> The paradox of tolerance was described by Karl Popper in 1945. The paradox states that if a society is tolerant without limit, their ability to be tolerant will eventually be seized or destroyed by the intolerant. Popper came to the seemingly paradoxical conclusion that in order to maintain a tolerant society, the society must be intolerant of intolerance.
He is meaning that there should be intolerance to violent intolerance, not to any intolerance.
That is my interpretation at least, and I find it very disingenuous to omit that part.
Look at religious motivated systemic violence against LGBT people in the US. Our current executive has waved a rainbow flag a time or two, but our vice president has personally funded things that look like camps and penned legislation that let's police ignore and LGBT person being beaten on the street. Neither of these things are particularly unfair characterizations.
So yeah, you're right. It's just that intolerance naturally leads to violence rather quickly in humans.
Also, what do you mean by camps? Forced orientation changing?
Mike Pence once supported the use of federal funding to treat people "seeking to change their sexual behavior."
There is plenty of data on this.
In fact, there could be some parallels here to federal funding for abortions. Many conservatives feel this procedure is morally wrong as strongly as others might feel about gay conversion therapy. I can see why they would be similarly upset about federal funding for clinics that perform them, although I don't necessarily agree with their final position.
There is science behind viability of a fetus for example that is used to determine guidelines and there is science behind behavioral therapy that disagrees with sexual conversion therapy.
On one side, you have people at least attempting science and rational thought, on the other side you literal magic thinking (religion) as the rationale, the two are not equal.
Section 9 opened the door for this interpretation of the build by pointing out that private contractors often work for the city and state, and specifically protecting the right to object to interacting with LGBT people if "[their] exercise of religion has been substantially burdened, or is likely to be substantially burdened".
This leads to an awkward situation where a private contractor doing police, fire, or (most likely) emergency services work for a company with a religious charter is likely protected in doing so.
What's most interesting about the RFRA (and the bills Pence helped pen but never made it to a vote in House and Senate) is the "overriding" clause, allowing for a explicit defense in state court against people who discriminated, and making it harder for those suing to press for (perhaps in 2015, more strict).
This made the law stronger than prior related RFRA acts of other states and at pre-existing federal law.
The text of the law is available publicly and about a billion perspectives on the law are available online. Give that you almost certainly didn't search for it on google, please let me refer you to "mike pence RFRA Indiana". You can find lots of pro and con to suit your taste.
There is this curious not of the "obligation" of a first responder, but as we are seeing in Florida it's not clear any such obligation exists or can be realistically enforced.
Despite what you may have read from activists, there exists no sizable group of Americans who want to use their religion, or would allow others to use their religion, to deprive LGBT people police, fire, or medical treatment in an emergency. No more, I'd venture, than there are LGBT people who would do so to religious people.
There are reasons to criticize religious beliefs or second guess RFRA expansion, but this shows the problem of encouraging a policy of intolerance toward perceived intolerance. It's often prejudice based on fearmongering, even (or especially) in the age of the internet.
I understand this but at the same time, you become the monster as well.
I honestly don't see any other conclusion while divisive identity politics is the culture. Every election and debate is just subtext for making sure your people are in power to protect your people.
There will forever be a balance to be struck, and it's natural to have disagreements about it.
I think the thing to strive for is a more perfect due process. I'm concerned people are instead looking for a more perfect way to label and shun transgressors. And they use hate and fear of intolerance as a key justification.
So how do we stop that? Or, rather, why haven't we had any luck so far?
The rest is just distasteful.
This can take many forms. Virtually the entire citizenry can be denied the right to vote, as in autocracy. Poll taxes disenfranchise the poor. The combination of felony disenfranchisement and racial disparities in enforcement of criminal laws yields a situation where racial minorities are disenfranchised as a group.
Other shenanigans can limit people's choices, such as the restriction of candidates in Iran. Of course the first-past-the-post system used in the US also restricts choice in some ways... But "disenfranchisement", I'd say, specifically pertains to denying people the right to vote.
