left biblioblography: AND THE WORD OF THE DAY IS…

Friday, September 01, 2006

AND THE WORD OF THE DAY IS…

…Tolerance.
This is a much bandied about word on the Internet, and the blogosphere. And each side of the culture wars accuses the other of the lack thereof.

So, let’s examine the definition.

Tolerance
n.

  1. The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others.

  2. Leeway for variation from a standard.

  3. The permissible deviation from a specified value of a structural dimension, often expressed as a percent.
  4. (I will skip the others: it’s readily apparent what I’m talking about).

Let’s also compare the opposite:
Intolerance
(From the Thesaurus)
Irrational suspicion or hatred of a particular group, race, or religion: bigotry, prejudice. See like/dislike.


So now the premises have been dictated. The lines drawn, the swords unsheathed, the soldiers on either side girded for battle, awaiting the clarion call when combat becomes enjoined and the blood flows.

Okay, I’m being a tad melodramatic.

I have been accused of being intolerant of religion. However, if we look at the definition as provided above, I would like to state for the record, that my suspicion and hatred is by no means irrational. It is based on a long, long history of micro-management, control issues, blatant propaganda, and nursery fables gone wild.

For the record, I don’t hate religious people (though there are times when it becomes difficult, I tell myself they’re not to blame, they’ve been indoctrinated, deep breaths, stay calm now. There are some specific folks, well, if they came within arm’s reach, it would take a considerable effort combined with white knuckles not to take after them….). It is that social construct I loathe, those much beloved shackles of slavery, that bind a man and then explain the manacles are a good thing, the manacles are necessary, for we are evil incarnate, forged from mud and spittle into beings of darkness that will be cast out of favor unless we pay drooling imbecilic worship to that which never was.

http://www.holysmoke.org/tol-rgi.htm
“First. Thought is a necessary natural product -- the result of what is called impressions made through the medium of the senses upon the brain, not forgetting the fact of heredity.

Second. No human being is accountable to any being -- human or divine -- for his or her thoughts.

Third. Human beings have a certain interest in the thoughts of each other, and one who undertakes to tell his thoughts should be honest.

Fourth. All have an equal right to express their thoughts upon all subjects.

Fifth. For one man to say to another, "I tolerate you," is an assumption of authority -- not a disclaimer, but a waiver, of the right to persecute.

Sixth. Each man has the same right to express to the whole world his ideas that the rest of the world has to express their thoughts to him.”

The Works of ROBERT G. INGERSOLL

I adhere specifically to number five. It speaks to me. All six do. But that one especially makes sense in these trying times.

And so, each and every thinking person, when accused of intolerance should, in my humble opinion, instead of resorting to the K-12 tactic of saying “I know you are, but what am I?” should go and stand in front of a mirror, and ask themselves:”Is this true? Am I intolerant?” Because if you make those distinctions, those divisive discriminations that elevate one class, one element, one subsection of humanity above another, where none are being harmed, then yes, you are. And if so, you should be shouted down, in the name of all that’s decent, all that’s good and right and proper. In plain sight. Because that’s not persecution, my friend. That’s because you’ve assumed an authority that you are not entitled to. Whether it’s via an illusory contact from on high, or some ancient tome.

I have looked in the mirror, as any honest man should, and asked the question, baldly, bluntly, self-awareness intact.

Everyone is equal. There is my answer. But I shall not suffer foolish opinions gladly: that is not intolerance – the opinion is not the person. So I will treat you as a peer, but if you voice a thought that is laughably ridiculous, rest assured, I will mock it; I shall laugh in your face, I shall shout it down, if necessary. That is how the shadows of ignorance are dispelled. Not through the listless recitations of facts – these usually have little impact on the closed mind – but satire and mockery.

I will try to be polite – but consider yourself warned, thicken your skin, turn the other cheek, or whatever mechanism props you up and powers you through the scathing barbs.

I am no weak little progressive liberal, who waffles on about “Well, I respect your opinion, even if it I don’t agree with it.” I am not paralyzed by the foolishness of such a position. I am through being patient: if you are willing to listen, and present something logical, I will listen, I will debate.
There is a difference between tolerance, and agreement with stupidity.

And I am not stupid, nor shall I agree with it: a stupid opinion is just that.

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16 comments:

say no to christ said...

