Thursday, March 19, 2009
Tolerance of Intolerance, is not tolerance at all.
1. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry.
2. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one's own.
3. interest in and concern for ideas, opinions, practices, etc., foreign to one's own; a liberal, undogmatic viewpoint.
4. the act or capacity of enduring; endurance: My tolerance of noise is limited.
As you can quite clearly see, the English definition of tolerance suggests a fair, objective, permissive and un-bigotted approach to ones, opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc
* Note, tolerance only works when all sides are tolerant. If only one side is tolerant, the entire mechanism becomes unstable, potentially losing integrity and collapsing.
So lets take a look at,
Characterised by frankness, honesty, impartiality, or candour; open; upright; free from suspicion or bias; equitable; just; -- said of persons, character, or conduct; as, a fair man; fair dealing; a fair statement. "I would call it fair play." --Shak.
Pleasing; favourable; inspiring hope and confidence; -- said of words, promises, etc.
When fair words and good counsel will not prevail on us, we must be frighted into our duty. --L' Estrange.
Not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased: an objective opinion.
Intent upon or dealing with things external to the mind rather than with thoughts or feelings, as a person or a book.
Being the object of perception or thought; belonging to the object of thought rather than to the thinking subject (opposed to subjective ).
Of or pertaining to something that can be known, or to something that is an object or a part of an object; existing independent of thought or an observer as part of reality.
Habitually or characteristically accepting or tolerant of something, as social behaviour or linguistic usage, that others might disapprove or forbid.
Obstinately and blindly attached to some creed, opinion practice, or ritual; unreasonably devoted to a system or party, and illiberal toward the opinions of others. "Bigoted to strife." --Byron.
So lets us see what we have here:
Firstly, we have been preached to about being tolerant. Tolerant of what exactly? Tolerant of ideas, beliefs and cultures that are different from our own.
Why is "tolerance" of ideas and beliefs so virtuous?
Simply because it enables a society, any society, to be-able to freely investigate new ideas, new beliefs and new cultures, which might enable that society to develop new and better ideas and beliefs, some possibly more enlightened than that societies current incarnation of ideas and beliefs.
Embracing new and better ideas then, is desirable in the evolution of consciousness.
Dispelling superstition is a much better idea to incorporate than embracing superstition, for example. Or not embracing the physical abuse of women is a much better idea than embracing the physical abuse of women.
A new and better idea then, is an idea that allows one the freedom to criticise, to analyse, to disseminate, to rationalise, to discriminate. A better idea is an idea that makes an inferior idea redundant.
So the real purpose of "tolerance" then, is the permissive, un-biggoted freedom to entertain new and better ideas. To analyse, criticise, discriminate, rationalise and liberate ones society through the acceptance and adoption of new and better ideas that are superior to older and more redundant ideas.
Being tolerant of, and embracing new and better ideas, is desirable and beneficial in the ongoing evolution of human consciousness.
As with any mechanism though, built as it is, upon the principals of tolerance, the strength and integrity of that tolerance must be maintained, other wise the entire mechanism will fail.
How do we maintain integrity?
Tolerance for ideas must be met with intelligence. The intelligence to know what is most beneficial for a free society and what is not most beneficial for a free society.
Good day, and good luck.
Posted by Dave at 10:54 AM