According to Wikipedia: "On December 5, 1947, Einstein and Morgenstern accompanied Gödel to his U.S. citizenship exam, where they acted as witnesses. Gödel had confided in them that he had discovered an inconsistency in the U.S. Constitution that could allow the U.S. to become a dictatorship"
[edit: for more information please see: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2010183 ]
> They are stable, nonflammable, moderately toxic gases or liquids which have typically been used as refrigerants and as aerosol propellants.
Edit: why am I getting downvoted for this...?
Freon was invented in 1928, and started mass production a few years later: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freon
By 1935, 8 million refrigerators had been sold using Freon as their refrigerant: https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-freon-4072212
His refrigerator comment was some time before 1953: https://plus.maths.org/content/goumldel-and-limits-logic
though another source places it around Einstein's death in 1955:
... ahhh, the wiki hole is deep today. :)
[Edited to fix: date of refrigerator comment upper bounded by 1953, not in 1953]. So it's possible he formed the opinion pre-freon, but it seems more likely that it was during the Freon era.
But the situations that don't fall into this group are more troubling as they can involve sincere and passionate advocates of civil society acting in ways that undermine that very thing.
In Taleb’s article, he describes how the market accommodates the minority intolerance to the extent that is most economical — that is, where the “majority” doesn’t care either way. In this way, the ability of the tolerant to be tolerant is not being seized or destroyed, because the tolerant are not actually “tolerating” anything, since that word implies a level of discomfort that the customers are not experiencing.
I think Taleb wants it both ways, or every possible way, in this discursive essay. If you find yourself nodding along to the idea that we can get along just fine with people who have restrictive preferences so long as those preferences are compatible with our own, Taleb is happy to have you land there. But if you go into a piece that discussed Islam hoping to find the bit about how our tolerance of religion is destroying Western Civ, he's got you covered too.
I want to say that I find it ironic that he zeroes in on Halal food when, as a sort of general rule, Kosher food tends to be Halal and not the other way around. But I don't know if it's ironic, because Taleb is so adept at armoring his essays against any kind of critical analysis or, for that matter, basic comprehension. Maybe the fact that Muslims are more "tolerant" of different butchering practices than Jewish people but still it's the Muslims that threaten democracy is part of his whole point. 23 skidoo!
What you're really saying is that either:
a. The meatatarians are actually omnivores, and just mislabeled.
b. The meatatarians are _occasionally_ omnivores, out of preference.
Bending dietary preferences when there is social pressure ("they served me this food, being morally good to me personally means I should eat it" or "I'm on a diet, but everyone else is eating cake so I should too") is not all that surprising, especially if the reason you are excluding one type of food is because of _preference_.
But when you exclude a certain type of food out of health needs (allergic, lactose intolerance, etc) nobody will bat an eye. If a vegetarian refuses to eat meat for their own mental / moral health, I would argue it should be treated the same.
Popper wrote that society must be intolerant of intolerance
Interolance gets vetted out with prosperity but it's not necessarily the requirement to achieving it as history has shown.
I'm not sure how to respond to the bit claiming that societies are destroyed by intolerance - did Popper own any history books? Is China doomed to fail today?
I wasn't expecting any up votes, but please tolerate my viewpoints!
How could we? You presented none in your original post.
Interolance gets vetted out with prosperity but it's not necessarily the requirement to achieving it as history has shown (...) the bit claiming that societies are destroyed by intolerance
I don't see where Popper said anything about prosperity or destruction of society as a whole.
In most of what I've read from him, it always feels like he's more concerned with trying to make the reader feel smug about understanding his writing than actually trying to communicate anything meaningful. In this article, he has an aside where he complains that Agricultural Companies are running a smear campaign against him and are "idiots" and "naive".
He seems to acknowledge that clearly there is some bound on this "minority rule" argument, but doesn't bother to further explore this, and instead goes on and writes as though no bound exists, or if it does, only exists when it benefits his argument.
For instance, in many Muslim majority or even major minority countries, you do not have a universally halal food industry - most supermarkets are divided into "stuff (probably halal)" halal, and haram.
If he halved the time and volume he puts into making himself/his readers feel clever, he'd be far more convincing.