Ka said:"And I am not stupid, nor shall I agree with it: a stupid opinion is just that."

Ramen brother Ka!

I refuse to tolerate anything that can cause harm to others.

Mesoforte said...

"No one is entitled to an opinion, everyone is entitled to an informed opinion."

"...let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it." From TJ's Inaugural address. (out of context though.)

That's a favorite of mine. Kind of goes with the 'stupid opinion.'

.-. Look, I'm upside down.

Krystalline Apostate said...

MF:
"No one is entitled to an opinion, everyone is entitled to an informed opinion."
Good ole Harlan Ellison.
.-. Look, I'm upside down.
Don't let all the blood rush to your head.

Aviaa said...

As you say, acceptance of a person as an equal and acceptance of their ideas as logical are two very different concepts. Nice post.

Fifth. For one man to say to another, "I tolerate you," is an assumption of authority -- not a disclaimer, but a waiver, of the right to persecute.

Tolerance is soooo often used in this way by the liberal-Christian set to describe their attitude towards homosexuals. It always smacks of supposed self-superiority to me. I suppose I’d rather they “tolerate” someone than “not tolerate” that person… but I’d really rather they just get over it and quit thinking that they have the authority to tolerate or not tolerate people as people.


So I will treat you as a peer, but if you voice a thought that is laughably ridiculous, rest assured, I will mock it; I shall laugh in your face, I shall shout it down, if necessary. That is how the shadows of ignorance are dispelled.

Sure. As long as the listeners remember to confuse a statement’s “humor-value” with its “truthiness.” You do a lovely job of incorporating humor into your posts while maintaining logical coherence. I agree that satire, mockery, etc. and brilliant ways of showing the logical fallacies of others. However, I get sick of people making random jokes (i.e. if god didn’t want us to eat cows, why did he make them out of meat) and assuming that they’ve scored some kind of logical point. Or watching the crowd of people where one person humorously mocks another’s character and the assumption is that because everyone laughs, it must be true. Humor is a great tool… but only when combined with logic instead of used as a substitute for it.

I am no weak little progressive liberal, who waffles on about “Well, I respect your opinion, even if it I don’t agree with it.”

Yes, that’s annoying, and I often want to kick people who say such things because I believe that those sorts of (illogical) statements make other liberal ideals that I do strongly support less credible. We progressive liberals are of a varied sort. As a progressive liberal without the additional adjectives, I think my rewording of the statement of the above would be, “I respect your right to have an opinion, as long as you respect my right to argue with you about it, especially if it infringes on my or another person’s rights.”

I’d argue that the liberal tendency towards subjectivism properly belongs in the judgment of inert cultural practices. My strong non-progressive conservative relatives spend an awful lot of time scoffing and rolling their eyes over the customs, food choices, etc. of pretty much any group that isn’t exactly like them. This seems like a waste of time to me. Some opinions (such as that the world is flat) are based (or not) on facts and thus have reason to be argued. Others (such as that chevre is the tastiest kind of cheese) are just preferences (though, really, it is the tastiest kind of cheese and I’ll punch anyone who disagrees with me). If the second were the sort of opinions presented, and if no on was trying to force me to eat muenster cheese, I’ll happily be liberal and merrily live and let live.

See, just like a liberal… I digress and just try to make everything more complicated than in needs to be. And address points that weren’t even made. And… did I flip-flop? I’m sure I flip-flopped somewhere. Must have. I’m liberal. I also possibly bragged about my seven purple hearts, though I tried to keep it subtle. Just can’t help myself… I’m a liberal!

Krystalline Apostate said...

aviaa:
Others (such as that chevre is the tastiest kind of cheese) are just preferences (though, really, it is the tastiest kind of cheese and I’ll punch anyone who disagrees with me).
I prefer sharp cheddar (bobbing out of the way of the left hook). ;)
And… did I flip-flop? I’m sure I flip-flopped somewhere.
Hey, you're not running for office? Flip as you like, flop if you feel like it.
I recall Bill Simon changing his stance on abortion in mid-campaign. Wow, did he lose big time.
It's that immutable stance that bugs me. They want us (neo-cons, religious, or just wackinoid) to convince us to change our minds, but if we don't change it the way they like, we're weak-kneed.
Many years of life (some of those in the MA) have taught me: you stand only in 1 place, you get hit a lot.
Debate, like anything else, is fluid - the static get pounded - the fluid don't get hit as much.

