The paradox of tolerance

Popper’s paradox of tolerance is that to create a tolerant society we must be intolerant of some views.

This creates a dilemma of when do we restrict freedom of speech and action in order to defend freedom of belief.

I believe the resolution is to focus on safety.

Some argue that

Popper would not be on the side of the anti-free speechers, as they are practising the kind of intolerence toward debate and speech he warned of. No platforming, and limiting debate, or ‘forbidding’ people to engage in debate, is exactly what he is talking about.

Popper said that

we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument

First, I would argue that a number of groups make it very clear that they won’t enter into rational debate. Every religion, for a start. The ultra left and right. I’m not alone in having given up on antiscience: antivaxx, antiGMO, anti5G… It’s not possible to have rational debate when people reject rational fact.
Second, the freedom to have beliefs must be balanced with freedom from those beliefs. Any imposition on other employees must be for rational reasons not superstitious ones. Object to gays? Tough, no basis in fact. Object to headscarves? Tough, unless you prohibit all headgear on some safety or security basis.
Third, a group doesn’t need to be violent if they present a threat of violence. Trumpists, Jihadists, …

I feel the way out of the paradox is to focus on psychological safety, what makes a safe workplace. That has a bottom line effect on productivity, but that shouldn’t be the point.  It’s also the most ethical path forward.