I know this because it's something I feel into for years, and still do on my first draft of much that I write.
I think there's an Emperor's New Clothes thing happening with Taleb. Apparently, his technical writing is important and impactful. But his popular writing is prolix, repetitive, smug, and sometimes ill-reasoned.
It's not an "article". It's a book chapter.
And there are other expectations from a short blog read than from a book.
As long as what takes?
Yes, intolerance can crowd out tolerance, normal distributions can break down, tails matter and so forth. Every time I picked up one of his books I felt like I'm reading a really angry stats 101 book with nine out of ten paragraphs being rants about the academia combined with very questionable nutritional and medical advice
Not acquainted with NNT's writings, I see. :)
> How Europe will eat Halal — Why you don’t have to smoke in the smoking section — Your food choices on the fall of the Saudi king –How to prevent a friend from working too hard –Omar Sharif ‘s conversion — How to make a market collapse
Each of these would make a great article, but mixing in all these stories and discussions together made this borderline incoherent.
I work as an editor for an online technical publication. If an author ever forwarded a draft like this, I'd have either told them to split it into different articles or cut it down to a fraction of the size.
He has a compulsion to ramble in order to display his erudition.
You get style points for humor though. :)
Even then, people make false confessions all the time.
Fooled by Randomness: https://www.fs.blog/2015/02/fooled-by-randomness/
The Bed of Procrustes: https://twitter.com/nntaleb
(I've not read Black Swan so cannot offer any recommendations)
Welcome to Medium
This is a different sort of case than described in the article, but pushback here is inevitable.
Myanmar is particularly embarrasing because the west spent decades trying to end the military dictatorship and transfer power to the elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, but it's turned to genocide almost immediately.
I suspect because they went straight to an extreme position: not all examples of such behavior are genocide, and leading with that strongly tends to derail conversation. Yes, genocide may be a result of that, but so can a lot of other undesirable behaviors that stop far short of it.
If you have a substantive, supporting comment, as you do, please do add it, but leave off the "Not sure why you got downvotes". It doesn't add anything to the discussion and is against the guidelines.
In fact, I’d go one step further and say that maybe the problem is that we don’t spend enough time studying how situations lead to genocide, and therefore we kinda suck at preventing it.
Just my two cents, but that was my rationale for supporting the paren’t statement.
The only quibble I have (and likely those that down voted share it), is that the full comment is "Yes, it can, and then it is called 'genocide'." There's no nuance there. "can" does convey possibility, but that's removed in the second clause.
Pushy minority situations? The thought isn't very constructive. It's one of those odd positions that accepts the premises of people who do very bad things, but decries their lack of restraint, discipline, or compassion.
When the minority doesn't like you and you don't like said minority, what would you do? Modern law doesn't have anything that would decrease friction between two groups. I would say that maybe zoning laws do more for that than any other laws.
People tend to underestimate how close they are to genocide. "They are just very bad people", they think when they hear of it, "we are just angels compared to them, and we're incapable of genocide". Bad news that: they aren't that bad, you aren't that good, take your shining armour off, and yes you're never very far.
Edit to add: FWIW, that's one of the reasons I take the time to respond to questions like "don't know why...", beyond just pointing out that it's against the guidelines. It takes a little bit of extra effort to take some time to imagine why a reasonable person may have done so and it's important that we do so. And even if I'm wrong (I can't read minds), I've exercised that same behavior I'm trying to encourage.
We have to encourage people to maintain good faith arguments with each other. Discussions on HN are a great example of this: so many ask "why can't we talk about X" and so many of times when a discussion starts about X it devolves when people stop discussing in good faith. The only way we can have those discussions is to remember that other reasonable people may disagree with you. Applying a little effort to thinking about why that may be, and (asking for confirmation if needed) engenders better discourse.
It boils up because people engage in debate instead of doing two things:
* Taking issues to a vote.
* Respecting boundaries of other people.
Debate implies you can change other person's opinion. However, it often tries to talk your way to measures that would never float in a fair voting, or that violate already existing personal or property boundaries.
