In response to van Waarden's paper, which denied the possibility of horizontal tolerance between citizens, I argue that tolerance is both possible and often desirable between citizens. I also argue that a more substantive set of constraints are required for justice to be served than mere deference to whatever existing constitutions and laws happen to demand. Furthermore, where van Waarden suggested that politics consists of “a process of negotiating, bargaining, and compromising among groups with conflicting interests,” it is hard to see how this vision could motivate any educational intervention to promote people’s abilities to speak up for themselves. Put starkly: it is not at all clear why anyone has reason to educate others to potentially outlaw their own way of life on their understanding. I urge instead that the attitude of tolerance be promoted on both Rawlsian and Millian grounds.

Response to Article

Betto A.F. van Waarden, Teaching for Toleration in Pluralist Liberal Democracies