The London Libertarian

The London Libertarian

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Commentary and debate on politics, economics and culture from a libertarian perspective. To Libertarian Alliance Website >

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PoliticsPosted by Jan Lester Tue, April 08, 2014 15:47:21

bigotry Bigotry is, broadly, the unreasoning *intolerance of any creed, opinion, or even some group other than one’s own. It is sometimes said that a fool cannot reason and a bigot will not reason; to which we might add that a philosopher will not stop reasoning.

The first thing to note is that bigoted views might well be true, good, or useful. But even if they are not, people have an absolute *right to be bigots in the expression and implementation of any view, as long as it is within the framework of *consenting *persons and their *property. So bigotry must be tolerated. Bigotry is only a problem for *liberty if it results in the *license of *proactively imposing on the persons and property of others. And there it is the license that is the problem and not the bigoted views as such.

It is a controversial matter, in any case, which views are held in a bigoted (i.e., unreasoningly intolerant) way. Contra *political correctness, for instance, there is no inherent reason that one cannot use (sound) reasoning to defend *discrimination. The only useful test of *illiberal bigotry ought to be whether someone wishes (or, a fortiori, seriously attempts) *aggressively to impose his bigoted views on others; whether via *state *legislation or by physically attacking them. Here again, it is the wish to impose that is illiberal, rather than any bigoted nature of this wish. By this test, some *‘racial-purity’ *nationalists may be illiberal bigots. But then so are many of the self-styled ‘anti-*racists’ and ‘anti-sexists’, and politically-correct *fascists of all sorts; which is ironic, as they also want to accuse people of bigotry when those people merely wish peacefully to exercise their *freedom of association and *free speech.

See *prejudice.

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