Friday, September 24, 2010

The Intolerance of the Tolerant

Or should that be the tolerance of the intolerant? I can't tell anymore.
Let me be perfectly clear right up front. I don't believe in tolerance, at least not in the way it is defined by the modern Oh So Tolerant crowd. The idea that we should tolerate everything and everyone is laughable. Rational judgment is part of what it means to be human, and that includes judging between what is and is not tolerable.
Should I tolerate the man who is trying to kill me? Of course not. Should I tolerate the man who tries to steal the food from my children? Absolutely not. Should I tolerate something that is abhorrent to my core beliefs? How is that even possible?
It is not and cannot be tolerance or the absence of tolerance that defines proper behavior. It is, rather, the reason for that tolerance or absence of tolerance and it is the action (or actions) taken in response. Only this standard can produce proper behavior. Don't believe me? Take a look at the behavior of the crowd whose claim is that tolerance, itself, is the standard.
These people preach tolerance in all things and constantly use that standard to attack anyone they deem as intolerant. Of course, in most cases, simply disagreeing with them is grounds for being deemed intolerant (good thing I admit to being intolerant - rather takes the sting out of their attacks). If you cross one of their lines, they feel fully justified in falling upon you with all of the wrath of their so-called tolerance.
It was those preaching tolerance who felt justified in stealing every issue of a college newspaper because it contained an editorial they deemed to be intolerant.
It was those preaching tolerance who felt justified in invading and disrupting a college speaking engagement because they deemed the speaker (who had been invited by the people who were there to hear him) to be intolerant.
It has been those preaching tolerance who have suggested that insulting the president should be an arresting offense (never mind the fact that they hurled insults and more at the previous president).
It has been those preaching tolerance who have claimed in one breath that there should be no debate about the Ground Zero Mosque (because "we were not attacked by Islam") and, in the very next breath, declare that all religion should be banned (I guess we were attacked by "all religion" when I wasn't looking).
This has been an ongoing problem, as should be suggested by the list of examples (that first listed instance happened about five years ago, if I remember correctly), but that last example was the reason I decided to write this article. I participated in that "debate" and was almost stopped dead in my tracks by the direction it went. One group of people do not want a particular building erected in a particular location and they are intolerant, yet some of the very people screaming at them about intolerance declare that all religion should be banned. That is supposed to be an example of tolerance?
Of course that is not an example of tolerance. What that is an example of is the fact that most people actually think the way I do on this subject, they just don't state it as such because they believe that would make them look bad. Human beings are not tolerant creatures. We tolerate what we believe is right to tolerate and we do not tolerate what we believe is not right to tolerate. The only thing preaching tolerance accomplishes is convincing people to lie about their motives and claim to be tolerant when they obviously are not.
Being intolerant is no sin. Being intolerant for stupid reasons is. Acting stupidly because of your intolerance is. I don't tolerate stupid people, but I don't run around slapping every stupid person I see (that would be quite an exercise program). Why would I? That would be a gross overreaction and it would not accomplish one single useful thing.
Be honest about your life. Don't lie about what you will or will not tolerate and certainly don't lie about the fact that there are things you will not tolerate. Check your reasons for those, though, and make sure they make sense. Check your actions in regard to what you will not tolerate and make sure those actions are in proportion. Make sure you are not making things worse. Make sure you are not acting the same way you claim to not tolerate.
Most of us won't tolerate a fly in the kitchen, but we don't swat the fly with a bomb. Think about it.

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