Why the New Definition of Tolerance Is Dangerous
by Amy Hall
I received an email objecting to one of Greg’s commentaries on tolerance. In the commentary, Greg explains that tolerance “involves three elements: (1) permitting or allowing (2) a conduct or point of view one disagrees with (3) while respecting the person in the process.” In other words, only disagreement calls for toleration; otherwise, it’s simply agreement (or apathy). But not according to the email I received:
You said on Feb 4, 2013 – “Tolerance is reserved for those we think are wrong.”
Wrong. Tolerance is removing the right/wrong judgement from your view of other people & beliefs, as long [as] those people and their beliefs don’t impede the freedom or well-being of others.
What you’re describing is holding your nose and lying about being tolerant. That’s not tolerance, that’s empty condescension.
“We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.” – Karl Popper
Of course, this response perfectly illustrates Greg’s description of the current understanding of “tolerance,” and it struck me, as I read it, how dangerous this view of tolerance is. Here’s what he’s really saying…
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