Consciousness objection, tolerance and totalitarianism

Publié le 28 Feb, 2007

Consciousness objection


Consciousness objection consists in refusing to obey a civil law judged in consciousness as seriously unfair. If a general agreement existed for centuries on essential values which founded political authority and social balances, today these values are subject to a constant theoretical and practical questioning. In a world marked by relativism, the tolerance transformed to the point to become a real political instrument which has fearsome totalitarianism and exclusion forces.


Ideological tolerance


The act to refuse in consciousness to obey an unfair law occurs today in this context of ideological tolerance which, by nature, is not disposed to support it. The society ideologically tolerant cannot tolerate the consciousness objection, because it escapes from its empire.

By saying, “all opinions are equivalent”, the “ideological tolerant” states as a general rule which is only an opinion amongst others, according to his own statement. He only can go out from this deadlock by violence which makes him say: if you contradict me when I tell that all opinions are equivalent, you are a dangerous intolerant to fight by all means. The ideological tolerance wants to force itself on everybody.


What tolerance cannot tolerate


A tolerant society cannot tolerate what puts in danger its unstable and contradictory balance, meaning that a truth to look for exists and that this truth may have a universal feature. From then on, any fundamental debate must be evacuated, free from ethical implications and transformed into exchange of relative ideas. Thus, the positive statement of the human dignity as a truth valid for all is rejected; then everything becomes possible except the fact to respect the man unconditionally.


The case of abortion


This way in the contemporaneous culture, abortion became a good thing not only for the person free to practice it, but also for the society itself which enables, encourages, promotes and finances it. The ideology which established and then encouraged abortion, by presenting it as a personal right for women, deprived the society of any possibility to serenely think about the fundamental question of embryo respect, fearing that this legislative choice is questioned. In so doing, it has not anymore the capacity to ethically face the challenges represented by a certain number of medico-surgical practices and manipulations linked to medical research.


From tolerance to totalitarianism


The example of abortion in France shows that a tolerant society cannot tolerate that a right of consciousness objection is exercised within this society, because it is not able to accept, by honouring them, the superior values which express in it. Then it chooses consensual values, among which, some lead it to death1. How to exercise this consciousness objection? At the electoral time the question is concrete.



1. Histoire de l’objection de conscience et différentes acceptions du concept de tolérance – Prof. Jean Laffitte, Académie pontificale pour la Vie, XIIIe assemblée générale, 24 février 2007

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