‘Tolerance' Frame As a Hindrance to Effective Public/Authorities Feedback in Belarus

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 9:00 AM
Room: Booth 63
Oral Presentation
Aleh IVANOU , independent researcher, Gomel, Belarus
Nikolay ZAKHAROV , Södertörn University, Sweden
The report is going to consider ‘tolerance’ as a misconception and an ideological frame. A critical assessment will be done of tolerance on the part of Belarusian people.

It is going to be shown that a) tolerance as an invariably beneficent trait of the Belarusian people is quite mistaken, b) that the ‘tolerance’ frame interferes with democratic governance principles as accepted and practiced worldwide, c) that responses to public dissatisfaction (part and parcel of normal governance systems) in Belarus are complicated due to persistence of the ‘tolerance’ frame; and d) that for the more fortunate and sustainable democratic outcomes in Belarus a regular public/authority feedback should be restored by getting rid of ‘tolerance’ as part of the ideological apparatus.

The idea of this paper concerns ‘tolerance’ as it enters democratic governance schemes and might be leading to their malfunction. The word tolerance is widely used in liberal democracies and is ascribed a positive meaning. However, it appears that tolerance is not necessarily a virtue. The word tolerance has negative connotations as it acknowledges a problem. The danger with the ideological frame ‘tolerance’ is that it might enter democratic governance models where it can effectively block public responses to dissatisfaction. This way, the system is incapable of conveying public dissatisfaction, and the stimulus is removed for the authorities to improve their work. This might be evident in Belarus, where people have little opportunity to convey their dissatisfaction, given that they are considered as well as consider themselves ‘tolerant’. In this case, their tolerance, being mere holding on, is a potential volcano.