Within involuntary societies, tolerance is generally a virtue. Not that every idea or action can be tolerated—far from it! Nevertheless, within an involuntary society, presumption should be on the side of tolerance. In any given instance, people who wish to deny tolerance must be required to provide clear and compelling reasons.
In the present discussion, society simply means a relationship between two or more persons. An involuntary society is one into which the persons do not choose to enter and from which they cannot readily choose to withdraw. The most obvious example of an involuntary society is a nation or other civil unit. For a nation to exert unnecessary control over the actions or ideas of its people is tyranny.
A voluntary society, on the other hand, is one into which people may freely enter, and from which they may freely withdraw. Voluntary societies are formed for all sorts of reasons. Some are professional, others are religious, yet others are directed toward avocations, and some exist purely for the purpose of providing people with an occasion to meet other people. Voluntary societies may be organized formally or they may be informal movements or associations.
Involuntary societies are held together by some form of necessity, and for them tolerance is generally a virtue. Voluntary societies, however, are held together by the commitment of their members to a common purpose. In order for them to survive, they must be intolerant with respect to their purpose.