freaconoist.com

California bans for-profit charter schools

Image result for charter school cartoon

By KATY MURPHY | kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com | Bay Area News Group

PUBLISHED: September 7, 2018 at 4:00 pm | UPDATED: September 8, 2018 at 3:34 am

SACRAMENTO — California has just kicked for-profit management companies out of the charter school business.

A bill signed into law Friday afternoon prohibits companies from managing or running the state’s taxpayer-funded, independently run charter schools. Assembly Bill 406 was inspired, in part, by an investigation by this news organization into allegations of profiteering at the expense of children’s educations.

The 2016 news investigation focused on K12 Inc., a for-profit company based in Virginia and traded on Wall Street that manages publicly funded charter schools in California and other states. The K12-run network,  California Virtual Academies, with an enrollment of roughly 15,000, graduated fewer than half of its high school students, and some teachers said they were pressured to inflate grades and enrollment records.

The bill by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, was the latest of several attempts to crack down on the industry, including schools such as California Virtual Academies that are technically nonprofits but are controlled by corporate interests. A rare alliance of teachers’ unions and the state’s charter school trade association — which originally opposed the legislation but eventually supported it — pushed it across the finish line.

“With support from (the California Charter Schools Association), the Governor sent a clear message today: There’s no room for profits in public education,” said Jed Wallace, the association’s president and CEO. “Charter schools are an integral part of California’s public school system. We are thrilled that our state has embraced a thriving charter school sector that is public, free, open to all, and 100 percent operated by non-profit organizations.”

California currently has about 35 such charter schools, according to McCarty’s office. In 2016 K12 settled a lawsuit with the state for $168.5 million over claims that it manipulated attendance records and other measures of student success.

A spokesman for K12 Inc. was not immediately available for comment.

The law takes effect July 1. The relatively small number of schools run or managed by for-profit companies will be allowed to remain open as long as they show they have nonprofit management by the time their charter is next up to be renewed.

Democratic socialism surging in the age of Trump

PBS NEWS – Politics Jul 21, 2018 9:55 AM EDT

PORTLAND, Maine — Last Friday, Maine Democrat Zak Ringelstein wasn’t ready to consider himself a formal member of the Democratic Socialists of America, even if he appreciated the organization’s values and endorsement in his bid to become a United States senator.

As Donald Trump’s presidency stretches into its second year, democratic socialism has become a significant force in Democratic politics.

Three days later, he told The Associated Press that was ready to become the only major-party Senate candidate in the nation to be a dues-paying democratic socialist.

The swift evolution is latest evidence of a nationwide surge in the strength and popularity of an organization that, until recently, operated on the fringes of the liberal movement’s farthest left flank. But as Donald Trump’s presidency stretches into its second year, democratic socialism has become a significant force in Democratic politics. Its rise comes as Democrats debate whether moving too far left will turn off voters.

“I stand with the democratic socialists, and I have decided to become a dues-paying member,” Ringelstein told the AP. “It’s time to do what’s right, even if it’s not easy.”

There are 42 men and women running for offices at the federal, state and local levels this year with the formal endorsement of the Democratic Socialists of America, the organization says. They span 20 states, including Florida, Hawaii, Kansas and Michigan.

The most ambitious Democrats in Washington have been reluctant to embrace the label, even as they embrace the policies defining modern-day democratic socialism: Medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage, free college tuition and the abolition of the federal department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Congress’ only self-identified democratic socialist, campaigned Friday with the movement’s newest star, New York City congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old former bartender who defeated one of the most powerful House Democrats last month.

READ NEXT: Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez to rally Democrats in deep-red Kansas

Her victory poured gasoline onto a fire that was already beginning to burn brighter. The DSA’s paid membership has hovered around 6,000 in recent years, said Allie Cohn, a member of the group’s national political team.

Last week, its paid membership hit 45,000 nationwide.

There is little distinction made between the terms “democratic socialism” and “socialism” in the group’s literature. While Ringelstein and other DSA-backed candidates promote a “big-tent” philosophy, the DSA constitution describes their members as socialists who “reject an economic order based on private profit” and “share a vision of a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, feminism, racial equality and non-oppressive relationships.”

Members during public meetings often refer to each other “comrades,” wear clothing featuring socialist symbols like the rose and promote authors such as Karl Marx.

The common association with the Soviet Union, the first state to adopt a form of socialism, has made it difficult for sympathetic liberals to explain their connection.

“I don’t like the term socialist, because people do associate that with bad things in history,” said Kansas congressional candidate James Thompson, who is endorsed by the DSA and campaigned alongside Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez, but is not a dues-paying democratic socialist. “There’s definitely a lot of their policies that closely align with mine.”

The policies defining modern-day democratic socialism: Medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage, free college tuition and the abolition of the federal department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE.

Thompson, an Army veteran turned civil rights attorney, is running again after narrowly losing a special election last year to fill the seat vacated by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Even in deep-red Kansas, he embraces policies like “Medicare for all” and is openly critical of capitalism.

In Hawaii, 29-year-old state Rep. Kaniela Ing isn’t shy about promoting his status as a democratic socialist in his bid for Congress. He said he was encouraged to run for higher office by the same activist who recruited Ocasio-Cortez.

“We figured just lean in hard,” Kaniela told the AP of the democratic socialist label. He acknowledged some baby boomers may be scared away, but said the policies democratic socialists promote — like free health care and economic equality — aren’t extreme.

Republicans, meanwhile, are encouraged by the rise of democratic socialism — for a far different reason. They have seized on what they view as a leftward lurch by Democrats they predict will alienate voters this fall and in the 2020 presidential race.

The Republican National Committee eagerly notes that Sanders’ plan to provide free government-sponsored health care for all Americans had no co-sponsors in 2013. Today, more than one-third of Senate Democrats and two-thirds of House Democrats have signed onto the proposal, which by one estimate could cost taxpayers as much as $32 trillion.

The co-sponsors include 2020 presidential prospects such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and California Sen. Kamala Harris.

Spokesmen confirmed that none of the senators consider themselves democratic socialists, but made no effort to distance from the movement’s priorities.

Most support the push to abolish ICE, which enforces immigration laws and led the Trump administration’s recent push to separate immigrant families at U.S.-Mexico border.

Of the group, only Booker hasn’t called for ICE to be abolished, replaced or rebuilt. Yet Booker’s office notes that he’s among the few senators backing a plan to guarantee government-backed jobs to unemployed adults in high-unemployment communities across America.

“Half of voters already think the Democratic Party is too extreme, so embracing socialist policies like government-run health care, a guaranteed jobs program and open borders will only make Democrats more out of touch,” RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel said.

Despite Ocasio-Cortez’s recent success, most DSA-endorsed candidates have struggled.

Gayle McLaughlin finished eighth in last month’s Democratic primary to become California’s lieutenant governor, earning just 4 percent of the vote. All three endorsed candidates for Maryland’s Montgomery County Council lost last month as well. And Ryan Fenwick was blown out by 58 points in his run to become mayor of Louisville, Kentucky.

