A tolerant society does not mean an approving one:
Traditional attitudes to issues such as sexuality are being shut out of debate by a new form of liberal “censoriousness” which only allows “inoffensive” opinions to be heard in public, Britain’s most senior judge has warned.
Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, said that Britain could be becoming less diverse rather than more because once common opinions are now deemed “unacceptable”.
He likened the new form of “moral reaction” to the opposite but equally restrictive attitudes of previous generations.
The problem seems to be that so few people actually understand what a liberal society is. Which is, for those who still don’t get it, one where consenting adults get to do whatever without breaching the Mills’ Nose principle. But it’s also one in which people are allowed to say anything they damn like and think and feel whatever about those who do so.
It is indeed necessary that you get to be a shirtlifter if that’s the way your tastes run, just as I am allowed to prefer redheads to blondes. But I no more need to celebrate, respect or approve of your desires or lifestyle than you have to of mine.
And we do indeed have a society which is intolerant of tolerance, demanding instead respect and approval. That’s, as Neuberger is indicating, just as intolerant as the earlier society in which behaviour was outlawed.
Another way to put this is that a liberal society is entirely open to prejudice, opinion and even hatred: it demands only tolerance and that tolerance has to work both and all ways.