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HAT Forum - "Tolerance - Friend or Foe?"

  • The 519, Room 304 (but check the lobby screen) 519 Church Street Toronto, ON, M4Y 2C9 Canada (map)




  1. the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.

Tolerance is the amazing ability to adapt or learn to live with situations we would alter if we had the choice. We tolerate the noise and dust of construction as a necessary part of city living. We tolerate the guy at work warming his smelly food in the microwave so we can be free to pop our popcorn similarly. We also learn to tolerate varying levels of injustice and inhumanity as an inevitable part of life.

But personally, no one wants to be just tolerated. We want to be loved and accepted for who we are and how we live. To be merely tolerated by anyone is to be judged and found wanting.

  1. Is mere tolerance of ideas, attitudes and behaviours outside the mainstream too low a bar for society’s desired response? Can we aspire to better? Insist on better?

  2. How is tolerance the right measure of a modern society? How can having a tolerant society backfire?

  3. Philosopher Karl Popper came to the seemingly paradoxical conclusion that states "in order to maintain a tolerant society, the society must be intolerant of intolerance." Do you agree?

  4. Some of the alternatives to tolerance involve shaming, de-platforming, call outs and even violence. Some more revolutionary techniques involve encountering those with less mainstream views and humanizing them. (see Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America). How effective are they in making us a better society?