After a few rounds of debate you're supposed to take it to poll booth. Instead it often turns into name-calling and shouting "nazi" at each other. That kind of discussion should be avoided.
This is where human rights law and anti-hate speech law comes from. Verbal exchanges can make a situation tense, but cutting down the opportunities for escalation allows a peace to be built.
It's also necessary to keep weapons out of politics. Anyone forming a political militia is one incident away from being a terrorist group or death squad. One of the key elements of peace in Northern Ireland was the disarming of the Republican side - and the corresponding de-militarisation of the police.
Here’s the thing tho’: a good observant Muslim knows perfectly well what a religious holiday is, and recognises Christianity as a fellow Abrahamic religion, and is no more offended by Christmas than if you wished him or her Eid Mubarak.
The only people offended by Christmas are white left-wing atheists, and it is deeply problematic, and racist, how they use Muslims as a scapegoat.
None of those has actually happened, nor is likely to actually make it through any functioning legal system.
(If you're going hunting for examples of the Christmas tree ban, check your news sources very carefully)
Also, there apparently was a school head who banned students from putting up Christmas trees, but he was banned from teaching after that:
That's generally impossible, because at least one side always has them, by virtue of controlling the State and its institutions of violence.
"They have their laws, codes, decrees
edicts and ordinances
They have the prisons and the fortresses
(not to mention the juvies)
They have jailers and judges
who are paid good money and are ready for anything"
Brecht -- The Mother (excerpt of a song)
How many genocides did the latter ever prevent? If anything, they'll make genocides much more sudden. You can bully the majority into submission but it's going to backfire.
Regarding human rights, I just don't see them working in the century of XXI.
Ah, an impossible-to-prove counterfactual. Better to ask what role hate speech has played in making genoicdes happen, such as in Rwanda (and arguably Myanmar)
Considered one of them was telling me stories about white farmers being killed over the last few years and him not feeling safe anymore in the country (hence why he moved to Australia).
I'm not saying apartheid was perfect, just or a morale state. What I would say though is I think it's far too early to say post apartheid was a complete success and didn't end up going down a similar route as zimbabwe.
I don't think anything in South African history would point to segregation being a solution to any social, economic, or political problems.
When it comes to segregation, I don't see why it in itself is bad. Apartheid was a problem because you had a white ruling class oppressing blacks and the problem we are now seeing is the opposite, a black ruling class oppressing whites.
If we were able to split the state in two, couldn't we at least stem some of the racial conflicts? Much harder to opress groups that don't exist within the country.
> and you don't like said minority
The first of these factors is not particularly contributory to genocides, or at least the mechanism is mysterious. It reminds me of how people describe US racial problems as "blacks and whites disliking and distrusting each other." A desire for symmetry in genocides is a particularly egregious case, though.
I learned in history classes growing up that conditions in Germany were bleak so the Jewish minority was used as a scapegoat. I've never heard an explanation for the Holocaust that differs greatly from this so I'm curious as to the historical and factual legitimacy behind your seemingly ridiculous claim. Care to back it up?
It seems pretty obvious that they were targeted partly because of their wealth and power across european society. To imagine the jews not being persecuted if they had little money or power is possible, but would require major rewrites of hitler rhetoric and their reasons for going after the jews over other races in particular.
The assumption here is that you are armed best with rigor and lack of knowledge.
Guess what, it's not helping. You don't have to blame the victim, but you have to understand the criminal's motivation. This way you can at least gauge it against your own.
Clearly can democracy –by definition the majority — tolerate enemies? The question is as follows: “ Would you agree to deny the freedom of speech to every political party that has in its charter the banning the freedom of speech?” Let’s go one step further, “Should a society that has elected to be tolerant be intolerant about intolerance?”
To which he later concludes:
We can answer these points using the minority rule. Yes, an intolerant minority can control and destroy democracy. Actually, as we saw, it will eventually destroy our world.
So, we need to be more than intolerant with some intolerant minorities. It is not permissible to use “American values” or “Western principles” in treating intolerant Salafism (which denies other peoples’ right to have their own religion). The West is currently in the process of committing suicide.
