During the 1980s, a local council in the UK came up with an intriguing slogan aimed at making people question their own social conscience. It went like this: “Are you a racist? ‘Cause you’d be a  nicer person if you weren’t.” Never, on more than one level, has a more false note been struck.

It is certainly unlikely that a racist skinhead would be swayed by this appeal to social acceptability. If you want to be liked, the argument goes, then you had better be more tolerant; because likeab...

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