Ringelstein, a 32-year-old political neophyte, is expected to struggle in his campaign to unseat Maine Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats. He is refusing to accept donations from lobbyists or corporate political action committees, which has made fundraising a grind. At the end of June, King’s campaign reported $2.4 million cash on hand while Ringelstein had just $23,000.

He has tapped into the party’s national progressive movement and the southern Maine chapter of the DSA for the kind of grassroots support that fueled Ocasio-Cortez’s victory. As he has almost every month this year, Ringelstein attended the group’s monthly meeting at Portland’s city hall last Monday.

More than 60 people packed into the room. The group’s chairman, 25-year-old union organizer Meg Reilly, wore a t-shirt featuring three roses.

She cheered the “comrades” softball team’s recent season before moving into an agenda that touched on climate change legislation, a book share program “to further your socialist education,” and an exchange program that lets community members swap favors such as jewelry repair, pet sitting or cooking.

Near the end of the two-hour gathering, Ringelstein formally thanked the group for “standing shoulder to shoulder with us throughout this entire campaign.”

“We could win a U.S. Senate seat!” he said. “I want to say that over and over. We could win a U.S. Senate seat! So, let’s do this.”

UNiversal Declaration of Human Rights

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

What is Social Democracy

A book about ideas and challenges by Ingvar Carlsson and Anne-Marie Lindgren

Published by Arbetarrörelsens Tankesmedja and the publishing house Idé och Tendens Barnhusgatan 16, 3 tr S-111 23 Stockholm Sweden www.arbetarrorelsenstankesmedja.se

Printing house: Sjuhäradsbygdens Tryckeri AB, Borås, Sweden, 2007 ISBN 978-91-976756-0-4


Every social democrat has his or her own personal answer to the question of what social democracy stands for. Social democracy is not and never has been a party with a fixed body of dogmas that every member must swear by. It has a tradition of ideas shaped by more than a hundred years of theoretical debate and practical politics, the development of which can be followed in the party manifestos. This collection of ideas covers values and social analysis, dreams about the society of tomorrow and practical policies for the society of today. This booklet describes this tradition of ideas: how it has developed and how it can be used to understand the period of change that society and policy has now entered. In this sense it is an introduction to the history of ideas and the discussion of ideas within social democracy. It is of course also a personal answer to the question of what social democracy stands for. Furthermore, it is a contribution to a debate on the future of social democracy, a world that has changed much both in relation to the society that saw the birth of the Labour Movement and the world in which social democracy implemented its big reforms, but in which the issues of equality and solidarity are as topical now as they were then. The book can be seen as a synthesis of our many decades of experience of social democratic discussions of ideas and practical social democratic policy against changing, external conditions and a very varied discussion climate. A reappraisal has sometimes been necessary – but never of the fundamental values or underlying outlook on society.

Stockholm, February 2007



By:Andrew Fiala

The heart of tolerance is self-control. When we tolerate an activity, we resist our urge to forcefully prohibit the expression of activities that we find unpleasant.  More abstractly, toleration can be understood as a political practice aiming at neutrality, objectivity, or fairness on the part of political agents. These ideas are related in that the goal of political neutrality is deliberate restraint of the power that political authorities have to negate the life activities of its citizens and subjects. Related to toleration is the virtue of tolerance, which can be defined as a tendency toward toleration. Toleration is usually grounded upon an assumption about the importance of the autonomy of individuals. This assumption and the idea of toleration are central ideas in modern liberal theory and practice.

The virtue of toleration is implicit in Socrates’ method of allowing many diverse perspectives to be expressed. In  seventeenth century Europe, the concept of tolerance was developed as liberal thinkers sought to limit the coercive actions of government and the Church. They argued that human beings are fallible and should have epistemic modesty. Further, an individual know his or her interests best  and requires tolerance by others in order to find the best way to live.

The following article provides a conceptual and historical overview of the concept of toleration, surveying thinkers such as Socrates, John Locke, John Stuart Mill, Immanuel Kant, John Rawls and other contemporary political philosophers who have weighed in on this important yet problematic idea.

Table of Contents

  1. Conceptual Analysis

  2. Historical Development

    1. Early History

    2. The 17th Century

    3. The 18th Century

    4. The 19th Century

    5. The 20th Century

  3. Epistemological Toleration

    1. Socrates

    2. Milton

    3. Locke

    4. Mill

    5. The Problem of Relativism

  4. Moral Toleration

    1. The Paradox of Toleration

    2. Tolerance vs. Indifference

  5. Political Toleration

    1. John Rawls

    2. Risks and Benefits

  6. References and Further Reading

1. Conceptual Analysis

The English words, ‘tolerate’, ‘toleration’, and ‘tolerance’ are derived from the Latin terms tolerare and tolerantia, which imply enduring, suffering, bearing, and forbearance. Ancient Greek terms, which may also have influenced philosophical thinking on toleration, include: phoretos which means bearable, endurable, or phoreo, literally ‘to carry’; and anektikos meaning bearable, sufferable, tolerable, from anexo, ‘to hold up’.

Today, when we say that someone has a ‘high tolerance for pain,’ we mean that he or she is able to endure pain. This ordinary way of thinking is useful for understanding the idea of toleration and the virtue of tolerance: it underscores the fact that toleration is directed by an agent toward something perceived as negative. It would be odd to say, for example, that someone has a high tolerance for pleasure.

With this in mind, we can formulate a general definition of toleration that involves three interrelated conditions. When an agent tolerates something:

(1) the agent holds a negative judgment about this thing;

(2) the agent has the power to negate this thing; and

(3) the agent deliberately refrains from negation.

The first condition requires a negative judgment, which can be anything from disapproval to disgust. Judgment here is meant to be a broad concept that can include emotions, dispositions, tastes, and reasoned evaluations. This negative judgment inclines the agent toward a negative action toward the thing that is perceived as being negative. This broadly Stoic conception of judgment is a common assumption in discussions of toleration. Defenders of toleration assume that we can, to a certain extent, voluntarily control the expression of our negative reactions by opposing them with different, countervailing, judgments. Although judgments and emotions are both thought to have motivating force, they can be resisted by some other judgment, habit or virtue.

The entity toward which an agent has a negative judgment can be an event, an object, or a person, although with regard to tolerance as a moral and political disposition, the entity is usually thought to be a person. Although we speak of tolerating pain, for example, the moral and political emphasis is on tolerating some other person, a group of people, or their activities.

The second condition states that the agent has the power to negate the entity in question. Toleration is concerned with resisting the temptation to actively negate the thing in question. To distinguish toleration from cowardice or weakness of will the agent must have some capacity to enact his negative judgment. Toleration occurs when the agent could actively negate or destroy the person or object in question, but chooses not to.

