“You preach about tolerance but only allow for opinions that agree with your own.”
“How can you profess tolerance and not allow my traditional beliefs?”
“You’re a bigot against bigots.”
There’s a fallacy of thinking in current discourse; a fallacy that says because progressives believe in a plurality they must make room for the intolerant in their community.
This false line of thinking has allowed media to give the same value and credence to absurdities (Westboro Baptist, Donald Trump) as fact and has allowed for the growth of misinformation and misdirection against the populace (see the Bernie Blogs for great examples of unsubstantiated contemporary ‘news’).
But, there is no room in tolerance for intolerance. In fact, the one thing that tolerance is allowed to defend itself against is intolerance.
How does this happen. Mostly through the applications of science, reason, and art. Science gives us the power to defend tolerance. Through science, we have learned that mankind is not a body of races, but a single species. Through science we have learned how the heavens move, why the earth spins, and that regardless of nation, skin, gender, or sexuality, that we are essentially made of the same material as each other (and the animals that surround us). Through science, we have learned that societies that limit reproductive rights of women have higher rates of self harm to pregnant women and infanticide. We have learned that giving access to guns increases accidental and malicious gun violence. Incarceration for drugs does not solve addiction. These are scientific facts that drive progressive reform.
We use reason and art as tools to support science and to further the path of tolerance. Books, paintings, and other explorations of the human condition are our lights through the troubling darkness of uncertainty and doubt.
Sometimes we use politics. Ghandi and Martin taught us the power of change through non-violence.
But recently, this fallacy that intolerance has a place in the future plurality has come to rise. This fallacy is necessary for the fringe and the moderate. It allows them to continue to wield power unchecked. For under this fallacy, we are not allowed to eradicate hate, cruelty, and oppression. To do so, proponents of the fallacy state, would be intolerant itself.
Our art, non-violence, and demands for progress are rebranded as intolerant inder this new thinking. We are destroying ‘traditional values’ or ‘undermining faith’ by demanding equality for all (rather than a few dominant groups).
But there is no room for the intolerant in a world motivated by tolerance.
The religious especially fall into the trap of the contemporary fallacious thinking. They fear the devaluing of their status in society as we demand they remove their cruelty from our laws. They call it intolerant when we demand limitations on conversion therapy and female genital mutilation. They call it intolerant when the tolerant demand protections for all children, even those unfortunate enough to be born into a home filled with the hate of religion (any child can be told ‘God hates them’ by their parent for being gay; this is not considered abuse).
Yes, indeed, I am intolerant. I’m intolerant of absurdity spread as news. I’m intolerant of religion given equal partnership with scientific fact. I’m intolerant of misinformation. I’m intolerant of spreading hateful messages on race, gender, sexuality or any other inherent qualities of being. I’m intolerant of one religion believing it has claim to a nation, people, or place. I’m intolerant of violence. I’m intolerant to those who oppose change, progress, and development.
So yes. I’m intolerant.
I’m allowed to be because there is no room in tolerance for intolerance.