People are afraid of democracy. They suspect that people on the whole are easy enough to manipulate that catastrophe is possible.
They can't say that without seeming, well, undemocratic. So they try to ban dangerous speech instead.
This one of those lines that, when it appears in an article, you know there's an error somewhere in the preceding thousand lines of argument, as surely as if it were a proof that 1 == 0.
> an intolerant minority can control and destroy democracy
I'm more worried about intolerant minorities of privileged people who are currently in power destroying democracy, not least because they actually have the power.
This is something philosophy has actually done well to detail. It's the paradox of tolerance, and I think the answer absolutely has to be yes. For those looking for easy surface level gotcha's, that seems like a problem. Dig deeper, and it's logically consistent with the belief of tolerance, for if one allows intolerance, their tolerance loses all value.
The issue I'm grappling with that the solution to the "paradox of tolerance" (that it is OK to be intolerant of intolerance) is that it is good at defending against erosion of tolerance from external forces, but opens it up to erosion from internal forces.
If the societal rules are "we choose to be tolerant except in the case of existential threats, in which case we nuke it from orbit", then the incentive becomes to paint mild disagreements into existential threats. Allowing Muslims to immigrate becomes "threat of sharia-law caliphate in 25 years." Allowing a traditional Christian prayer in schools becomes "establishing a repressive theocracy." Advocating right-wing policies becomes "normalizing fascism" and advocating left-wing policies becomes "bringing us one step closer to gulags." Is there any escape from the polarization? Can a society with tolerance as a base-level goal remain stable against this sort of internal pressure to shred it?
So, as you can see, it's really a microcosm of the idea that "we should support good and ban evil."
As a reminder that many who likely support this view need, you should be intolerant of intolerance, not people who hold intolerant beliefs or practice intolerance.
The problem is that we've done a splendid job blurring the lines between identities, beliefs, speech, and behavior. We have no ground rules for how to be intolerant of some things without seeming intolerant of the people that care deeply about those things.
People who are tolerant generally don't go looking around for excuses to be horrible to other people.
An apt quote comes to mind: "The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience"
My guess is that many people in favor aren't actually consistent themselves.
And yet thats usually what people mean. People arguing in favor of this idea generally use it to justify whatever their anti-human rights opinion of the day is.
Whether that is sending people to jail for speech, or banning certain political parties, or vigilante style assaults of people at protests, it is just simplified down to "an excuse to not feel back about being horrible to the 'enemy'", whoever that 'enemy' is, while ignoring all previously agreed upon rules of engagement in society (otherwise known as human rights).
Whenever any of this stuff happens, and it is targeted against a sufficiently unpopular 'enemy', I always seem a mass of people linking to that paradox of tolerance wikipedia page.
And are they giving a subpar product + patents/copyrights + DRM, and selling it with the same high prices as to make yields irrelevant (when upselling 10x and 100x what you buy produce for, the original yield is an insignificant factor to the price).
Farms aren't mom and pop shops anymore. Even the small ones are major, multi-million dollar businesses. This is big company VS big company.
And if those mult-million dollar businesses believe that they can get better crops by paying Monsanto, well I think I'll trust their expert opinion on it.
If these products are so sub-par, why would the competing, large corporations buy them?
Because they have more assurance of their crop not falling prey to some disease. But even a 100% increase chance of a good yield is nothing (while it means the world to farmers) if the final price is many times what they sell for.
And I agree, in general the rejection of GMOs is born out of a fear of technology.
When people actually have a preference (such as how a drink tastes) we find that the market provides a lot of variety despite the cost. Consider the shelves of your average convenience store.
Applied to religion, changes are far from costless and we often see persistent disputes. And anyone making large-scale predictions needs to account for how incredibly successful and persistent western culture and products are. This doesn't seem to be due to intolerance.
You can have anything you like so long as it's manufactured by Coke.
The founders assumed each branch would compete for power. They didn't expect them to actively push responsibility on to other people. It seems like that's why we have a healthy and growing bureaucratic state these days.