The word negate is used here in a broad sense that allows for a variety of negative reactions. Negative actions can include: expressions of condemnation, acts of avoidance, or violent attacks. The continuum of negations is decidedly vague. It is not clear, for example, whether condemnation and avoidance are negations of the same sort as violent action. Despite the vagueness of the continuum of negative activities, the focal point of the second criterion is the power to negate: toleration is restraint of the power to negate.

The third condition states that the agent deliberately refrains from exercising his power to negate. Tolerant agents deliberately choose not to negate those things they view negatively. The negative formulation, ‘not negating,’ is important because toleration is not the same thing as positive evaluation, approbation, or approval.

Tolerant restraint of the negative judgment is supposed to be free and deliberate: one refrains from negating the thing because one has a reason not to negate it and is free to act. Good reasons for toleration are plural. They include: respect for autonomy; a general commitment to pacifism; concern for other virtues such as kindness and generosity; pedagogical concerns; a desire for reciprocity; and a sense of modesty about one’s ability to judge the beliefs and actions of others. Each of these provides us with a reason for thinking that it is good not to negate the thing in question. As mentioned already, there also may be other non-tolerant reasons for refraining from negation: fear, weakness of will, profit motive, self-interest, arrogance, and so forth.

Although there are many reasons to be tolerant, traditional discussions have emphasized respect for autonomy and pedagogical concerns. Underlying both of these approaches is often a form of self-conscious philosophical modesty that is linked to the value of respect for autonomy. As John Stuart Mill and others have argued, individuals ought to be left to pursue their own good in their own way in part because each individual knows himself and his own needs and interests best. This view does, however, leave us with a lingering problem as toleration can easily slip toward moral skepticism and relativism. It is important to note then that toleration is a positive value that is not based upon total moral skepticism. Proponents of toleration think that toleration is good not because they are unsure of their moral values but, rather, because toleration fits within a scheme of moral values that includes values such as autonomy, peace, cooperation, and other values that are thought to be good for human flourishing.

2. Historical Development

a. Early History

The spirit of tolerance is evident in Socrates’ dialogical method as a component of his search for truth. Throughout the early Platonic dialogues, Socrates tolerantly allows his interlocutors to pursue the truth wherever this pursuit might lead. And he encourages his interlocutors to offer refutations so that the truth might be revealed. Sometimes Socrates’ tolerance can appear to go too far. The Euthyrphro concludes, for example, with Socrates allowing Euthyphro to proceed in the prosecution of a questionable court case. And Socrates’ relationship with Alcibiades, as discussed in the Symposium, shows Socrates as perhaps too tolerant toward this reckless Athenian youth. In the Gorgias (at 458a) Socrates describes himself in terms that establish a link between philosophical method and a form of toleration. Socrates says,

And what kind of man am I? One of those who would gladly be refuted if anything I say is not true, and would gladly refute another who says what is not true, but would be no less happy to be refuted myself than to refute, for I consider that a greater benefit, inasmuch as it is a greater boon to be delivered from the worst of evils oneself than to deliver another.

For Socrates, then, the pursuit of truth is linked to an open mind, although of course this form of dialogical toleration is supposed to lead to a unitary vision of the truth.

One can see a more developed form of tolerance celebrated in the Stoicism of Epictetus (55-135 C.E.) and Marcus Aurelius (121-180 C.E.). The Stoic idea is that we should focus on those things we can control—our own opinions and behaviors—while ignoring those things we cannot control, especially the opinions and behaviors of others. The Stoic idea is linked to resignation and apathy, as is clear in the case of Epictetus, whose social position—raised as a Roman slave—might explain his advice about bearing and forbearing. Of course, the problem here is that slavish forbearance is not the same as tolerance: it seems clear that tolerance properly requires the power to negate, which the slave does not possess. With the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, however, tolerance is seen as a virtue of power. Tolerance might be linked to other virtues of power such as mercy and benevolence, as suggested, for example by Seneca. However, it is important to note that the Stoic approach to tolerance was not explicitly linked to a general idea about political respect for autonomy and freedom of conscience, as it is in the modern liberal tradition. Moreover, Roman political life was not nearly as tolerant as modern political life. For example, although Marcus’ Meditations contain many passages invoking the spirit of tolerance, Marcus was responsible for continuing the persecution of Christians.

Religious traditions provide further historical background for the idea of toleration. For example, the spirit of tolerance can be discovered in the Christian Gospel’s message of loving enemies, forgiving others, and refraining from judging others. Christian tolerance is linked to other virtues such as charity and self-sacrifice. Furthermore, it seems to go beyond tolerance toward a self-abnegating type of love and acceptance. Christ’s command to love your enemies is one example of this attempt to go beyond tolerance. It should be noted that other religious traditions also contain resources for developing toleration. For example, Buddhist compassion can be linked to the idea of toleration. Indeed, in the third century B.C.E., the Buddhist emperor of India, Ashoka, called for official religious toleration. Likewise, in the 16th Century C.E., the Islamic emperor Akhbar made a similar attempt at establishing religious toleration on the Indian subcontinent.

Despite these antecedents, toleration does not become a serious subject of philosophical and political concern in Europe until the 16th and 17th Centuries. During the Renaissance and Reformation of the 15th and 16th Centuries, humanists such as Erasmus (1466-1536), De Las Casas (1484-1566), and Montaigne (1533-1592) asserted the autonomy of human reason against the dogmatism of the Church. Although religious authorities reacted with the formation of the Inquisition and the Index of Forbidden Books, by the 17th Century philosophers were seriously considering the question of toleration.

b. The 17th Century

Following the divisions created by the Lutheran Reformation and the Counter-Reformation, Europe was decimated by war and violence fomented in the name of religion, which culminated in the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). Through events such as these scholars became acutely aware of the destructive power of intolerance and sought to limit this destructive force by re-examining the biblical roots of toleration and by re-considering the relation between religious belief and political power. Additional influences on the cultural landscape of Europe during this time include the struggle to define sovereignty and to “purify” religion in Britain during the British Civil Wars (1640-1660), as well as increased information about cultural differences with the beginning of global exploration. Among the thinkers of this period, those who defended tolerance were Milton (1608-1674), Bayle (1647-1706), Spinoza (1634-1677), and Locke (1632-1704).

One of the worries of the humanist thinkers of the Reformation was whether it was possible to have infallible knowledge of the Divine Will such that one could justify the persecution of heretics. This concern with human fallibility lies at the heart of what will be described subsequently as “epistemological toleration.” When recognition of human fallibility is combined with critique of political and ecclesiastical power, more robust forms of political toleration develop.

