The Tolerance of Intolerance

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Well-meaning and good people have been a bit too generous with those who have overt or hidden agendas that are flat out bad for humanity. In other words, we have been way too tolerant of intolerance. This is understandable because those who believe in free speech, equality, justice and tolerance have allowed their tolerance to be used against them.

There are those who offer the argument that being intolerant toward intolerance makes us intolerant! This is a pseudo-argument that attempts to promote the notion that we should not oppose intolerance.

The argument is nonsensical. Imagine claiming that:

  • opposing injustice make us unjust
  • opposing inequality means we are treating others unequally
  • criticizing the vile speech of others mean we oppose free speech

None of the above points makes any sense, because they are nonsensical. I would make one additional note about free speech. Free speech by its’ very definition is unfiltered and unfettered. What that means is, while the speaker has the right to say whatever, there is no guarantee that the content of the speech isn’t a pile of crap. Furthermore, the criticism of the content of the speech of others, is a completely legitimate use of free speech, since it does not violate the principle of free speech. In short while the speaker has free speech, the listener has every right to either not listen or to respond to the speech of others with their own critique, and no you are not required to be polite about it.

It is important for people of goodwill not to be cowed by any of the pseudo-arguments that would cause them to hesitate in calling out those who promote intolerance.

Clearly in the post-truth Trump era, we need to be clear about where we stand. Treat buffoons like buffoons and the oppressed with sympathy.

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