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Respecting TolerationTraditional Liberalism and Contemporary Diversity$
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Peter Balint

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198758594

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198758594.001.0001

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Active Indifference

Active Indifference

A Neutral and Accommodating State

Chapter:
(p.51) 3 Active Indifference
Source:
Respecting Toleration
Author(s):

Peter Balint

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198758594.003.0003

This chapter makes the case for indifference as the preferred form of state toleration. It shows that one of the key premises in the argument for the state engaging in respect for difference is flawed: neutrality is capable of accommodating a wide variety of ways of life. Neutrality is an unrealizable yet still action-guiding political ideal. It only makes sense in relation to a particular range of things (people’s ways of life) and needs to be sensitive to the changing nature of this range. But this difference-sensitivity can be realized by either withdrawing support for all parties or actively assisting them. The chapter then argues for the former: state neutrality, as active indifference, which should ideally involve withdrawing support for favoured ways of life rather than actively recognizing the various ways of life of its citizens.

Keywords:   liberal neutrality, indifference, multiculturalism, group-differentiated rights, identity claims, toleration

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