In this vein, Spinoza concluded his Theological-Political Treatise (1670) with an argument for freedom of thought. It is not surprising that Spinoza should have written this treatise, for he was himself a product of a tolerant society: he was a Portuguese Jew living in Holland. Indeed, the 17thCentury saw the rise of toleration in practice in certain parts of Europe, perhaps as a result of increased trade and social mobility. Spinoza’s argument for toleration focuses on three claims: first, he claims that it is impossible for the state to effectively curtail liberty of thought; second, he claims that liberty of thought can in fact be allowed without detriment to state power; and finally, Spinoza argues that political authority should focus on controlling actions and not on restricting thought. This emphasis on the difference between thought and action is crucial for subsequent discussions of toleration in Locke, Mill, and Kant.

Somewhat different versions of Spinoza’s basic insights can be found in Locke’s famous Letter Concerning Toleration (1689), an essay that was written during Locke’s exile in Holland. Locke’s argument focuses specifically on the conflict between political authority and religious belief. He articulated a view of toleration based on the epistemological claim that it is impossible for the state to coerce genuine religious belief. He argued that the state should refrain from interfering in the religious beliefs of its subjects, except when these religious beliefs lead to behaviors or attitudes that run counter to the security of the state. This exception allowed him to conclude that the state need not tolerate Catholics who were loyal to a foreign authority or atheists whose lack of religious conviction left them entirely untrustworthy.

c. The 18th Century

In the 18th Century, discussion of toleration was tied to the problem of skepticism and to a more sustained critique of absolutism in politics. Voltaire (1694-1778), who expressed his admiration for the development of religious tolerance in England in his Philosophical Letters (1734), was extremely worried about the tendency of religion to become violent and intolerant. Moreover, he suffered under the intolerant hands of the French authorities: he was thrown in jail for his views and his books were censored and publicly burned. Religious tolerance forms the theme of his Treatise on Tolerance (1763), which argues vigorously for tolerance even though it retains a bias toward Christianity. A concise summary of Voltaire’s argument for tolerance can be found in the entry on Tolerance in his Philosophical Dictionary (1764). Voltaire’s claim is that toleration follows from human frailty and error. Since none of us has perfect knowledge, and since we are all weak, inconsistent, liable to fickleness and error, we should pardon one another for our failings. Voltaire’s approach focuses on tolerance at the level of personal interaction and risks slipping toward moral skepticism and relativism: like his contemporary David Hume (1711-1777), Voltaire presented a skeptical challenge to orthodox belief.

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), in response to skeptics such as Voltaire and Hume, tried to avoid skepticism while focusing on the limits of human knowledge and the limits of political power. In his essay, “What is Enlightenment?” (1784), Kant argues for an enlightened form of political power that would allow subjects to argue among themselves, so long as they remained obedient to authority. This position is further clarified by Kant’s claim in Perpetual Peace (1795) that philosophers should be allowed and encouraged to speak publicly. Kant’s point in this later essay is that public debate and discussion lead to the truth, and that kings should have nothing to fear from the truth. Kant’s views on religious toleration are clarified in his Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone (1793). Here Kant argues against religious intolerance by pointing out that although we are certain of our moral duties, human beings do not have apodictic certainty of God’s commands. Thus a religious belief that demands a contravention of morality (such as the burning of a heretic) can never be justified.

Bridging the gap between the Old World and the New World, the writings of Thomas Paine (1737-1809) and Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) express a theory of toleration that is tied directly to political practice. Paine’s and Jefferson’s ideas followed Locke’s. Not only were they critical of unrestrained political power but they were also committed to an ecumenical approach to religious belief known as deism. Paine makes it clear in his Rights of Man (1791) that toleration for religious diversity is essential because political and ecclesiastical authorities do not have the capacity to adjudicate matters of conscience. “Mind thine own concerns. If he believes not as thou believest, it is a proof that thou believest not as he believeth, and there is no earthly power can determine between you.”

At the end of the 18th Century, we see tolerant ideas embodied in practice in the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights—the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution (ratified in 1791). Collectively these amendments serve to restrain political power. Specifically, the First Amendment states that there can be no law, which prohibits freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and freedom to petition to the government. Subsequent developments in U.S. Constitutional law have led to a tradition of respect for citizens’ freedom of thought, speech, and action.

d. The 19th Century

In the 19th Century, the idea of toleration was developed further in line with the liberal, enlightenment idea that moral autonomy is essential to human flourishing. The most famous argument for toleration in the 19th Century was made by John Stuart Mill in On Liberty (1859). Mill argues here that the only proper limit of liberty is harm: one is entitled to be as free as possible, except where one’s liberty poses a threat to the well-being of someone else: “the only purpose for which power can rightfully be exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”

Mill expands the notion of privacy that was implicit in Locke and Kant to argue that political power should have no authority to regulate those activities and interests of individuals that are purely private and have no secondary effects on others. Mill also vigorously argues that freedom of thought is essential for the development of knowledge. Mill’s general approach is utilitarian: he claims that individuals will be happier if their private differences are tolerated and that society in general will be better off if individuals are left to pursue their own good in their own way.

In the 19th Century and into the early 20th Century, religious toleration was also a subject of consideration for thinkers such as Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), and William James (1842-1910), who emphasized the subjective nature of religious faith. For example, in his Varieties of Religious Experience (1902), James argued that religious experience was diverse and not subject to a definitive interpretation. Although this fits with James’s larger metaphysical commitment to pluralism, his point is that religious commitment is personal—a matter of what he calls in another essay, “the will to believe.” It is up to each individual to decide for himself what he will believe: if we properly understand the nature of religious belief, we should respect the religious liberty of others and learn to tolerate our differences.

e. The 20th Century

In the 20th Century, toleration has become an important component of what is now known as liberal theory. The bloody history of the 20th Century has led many to believe that toleration is needed to end political and religious violence. Toleration has been defended by liberal philosophers and political theorists such as John Dewey, Isaiah Berlin, Karl Popper, Michael Walzer, Ronald Dworkin, and John Rawls. It has been criticized by Herbert Marcuse and others such as Iris Young who worry that toleration and its ideal of state neutrality is merely another hegemonic Western ideology. Toleration has been the explicit subject of many recent works in political philosophy by Susan Mendus, John Horton, Preston King, and Bernard Williams. Much of the current discussion focuses on responding to John Rawls, whose theory of “political liberalism” conceives of toleration as a pragmatic response to the fact of diversity (see “Political Toleration” below). A recurring question in the current debate is whether there can be a more substantive commitment to toleration that does not lead to the paradoxical consequence that the tolerant must tolerate those who are intolerant.

Further recent discussion, by David Heyd, Glenn Newey, and others, has attempted to re-establish the link between tolerance and virtue. These writers wonder whether tolerance is in fact a virtue and if so, what sort of a virtue it is. A concern for racial equality, gender neutrality, an end of prejudice, respect for cultural and ethnic difference, and a general commitment to multiculturalism has fueled ongoing debates about the nature of toleration in our age of globalization and homogenization. Finally, in the U.S., First Amendment Law has developed to allow for a broad idea of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion. And under the influence of an interpretation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, mechanisms to ensure equality have given support to those minority groups who were once the victims of political intolerance.

