Contemporary society believes itself to be in dire need of tolerance, and tolerance is perceived as an aim in itself and as a virtue that should emanate from within all (good) citizens. The state’s role is to explain how tolerance is the solution to all our problems. To do so, the state also has to present the problems in need of being solved. This study focuses on how the problem of intolerance is represented in governmental policies. The study positions tolerance as a symptomatic politics of regulation of the self as well as minorities. In a detailed study of an exhibition on the life of Anne Frank, directed toward schoolchildren and produced by the Swedish agency Forum for Living History, the author identifies the agency’s directives as problematic, since it assumes the Holocaust can be used as an example of intolerance, caused by individuals’ inability to let everyone “be themselves.” The notion of “being yourself” is scrutinized and placed in a late modern, liberal production of depoliticized identities. Instead the study suggests that using tolerance as a solution to the present problems of racism, hate, and the rise of fascism will prove counterproductive. What is needed instead is the ability to see the discourse of tolerance itself as a symptom of Western subjectivities, where the autonomous subject with a pre-social identity constitutes the hegemonic ideal of modernity, including both liberal and fascist uses of history.

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