By Marcus Carlsen Häggrot
Toleration and the Challenges to Liberalism

Should states as France or the UK tolerate the nomadic lifestyle that still is maintained by a small but not insignificant number of Gypsy Travellers? Drawing on the 20th-century policies of France and the UK, this chapter suggests that a state might tolerate Gypsy Traveller nomadism in two distinct ways. It might permit nomadism but refuse to accommodate this practice in a wide range of policy domains (multi-domain-non-accommodation tolerance) or it can permit nomadism but oblige nomads to report regularly to police authorities (reporting tolerance). The chapter further argues that from a broadly liberal-egalitarian viewpoint, neither form of tolerance is permissible. Multi-domain-non-accommodation tolerance runs counter (in a sense specified) to several liberal-egalitarian commitments, for example commitments to general health care provision and the right to vote. Reporting tolerance is objectionable, presumably on freedom-of movement grounds, but more importantly since it violates a foundational liberal ideal of non-humiliation. By developing a liberal-egalitarian critique of tolerance as a state response to Gypsy Traveller nomadism, the chapter advances normative thinking about the moral entitlements of minority groups and, as well, the conditions and cases in which tolerance is, or is not, called for.

London: Routledge, 2021


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