3. Epistemological Toleration

An epistemological argument for toleration can be traced to Socrates. However, this ideal becomes explicit in the thinking of Milton, Locke, and Mill. The epistemological claim is that one should tolerate the opinions and beliefs of the other because it is either impossible to coerce belief or because such coercion is not the most useful pedagogical approach. This idea can be developed into a claim about the importance of diversity, dialogue, and debate for the establishment of truth. Finally, this approach might lead to a form of relativism or skepticism that puts the idea of toleration itself at risk.

a. Socrates

Socratic tolerance is discovered if we take seriously Socrates’ claims to ignorance. Socratic ignorance is linked to virtues, such as sophrosyne (self-control), modesty and tolerance. These virtues are essential components in the formation of the philosophical community and the pursuit of philosophical truth. Throughout Plato’s dialogues, Socrates restrains himself deliberately—he modestly claims ignorance and allows others to develop their own positions and make their own mistakes—out of recognition that this is the best, perhaps the only, way to proceed in the communal pursuit of truth. Socrates’ main goal is to discover the truth through open-minded debate. But there would be no dialogue and indeed no education without tolerance. Socrates’ commitment to tolerance is part of his epistemological faith in the autonomy of reason. We each must discover the truth for ourselves by way of disciplined, modest, and tolerant dialogue.

b. Milton

Centuries later, John Milton’s Areopagitica (1644) offers a similar defense of the truth. Milton vigorously defended freedom of speech in response to a censorship decree of the English parliament. His argument relies upon the epistemological claim that open dialogue supported by a tolerant government fosters the development of truth. Milton’s basic assumption is that the truth is able to defend itself in a free debate. “Let truth and falsehood grapple; who ever knew truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?” Milton further argues that outward conformity to orthodoxy is not the same as genuine belief.

c. Locke

These ideas were developed further by Locke in his Letter Concerning Toleration. Locke argues that the civil and ecclesiastical authorities ought to tolerate diversity of belief because one cannot force another human being to have faith. In a claim that is reminiscent of Milton, Locke claims “the truth certainly would do well enough if she were left to shift for herself… She is not taught by laws, nor has she any need of force to procure her entrance into the minds of men.” This is so because the authority of judgment resides within the free individual. It is impossible to force someone to believe something for external reasons. Rather, truth must be arrived at and believed for internal reasons.

This epistemological claim is the focal point of Jeremy Waldron’s recent critique of Locke’s account. Waldron claims that Locke’s argument is weak because it relies upon the false assumption that beliefs cannot be coerced. The point is that we often believe things quite sincerely without any good reason whatsoever. Moreover, Waldron argues that the epistemological argument is too weak to provide a moral limitation on coercion. Even though coercion cannot produce genuine belief, an intolerant regime may not be interested in producing genuine belief. It may simply be interested in guaranteeing conformity. Waldron’s point is important: the epistemological critique is useful only if one is committed to the claim that genuine belief in the truth is an important political or moral value. An epistemological argument for toleration must claim not only that it is impractical or impossible to impose belief upon others, but also that we ought to value genuine commitment over mere conformity.

d. Mill

Mill’s epistemological argument is quite similar to Locke’s, although Mill goes farther in advocating freedom of speech as essential for the discovery of truth. Mill’s epistemological argument begins with the assumption that individuals know best what is good for them. This claim runs counter to the traditional Platonic claim that often individuals do not know what is in their own best interest. Mill supports his claim by pointing out that the individual always has the best access to his/her own interests and desires: others do not have access to the kinds of internal evidence that would allow them to judge for the individual. It is important to note that Mill does not equate this access problem with relativism. Indeed, in his essay Utilitarianism (1863), he famously defends a hierarchy of goods based on the fact that those who have experienced both “lower” and “higher” goods will prefer the higher ones (for example, “it is better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied”). The epistemological point remains the same here, however: it is up to the individual to judge for himself about what is good for him.

Mill’s general argument for freedom of thought is based upon a recognition of human fallibility and on the need for dialogue and debate. Mill’s argument for freedom of thought in On Liberty contains the following claims. (1) Silenced opinions may be true. To assume they are not is to assume that we are infallible. (2) Even false opinions may contain valid points of contention and parts of the truth. To know the whole of truth we might have to weave together parts of truth from different sources. (3) To claim to know the truth means that we are able to defend it against all vigorous opposition. Thus we need to be able to hear and respond to false opinions in order to know all of the arguments for a proposition. (4) Truth that is not continuously and vigorously contested becomes mere superstition. Such dogmatically held superstitions may thus crumble before even weak opposition and will not be heartily believed or defended.

e. The Problem of Relativism

Like Socrates, Mill and Locke both arrive at the notion of toleration from a non-relativistic understanding of belief and truth. However, under the general rubric of epistemological toleration we might also include the sort of toleration that follows from skepticism or relativism. For the relativist or skeptic, since we cannot know the truth or since all truths are relative, we ought to be tolerant of those who hold different points of view. Contemporary American philosopher, Richard Rorty has articulated an argument something like this. The problem with this approach is the same problem with all sorts of skepticism and relativism: either the claim self-referentially undermines itself or it provides us with no compelling reason to believe it. If we are skeptical about knowledge, then we have no way of knowing that toleration is good. Likewise, if truth is relative to a system of thought, then the claim that toleration is required is itself merely a relatively justified claim. The form of epistemological toleration espoused by Mill, at least, attempts to avoid these problems by appealing to a form of fallibilism that is not completely skeptical or relativistic. Mill’s point is not that there is no truth but, rather, that toleration is required for us to come to know the truth.

4. Moral Toleration

We have seen that epistemological concerns can lead us to toleration. Moral concerns can also bring us to toleration. Tolerance as a moral virtue might be linked to other moral virtues such as modesty and self-control. However, the most common moral value that is thought to ground toleration is a concern for autonomy. We ought to refrain from negating the other when concern for the other’s autonomy provides us with a good reason not to act. Toleration that follows from a commitment to autonomy should not be confused with moral relativism. Moral relativism holds that values are relative to culture or context. A commitment to autonomy, in opposition to this, holds that autonomy is good in a non-relative sense. A commitment to autonomy might require that I allow another person to do something that I find abhorrent, not because I believe that values are relative, but because I believe that autonomy is so important that it requires me to refrain from negating the autonomous action of another free agent. Of course, there are limits here. Autonomous action that violates the autonomy of another cannot be tolerated.

Mill’s account of the principle of liberty is helpful for understanding this idea of toleration. Mill tells us that we should be given as much liberty as possible, as long as our liberty does not harm others. This is in fact a recipe for toleration. Mill’s argument follows from certain basic assumptions about individuals.

1. Each individual has a will of his own.
2. Each individual is better off when not compelled to do better.
3. Each individual knows best what is good for him.
4. Each individual is motivated to attain his own good and to avoid actions that are contrary to his self-interest.
5. Self-regarding thought and activity can be distinguished from its effects upon others.

