Intolerance Threatens Liberalism


Liberalism – and the values of liberty, equality, individual dignity, tolerance, and freedom from bigotry and extremism – are under siege around much of the world, including the world’s largest democracy. India inherited an appreciation for liberal values as a result of British colonialism, underscoring the paradox that a system aspiring for ideals cannot rest in assessing and accepting improvement. “Liberalism even today has not quite eradicated the stain of this contradiction,” writes Rudrangshu Mukherjee, author, chancellor and professor of History at Ashoka University. “People who differ in color of skin, culture, language, religion and so on are often not allowed to be beneficiaries of liberal virtues by political regimes that claim to be liberal and democratic.” India embraced liberal principles in its pursuit of independence, and Mukherjee briefly describes this history. Liberalism is under threat by the powerful who resist dissent, and he questions whether the political system can endure while tolerating incessant intolerance. – YaleGlobal