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Volume 29 • Number 3

July 2015



The Limits of Liberal Tolerance

by Thomas Mulligan

A central challenge for liberalism is to provide a satisfying account of tolerance. Such an account is practically necessary as liberal states search for solid theoretical footing in their relations with illiberal states. The illiberality of these states, of course, comes in degrees. North Korea provides virtually no social or political rights for its citizens and regularly uses kidnapping, torture, and murder to enforce the people's compliance. Turkey, on the other hand, has established a range of substantial, constitutionally protected liberal rights.
     The liberal must explain why the conduct of North Korea is intolerable and how the international liberal community ought to express its intolerance. The liberal must also decide if Turkey's much less pernicious conduct is intolerable as well—and, if so, how that intolerance ought to be expressed (presumably in a far more modest way than the expressions of intolerance against North Korea).

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ISSN: 2152-0542