Some of these claims (for example, #3) are linked to epistemological toleration. However, the point here is not only that individuals know what is in their own self-interest but also that it is good for individuals to be able to pursue their own good in their own way. Such an approach makes several important metaphysical assumptions about the nature of human being: that autonomy is possible and important, that individuals do know their own good, that there is a distinction between self-regarding action and actions that effects others. Moral toleration follows from these sorts of claims about human being.

a. The Paradox of Toleration

Of course, toleration and respect for autonomy are not simple ideas. Much has been made about the so-called “paradox of toleration”: the fact that toleration seems to ask us to tolerate those things we find intolerable. Toleration does require that we refrain from enacting the negative consequences of our negative judgments. This becomes paradoxical when we find ourselves confronting persons, attitudes, or behaviors, which we vigorously reject: we then must, paradoxically, tolerate that which we find intolerable. This becomes especially difficult when the other who is to be tolerated expresses views or activities that are themselves intolerant.

One way of resolving this paradox is to recognize that there is a distinction between first-order judgments and second-order moral commitments. First-order judgments include emotional reactions and other practical judgments that focus on concrete and particular attitudes and behaviors. Second-order moral commitments include more complicated judgments that aim beyond emotion and particularity toward rational universal principles. With regard to the paradox of toleration there is a conflict between a first-order reaction against something and a second-order commitment to the principle of respecting autonomy or to the virtues of modesty or self-control. The paradox is resolved by recognizing that this second-order commitment trumps the first-order reaction: principle is supposed to outweigh emotion. Thus we might have good reasons (based upon our second-order commitments) to refrain from following through on the normal consequences of negative first-order judgments. However, when there is a genuine conflict of second-order commitments, that is, when the tolerant commitment to autonomy runs up against an intolerant rejection of autonomy, then there is no need to tolerate. In other words the paradox is resolved when we realize that toleration is not a commitment to relativism but, rather, that it is a commitment to the value of autonomy and to the distinction between first-order judgments and second-order moral commitments.

b. Tolerance vs. Indifference

Of course, the ideal of toleration is a difficult one to enact. This difficulty is related to the tension between first-order reactions and second-order commitments that is found within the spiritual economy of an individual. This is why the idea of tolerance as a virtue is important. Virtues are tendencies or habits toward good action. In the case of the virtue of tolerance, the tendency is toward respect for the autonomy of others and toward the self-discipline necessary for deliberately restraining first-order reactions. Virtues are usually thought to be integrated into a system of virtues. Tolerance is no exception. The virtue of tolerance is closely related to other virtues such as self-control, modesty, generosity, kindness, mercy, and forgiveness. One must be careful, however, not to conclude that the virtue of tolerance is a tendency toward indifference or apathy. Tolerance demands that we moderate and control our passions in light of some larger good, whether that good be respect for autonomy or an interest in self-control; tolerance does not demand that we completely refrain from judging another free agent.

Moral toleration asks us to restrain some of our most powerful first-order reactions: negative reactions to persons, attitudes, and behaviors which we find repugnant. Without the tension between first-order reactions and second-order commitment, toleration is merely indifference. Indifference usually indicates a failure at the level of first-order judgment: when we are indifferent, we do not have any reaction, negative or positive, to the other. Such a state of indifference is not virtuous. Indeed, it would be vicious and wrong not to react strongly against injustice or violations of autonomy.

We often confuse indifference with toleration. However, indifference is flawed as a human response for two reasons. First, it rejects the truth of first-order reactions. First-order reactions should not be ignored. Our emotional responses are important ways in which we connect with the world around us. When we react negatively to something, this emotional reaction provides important information about the world and ourselves. Tolerance does not ask us to deaden our emotional responses to others; rather it asks us to restrain the negative consequences of our negative emotional responses out of deference to a more universal set of commitments. Second, indifference is often closely related to general skepticism about moral judgment. The moral skeptic claims that no set of values is true. From this perspective, both first-order reactions and second-order commitments are mere tastes or preferences without any final moral significance. From this skepticism, indifference with regard to any moral evaluation is cultivated because all of our moral values are thought to be equally groundless. The difficulty here is that moral skepticism cannot lead to the conclusion that it is good to be tolerant, since the skeptic holds that no moral value can be justified. If we claim that toleration is good and that tolerance is a virtue, toleration cannot be the same thing as indifference.

This distinction between tolerance and indifference is important for explaining the spiritual disruption that occurs when we strive to become tolerant. Indeed, the difficulty of toleration can be understood in terms of the difficulty of the middle path between indifference and dogmatism. Indifference is easy and satisfying because it sets us free, as it were, from the difficult human task of judging. Likewise, dogmatism is easy and satisfying because it follows from a seamless synthesis of first-order reaction and second-order commitment. Toleration is the middle path in which there is a conflict between first-order reaction and second-order commitment. Toleration thus requires self-consciousness and self-control in order to coordinate conflicting parts of the spiritual economy. The discipline required for toleration is part of any idea of education: we must learn to distance ourselves from first-order reactions in order to move toward universal principles. First-order reactions are often wrong or incomplete, as are immediate sense perceptions. And yet, education does not ask us to give up on first-order reactions or sense perceptions. Rather, it asks us to be disciplined and self-critical, so that we might control first-order reactions in order to uphold more important principles.

5. Political Toleration

Moral toleration emphasizes a moral commitment to the value of autonomy. Although it is linked, by Mill, for example to a political idea about restraint of state power, moral toleration is ultimately concerned with clarifying the second-order principle that is supposed to lead to toleration.

While moral toleration is about relations between agents, political toleration is about restraint of political power. The modern liberal state is usually not thought to be a moral agent. Rather, the state is supposed to be something like a third party referee: it is not thought to be one of the parties engaged directly in the process of judgment and negation. Political toleration is thus an ideal that holds that the political referee should be impartial and unbiased. The term toleration has been used, since Locke, in this political context to describe a principle of state neutrality. The connection between moral and political toleration can be understood in terms of the history of the pre-modern era when the state was an agent—a monarch, for example—who had particular judgments and the power to negate. As the idea of the state has evolved since the 17th Century toward liberal democratic notions of self-government and civil rights, the notion of political toleration has evolved to mean something like state indifference. Political toleration is now thought to entail respect for privacy, separation of church and state, and a general respect for human rights.

a. John Rawls

In the 20th Century, the idea of political toleration has developed, especially under the influence of John Rawls (1921-2002) and his books, Theory of Justice (1971) and Political Liberalism (1995). Rawls’ approach attempts to be neutral about moral values in order to establish political principles of toleration. Rawls argues for toleration in a pragmatic fashion as that which works best to achieve political unity and an idea of justice among diverse individuals. Although the idea of political toleration has been most vigorously defended by Rawls, it also forms the basis of other pragmatic and political accounts of toleration, including those of John Dewey, Jürgen Habermas, Michael Walzer, and Richard Rorty. The danger with this approach is that it tends toward relativism by self-consciously limiting itself from articulating a metaphysical defense of autonomy and toleration. The difficulty is that the idea of state neutrality can become paradoxical: a state that is neutral about everything will undermine its own existence.

