Abusing your tolerance

There are four standard ways of turning a tolerant person’s tolerance against them. This is how they are presented:

Method 1) You have to tolerate my intolerance or your tolerance is a lie. Hate speech is freedom of speech, silencing hate is dictatorial, oppressive and intolerant.

Method 2) Your tolerance is allowing terrible people to do terrible things. Most typically at the moment, if you are tolerant of Muslims, you are tolerating anything that can be pinned to a Muslim criminal, if not actively encouraging and endorsing it. It’s because of people like you that a Muslim gang was able to sexually abuse white teenagers in the north of the UK.

Method 3) Your tolerance is, in a round about way, causing people to do terrible things. People becoming fascists, perpetrating hate crimes and voting for psychopaths is basically a reaction against your dangerous, oppressive tolerance.

Method 4 ) Your tolerance is oppressing me. I want to celebrate Christmas, but your tolerance means it’s not politically correct for me to be straight, white, Christian, affluent, safe. Your tolerance is not really tolerance, your tolerance is a means of oppressing innocent majorities.

I see these go by regularly online, and I think it’s important to publically flay their dodgy hides off. These statements are used to silence and confuse people who are tolerant, inclusive, compassionate and generally decent human beings. It fails to recognise that what we want to do is extend those basics of human decency to anyone who is quietly minding their own business and not doing any harm. Tolerance doesn’t embrace violence, criminality or hate, regardless of who is doing it. That would be apathy. Tolerance doesn’t stop people from going about their own harmless business – tyranny does that.

Genuinely tolerant, inclusive people aren’t afraid of not ‘being PC’ if a person is acting dreadfully. We might want to talk about the context, but understanding the reasons is a whole separate issue. Being told you can’t do things because they aren’t PC, actually tends to come from people who are not PC. Like the whole celebrating Christmas thing – the idea there’s even a problem here comes from the anti-PC brigade and seems to be a self perpetuating myth.

The idea that inclusive people who don’t need everyone else to conform to their preferences are in some way the cause of people becoming Nazis, is one of the most curious bits of double think I’ve seen in a while. It recognises that the Nazi bit really isn’t good, or desirable, but rather than blame the Nazis amongst us, is blames the people who are doing most to try and resist that very thing. At this point I can only shake my head in confusion and point you towards my recent post on gaslighting.

This isn’t about logic, or reason, it’s about forcing other people to shut up. The kind of people who attack tolerance and inclusivity don’t, I suspect, really care if the logic holds up. It’s not about the logic, it’s about the winning – which is why arguing and reasoning is likely to be a waste of your energy. Tolerance is not obliged to embrace the intolerant in order to still count as tolerant. It’s not a freedom of speech issue. It’s not a question of oppression. It’s a matter of drawing a line, and saying that violence, the call to violence, and harming people for no other reason than your own hate, isn’t acceptable. An it harm none, do what thou will. Go round trying to cause harm, and there should be no room to demand the tolerance you would deny to others.

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About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

3 responses to “Abusing your tolerance

  • Robin

    like this a lot I have in the past been told to be tolerant towards somebody elses intolerance, though at the time i was too confused and hurt to understand what was going on. As you put it, for those intolerant humans the bottom line is about them winning, beneath it all is a large hole where logic or thought might have been though of course far from being stupid they are very clever at making it appear like there is intelligence beneath the surface. Being able to tolerate other kinds of reality apart from yours is necessary if humans are to live together, instead of reverting back to archaic closed-door tribalisms!

  • Christopher Blackwell

    As you pointed out, it is not about logic but about pure emotional anger . ” How dare that you view things differently than I do,,which is the only one, right way” It is about them trying control what you are allowed to do and allowed to respond to a situation. There you can not give up your contrrol over your thoughts and actions.

  • Tracy Kruse

    It seems to me that tolerant people are living with open hearts and those who use that as a means, however co- or overtly are bullies, plain and simple, who must, on some level believe that if you have an open heart, you must be weak. It is the exact opposite, but there is naught to do but love them anyway and hope one day that enough love will quench their mis-spent fire. PS Love the lyrical “..flay their dodgy hides off”!!!

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