Aviaa said...

I prefer sharp cheddar

You could only come to such an outlandish conclusion by entirely ignoring how reality functions. The laws of cheesiness are obviously not based on a sensory physical reality and therefore couldn’t come from you (a sensory, physical creature) but only from a deity. My deity says chevre being best is the valid conclusion, so that’s how it must be. :P

It's that immutable stance that bugs me. They want us (neo-cons, religious, or just wackinoid) to convince us to change our minds, but if we don't change it the way they like, we're weak-kneed.

Agreed. I was just pulling out every liberal stereotype I could think of (well, in the 20 or so seconds that I dedicated to thinking of such). I certainly agree that changing one’s opinion in the face of new evidence is a sign of intelligence rather than a sign of weakness. But yes, it’s also equivalent to signing your own political death warrant.

Krystalline Apostate said...

aviaa:
The laws of cheesiness are obviously not based on a sensory physical reality and therefore couldn’t come from you (a sensory, physical creature) but only from a deity.
Er, ummm...I thought the laws of cheesiness only applied to bad movies? ;)
I certainly agree that changing one’s opinion in the face of new evidence is a sign of intelligence rather than a sign of weakness.
Yeah, Jon Carroll did a column on that multiple eons ago. How we expect political candidates to take an immutable stance.
It flies in the face of rational thought, it does.

Aviaa said...

Er, ummm...I thought the laws of cheesiness only applied to bad movies?

You are limited by your own presuppositions in regard to "cheesiness", it appears. (shakes head sadly)

Krystalline Apostate said...

aviaa:
You are limited by your own presuppositions in regard to "cheesiness", it appears. (shakes head sadly)
Hey, at least I BELIEVE in cheeses. Hehehehe.

say no to christ said...

All hail the great cheesy god. lol

Krystalline Apostate said...

SNTC:
All hail the great cheesy god. lol
Cheesy poofs!
Beefcake! BEEFCAKE!
(1 of the funniest SP episodes).

say no to christ said...

Ka
I agree!Those are my cheesy poofs!

The Intolerant One said...

KA:

I was sorry too miss out on this post. I would have liked too contribute.

As you know, "tolerance" is a favourite subject of mine ;)

Krystalline Apostate said...

ITO:
As you know, "tolerance" is a favourite subject of mine ;)
Hey, mine too. For a leftie, though, I'm fairly 'intolerant' when it comes to certain things.
I don't respect people's opinions just because they have them: respect is earned, not automatic.
& if said opinion is ridiculous, I'll TRY to diplomatically point that out.
I'm a leftie w/a conservative attitude, I guess.

The Intolerant One said...

KA:

"For a leftie, though, I'm fairly 'intolerant' when it comes to certain things."

Something I enjoy pointing out in the left who claim to be the great purveyors of the "Tolerance" movemment.

I appreciate your own personal honesty on the subject.

" respect is earned"

Agreed! (shoot, we have got to stop agreeing or others will begin to wonder) :)

"I'm a leftie w/a conservative attitude, I guess."

I would suggest almost conservative. But you almost got it "Right!" LOL

Krystalline Apostate said...

ITO:
Something I enjoy pointing out in the left who claim to be the great purveyors of the "Tolerance" movemment.
Well, that's just it.
It's just plain ridiculous to tolerate every damn thing under the big blue sky. Tolerance isn't carte blanche: if some wack job thinks that disciplining his kid w/a hot iron is 'tolerable', it happens in front of me, he's gonna be picking his teeth out off the ground. For a leftie, I got a mean right hook.
So I think you're liberally applying the term a little too broadly. Hehehehe.
Obviously, I'm not really a liberal, at least not a 'progressive' one.
I remember watching the movie, 'Steal This Movie', about Abbie Hoffman. I was shocked at how simpatico I was w/him. There was a line that stuck w/me, paraphrased: "Ah, the progressive liberal - this side has merit, that side has merit, & the liberal has nothing to choose from, nowhere to go." Something like that. I can't find the bleedin' quote (probably tossed in by a writer).
Neo-cons (at least in my country) seem to be heartless machines. So I chose the side that has more heart.