The idea of political toleration begins from the claim that diverse individuals will come to tolerate one another by developing what Rawls called “overlapping consensus”: individuals and groups with diverse metaphysical views or comprehensive schemes will find reasons to agree about certain principles of justice that will include principles of toleration. This is in part an empirical or historical argument about the way in which diverse individuals or groups eventually resolve their differences by way of a pragmatic commitment to toleration as a modus vivendi, or means of life. One could trace this idea back to Hobbes’ idea of the social contract as a peace treaty. Diverse individuals in the state of nature will, according to Hobbes’s argument in The Leviathan (1651), engage in the war of all against all. This war is ultimately unsatisfying and so individuals relinquish their warring power and create the social contract. The problem is that this pragmatic account leaves us without a metaphysical justification of the principles of toleration. Rather it comes to toleration from the pragmatic assumption that diverse individuals motivated by self-interest will agree to support the neutral state, which is then supposed to act as a referee in their disputes. Of course, Hobbes’ account of the absolute sovereignty of the Leviathan calls into question the idea that a social contract view will always lead to a tolerant liberal state.

Rawls’ idea of “justice as fairness” attempts to set limits to political power without trying to evaluate the relative merits of different conceptions of the good. Rawls clarified his approach by insisting that the principles of justice are political and not moral principles. They are based upon what he called “reasonable pluralism.” What he means by this is that the principles of toleration will be agreed to by individuals from diverse perspectives because these principles will appear reasonable to each individual despite their differences. The idea of toleration results from a political consensus that is developed by way of the ideal social contract that Rawls describes at length in Theory of Justice. Like Mill, Rawls theory of justice claims that the first principle of justice is the liberty principle: “Each person has an equal right to a fully adequate scheme of equal basic liberties which is compatible with a similar scheme of liberties for all.” These basic civil liberties form the basis for political toleration.

b. Risks and Benefits

Political liberalism focuses on the problem of diversity without appealing to a larger metaphysical theory. This problem is exacerbated when political liberalism takes up the question of international human rights and the problem of intolerant groups or individual who demand to be tolerated. Political liberalism aims at the creation of a global human rights regime that is supposed to support politically tolerant states and that is sensitive to the issue of group rights. From the perspective of political liberalism, human rights—basic defenses against the intolerant expansion of state power—are thought to be the result of overlapping political consensus. From this perspective, human rights, such as the right to autonomy that forms the basis of moral toleration, are thought to be, not metaphysical givens, but the conditions for the possibility of political consensus building.

The idea of a developing “overlapping consensus” in international affairs was articulated in the 1950’s by Jacques Maritain and was developed in practice by international agencies such as the United Nations.  In the final decade of the twentieth century, Jürgen Habermas’ approach linked principles of toleration to the very nature of political argument: for us to have a political argument, we must agree to certain principles of fair argumentation. The difficultly here is that diversity is even more of a problem on the international scene, where discussions of human rights are essential. At the local or national level, the point of liberalism is that the neutral state ought not interfere or comment on the quality of individual lives unless the lives and actions of private individuals become a menace to the rights and privacy of other individuals. Internationally, Rawls follows Kant in specifying the Law of Peoples that is supposed to maintain order among diverse mutually tolerant nations.

A further complication arises at the level of group rights (both within national and international politics), where groups and their members claim the right to be tolerated by larger political organizations. Here the idea of tolerating the practices and identities of groups may paradoxically result in toleration for intolerant groups. This is the case for example, when tolerant governments consider groups who advocate violence, discrimination, and other intolerant practices. Such groups can be intolerant toward their own members, toward the tolerant liberal societies in which they subside, and indeed toward those international organizations who support toleration throughout the globe.

The risk of political liberalism is that it hovers uneasily between pluralism and relativism, while seeking to avoid metaphysical dogmatism or political imperialism. The basic pluralism of political liberalism supports political toleration by recognizing that conflicting comprehensive doctrines can each be justified as reasonable according to the standards internal to them. This leaves us with the conflicts of reasonable pluralism: each of the conflicting comprehensive doctrines is reasonable on its own terms and to the extent that it recognizes the reasonableness of other comprehensive doctrines. Thus, for Rawls, cooperation between reasonable comprehensive doctrines is a practical political task. The state should refrain from entering into a discussion of which comprehensive doctrine is better morally, epistemologically, or metaphysically quite simply because such a discussion would be unjust for a neutral state confronted with the fact of diversity. By defining his account of state neutrality as political, Rawls wants to distance his account of reasonable pluralism from a more robust form of philosophical skepticism. This is reminiscent of Locke’s approach to epistemological toleration: since we cannot in practice force individuals to agree about moral or metaphysical truths, we should tolerate diversity at the political level.

Rawls does, however, hold that there is a best political arrangement, even if the truth about the best political arrangement is arrived at by way of pragmatic concerns for what works politically in light of the fact of diversity. And thus his idea of political consensus tries to avoid the slide toward skepticism and relativism. It seems that for political toleration, there is at least one non-relative value—that of toleration and peaceful coexistence—even if this is merely pragmatically justified by the concrete historical need for peaceful coexistence among those who cannot arrive at consensus about their views of the good.

The approach of political liberalism has appeared to succeed in practice. One could argue that the idea of the neutral state and of political consensus about the need for toleration has been gradually developing in Constitutional Law in the U.S. and in international law by way of the U.N.’s Declaration of Human Rights. Article 26 of the U.N. Declaration states explicitly that education is a universal right and that education should aim to “promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups.” We are still far from actualizing the idea of a tolerant international community. However, it is fairly clear that in the last several decades the idea of political toleration has succeeded in the United States and in other Western countries.

Despite this success, critics such as Michael Sandel, in his Democracy’s Discontent (1998), have argued that the tolerant attitude of what he calls “the procedural republic” must be grounded in a more comprehensive moral theory. Without such a ground, Sandel worries that the tolerant neutral state will ultimately lose its connection with the moral lives of individuals. Sandel claims in his arguments against Rawls and against certain developments in Constitutional Law that the approach of political liberalism cannot ultimately take account of the depth of commitment that most individuals have to their own comprehensive doctrines. Rawls admits that for his idea of overlapping consensus to work, he must assume a weakening of private faith in comprehensive doctrines. The problem here is that it argues for toleration by underestimating the power of those forms of private faith that must be tolerated.

