Democratic Attitudes: Respect

In the model of the European Council, Respect is defined as “an attitude towards someone (or some ”thing”, like nature) who we believe to have some kind of importance, worth or value, which again warrants our positive regard and esteem.”

In the context of a culture of democracy, respect for the intrinsic dignity, equality and the inalienable human right to choose their own cultural affiliations, beliefs, opinions or practices different from our own is considered especially important.” They are pretty clear about it: without this respect, it will not be possible to facilitate democratic interaction or intercultural dialogue.

However, showing respect in this way does not imply we have to minimize or ignore the actual difference. We are also not required to agree with, adopt or convert to that different opinion or practice. Furthermore, the EC emphasizes that “certain limits do need to be placed on respect“: “respect should not be accorded to the contents of beliefs and opinions, or to lifestyles and practices, which undermine or violate human dignity, human rights or freedoms of others.” ..

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