The University of Michigan was going to screen the Academy-Award-nominated American Sniper, but then cancelled it when students launched a petition claiming the movie was intolerant of Muslims. But then other students launched a counter-petition saying that the university should show the movie in the name of artistic liberty and the freedom of expression. Whereupon the university cancelled its cancellation and agreed to show the movie after all.
But the incident shows that the principle of tolerance above all can be used for many different purposes. A consensus seems to be emerging that tolerance should trump religious liberty. Might the demand for tolerance also be used to trump other civil liberties?
Freedom of Speech is arguably already muted by speech codes. I suspect that we need to formally and legally work out the boundaries between tolerance and civil liberties. Any ideas about how to draw those lines? [Read more…]