Free Speech and Misreading The Paradox of Tolerance

In the aftermath of the horrific Charlottesville rally, a memed quote by Carl Popper called “The Paradox of Tolerance” started making the rounds on leftist Internet. I’ve heard it invoked regularly since by figures like Vaush and Science Mike (this isn’t a dig at either of these creators. I admire both of them for different reasons. Please don’t be mean to them.) I myself have favorably invoked the Paradox in private conversation. The “Paradox” is this:

Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.

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