A further problem of the political approach to toleration is that it struggles to define the nature of privacy. Moral toleration claims that there are certain private activities which are only of concern to the individual and that the state would be unjustified in interfering with these private activities. A merely political approach to toleration is however unable to draw the line dividing public and private in a metaphysical fashion. Rather, the sphere of privacy is itself defined only as a result of the process of building political consensus. Thus the worry is that the principles of political liberalism are not clearly defined and that toleration, as a mere modus vivendi, could be violated if the political consensus were to shift. In other words, if there is no metaphysical basis for a sphere of privacy, then it is not exactly clear what the politically grounded idea of liberal

toleration is supposed to tolerate.

Asset Source: 

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Asset Primary Link: 


By Andrew Fiala,

6. References and Further Reading

  • Beiner, Ronald. What’s the Matter with Liberalism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992).

  • Berlin, Isaiah. “Two Concepts of Liberty” in Four Essays on Liberty(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969).

  • Cook, John W. Morality and Cultural Differences (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999).

  • Dworkin, Ronald. Sovereign Virtue (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000).

  • Dworkin, Ronald. Taking Rights Seriously (Cambridge: Harvard, 1977).

  • Fiala, Andrew. “Toleration and Pragmatism” in Journal of Speculative Philosophy, 16: 2, (2002), 103-116.

  • Habermas, Jürgen. Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1990).

  • Heyd, David, ed. Toleration: An Elusive Virtue (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996).

  • Horton, John and Peter Nicholson, eds. Toleration: Philosophy and Practice (London: Ashgate Publishing, 1992).

  • King, Preston. Toleration (London: Frank Cass, 1998).

  • Kymlicka, Will. Liberalism, Community, and Culture (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989).

  • Laursen, John Christian. “Spinoza on Toleration” in Difference and Dissent: Theories of Tolerance in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, edited by Nederman and Laursen (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 1996).

  • Locke, John. Letter Concerning Toleration in Steven M. Cahn ed. Classics of Modern Political Theory (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).

  • Mara, Gerald M. “Socrates and Liberal Toleration” in Political Theory, 16:3 (1988).

  • Marcuse, Herbert. “Repressive Tolerance” in Wolff, Moore, and Marcuse, eds., A Critique of Pure Tolerance (Boston: Beacon Press, 1969).

  • Maritain, Jacques. Man and the State (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951).

  • Mendus, Susan and David Edwards, eds. On Toleration (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987).

  • Mendus, Susan. “Locke: Toleration, Morality, and Rationality” in John Horton and Susan Mendus, eds., John Locke: A Letter Concerning Toleration in Focus (London: Routledge, 1991).

  • Mendus, Susan. Toleration and the Limits of Liberalism (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International, 1989).

  • Mill, John Stuart. On Liberty and Other Essays (Oxford: Oxford World Classics, 1998).

  • Milton, John. Aereopogatica in Encyclopedia Britannica’s Great Books of the Western World, vol. 29 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991).

  • Newey, Glen. Virtue, Reason, and Toleration (Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, 1999).

  • Oberdiek, Hans. Tolerance: Between Forbearance and Acceptance (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2001).

  • Paine, Thomas. The Complete Writings of Thomas Paine ed. by Philip Foner (New York: The Citadel Press, 1945).

  • Popper, Karl. The Open Society and its Enemies (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971).

  • Rawls, John. A Theory of Justice (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971).

  • Rawls, John. Justice as Fairness: A Restatement (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001).

  • Rawls, John. Political Liberalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995).

  • Rawls, John. The Law of Peoples (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001).

  • Razavi, Mehdi Amin and David Ambuel, eds. Philosophy, Religion, and the Question of Intolerance (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997).

  • Ricoeur, Paul, ed. Tolerance Between Intolerance and the Intolerable (an edition of Diogenes, No. 176, Vol. 44/4, Winter 1996).

  • Rorty, Richard. Contingency, Irony, Solidarity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989).

  • Rosenthal, Michael A. “Tolerance as a Virtue in Spinoza’s Ethics” in Journal of the History of Philosophy 39:4 (2001), 535-557.

  • Sandel, Michael. Democracy’s Discontent (Cambridge: Harvard, 1998).

  • Sandel, Michael. Liberalism and the Limits of Justice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982).

  • Sen, Amartya. “Human Rights and Asian Values” in The New Republic 217: 2-3 (1997), 33-40.

  • Spinoza, Baruch. Theological-Political Treatise and Political Treatise (New York: Dover Publications, 1951).

  • Tan, Kok-Chor. Toleration, Diversity, and Global Justice (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000).

  • Voltaire. Philosophical Dictionary (Cleveland: World Publishing Co., 1943).

  • Waldron, Jeremy. “Locke: Toleration and the Rationality of Persecution” in John Horton and Susan Mendus eds., John Locke: A Letter Concerning Toleration in Focus (London: Routledge, 1991).

  • Walzer, Michael. On Toleration (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997).

Author Information

Andrew Fiala
Email: fialaa@uwgb.edu
University of Wisconsin — Green Bay
U. S. A.

Social democratic Values in Digital Society

From Defensive To Assertive Social Democracy

reforming Social Democracy The good Society Projec



Is There A Future For Social Democracy In Europe





The end of the First World War in Iran was marked by the emergence of new political order,juxtaposed with new coercive institutions aimed at building a modern centralized state. The main task of the new state was to diminish provincial and tribal autonomy throughout the country and enhance the degree of interdependencies between the provinces. The new policy of centralizing government power was along with the implementation of widespread political and economic reforms that accelerated the process of urbanization and industrialization, all being underway since the Constitutional Revolution (1905-1909).

With the consolidation of such political development, there was also the refashioning of the civil right and civil society discourse,supported by non-coercive institutions such as political parties, press, guilds and labor unions,cultural associations and private schools; crafted a new identity for the Iranians, an autonomous statues, now being the citizens of a modern nation-state, rather than subjects of an ancient ancient ancient empire.

The arrival of urban labor movement in the country’s public sphere manifested itself in
organized and non-organized workers engaged in mass activities, not only calling for better working and living conditions, but also for the recognition of their civil rights by the modern state, the state that was expected to be accountable against the society at large. Although in interwar period the society enjoyed a persistent development, the endurance and functionality of civil society’s institutions were subjected to the degree of coercive measures adopted by the new state. While during the first half of this period, the political parties, labor unions and cultural associations sustained their activities in the major urban centers throughout the country; in the second half of this period, the accelerated coercive measures led the civil society’s institutions into a dormant state. However, the cultural impact fashioned by these institutions during their functional life, added new dimensions to the civic culture that somehow lasted in the country and extended to the period followed. Indeed, as I argue in this paper, the
outbreak of the labor movement in Iran during and after the Second World War – the largest labor movement in the Middle East – was partly imbedded in the labor movements of the interwar period.
It is the aim of the present study to revisit the emergence of social-democratic and labor movement in the interwar Iran and examine its contribution to the refashioning the discourse of civil right and civil society in the country


T Frances Perkins 4th United States Secretary of Labor

Frances Perkins

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