They do. Part of that competition is trying to pass blame for things to the other branches, including blame for inaction that the people in office want but the electorate does not, since blame = reduced public support = reduced effective power.
> They didn't expect them to actively push responsibility on to other people.
They probably did, since the framers had plenty of experience with elected politicians (often being such themselves) and blame passing among such politicians is as old as electoral politics (and blame-shifting among politicians more generally is pretty much universal in history, too.)
But the more difficult it is to take away the rights of the minority (particularly the right to vote), the better.
The path to a healthy government has to include rule of law. I think the slippery slope we are on is very dangerous. When people decide ignoring the Constitution is easier and just as legitimate as amending it, it is the beginning of the end. I think we already passed that point and I'm not sure how we can recover.
Similar to the McDonalds in Milan example in the article, Korea has LotteMart everywhere, and people do sometimes eat there instead of a local joint.
Koreans also study English just like other countries. The annual 수능 exam taken by students is considered to be extremely important for college applications. It has a section on English.
The majority "winner" among all eligible voters in most U.S. elections is the non-voter. Voting is not compulsory, and often there are three or more candidates, therefore the winner is usually only getting a plurality of votes from participants. And compared to the eligible citizens, it's really merely a significant minority producing the result.
If you add in the effect of primary elections, where an even smaller number but highly motivated voters participate, contributes to even less involvement thus less majoritarian democracy. Ergo in a general election, the three or four choices you have on a ballot (other than write in) were determined by a process usually involving less than 15% of the eligible voters. 
It is a corporation or a society deciding that it is willing to make a minuscule procedural or behavioral adjustment in order to accommodate a group of people. For those who don't have a peanut allergy or religious dietary restrictions, the difference is barely perceptible.
If you are a government or a corporation that services tens or hundreds of millions of people. You don't make policies or products just for a plurality or majority of individuals-- you try to them compatible for as many people as possible.
This isn't "tyranny of the minority", it is just good design.
it's what was missing from things like trans-pacific partnership and other multi-lateral regulatory agreements.
Where there are differences in regulation, pretty much the only sane means of harmonising is to choose the most strict, most onerous regulation, as that will (almost certainly) be a superset of the other regulations (if not you probably are discussing regulation of different things)
At the moment the EU/US seem to be stuck on chlorination of chicken - but one approach to bactericide will be more effective and win out in time.
I absolutely never buy halal meat and whenever possible try to avoid kosher certified foods. I do try to vote with my wallet and keep religion out of my food as much as physically possible.
Which makes this a personal whim more than something that has any effect to counter the trend.
"UK Food Standards Agency figures from 2011 suggest 84% of cattle, 81% of sheep and 88% of chickens slaughtered for halal meat were stunned before they died."
The fact that 16% of cattle aren't stunned is completely disgraceful.
Some people refuse to buy halal meat, for various reasons, and that prevents it taking over completely.
Mike Pence wants to allow parents to send their children to “conversion therapy”, and your example of hurtful actions is not meeting with him?
I’m happy to meet with him any time that he’s free, but I can’t guarantee that he’ll enjoy it.
And, to quote a recent comment of yours, “Is this relevant to the linked article at all or are you just finding any excuse available to push your politics?”
This is a far-right diatribe. To see it on HN, where most articles mentioning actual minority rights get flagged into oblivion as “too political” is embarrassing. Just look at the top-level comments: you’ve even got the gay-bashes using this chance to pile on a little, well, gay-bashing.
Nobody is closing their eyes to “salafism”. There is no such thing in the US, at least not as a relevant cultural force. The Muslim community is surrounded and infiltrated by three-letter agencies. Yet mentioning such things, or the President’s fascist dog-whistles gets downvoted to #CCCCCC. I happen to live in a country with about 10x as many Muslims as there are in the US, and I have no trouble finding pork or bacon or any other sort of haram food. And if my Heinz ketchup is kosher, which costs about 1/1,000,000 of a cent (see Wikipedia), I have trouble seeing the injustice.
If you think there’s a dictatorship of political correctness you should look up both “dictatorship” and ”political correctness” in a dictionary. Usually dictatorships come with power, so I’d like to return mine.