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I'm Tolerant, to an Extent

You cannot tolerate the intolerant. I repeat, you cannot tolerate the intolerant. Initially, this statement sounds foolish, perhaps even a bit cynical. But recall the bully in school you surely knew. Did your positive thinking soothe their desire to torture? Did your peaceful tone demand mutual respect from the brute? Perhaps asking them what they are truly feeling did the trick. Obviously this is foolish. Bullies are intolerant; they could care less how loving or holy you or anyone else may be. Yet there is again in this nation a very gullible movement, that seeks to hyperfocus all of our energy on respecting primitive ideologies, in lieu of science, progress and civility.


Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we assume if we have good intentions that the rest of the world will as well? Conservative pundits control the narrative of media in America by arguing that, whenever they are criticized for inciting violence, their free speech has somehow been violated. This preposterous notion, which has been widely entertained by tolerant Americans, has provided far right extremists with the shield they needed to usurp control of our country.


Whenever I hear moderates talk about compromising with the now extremely far right GOP, I often imagine them trying to explain the benefits of civility to a ravenous tiger tearing them to shreds. "Hold on! Let's talk about this rationally Tony. You take half of my right leg, and I'll let you buy my shitty tech stocks. Ah, my arm!" At least that would be funny. You cannot reason with the irrational.


Many people believe that they have seen people change because they presented them with statistical research. This has literally never happened. Sure, if a person sees a fact about something they don't care about then they will most likely believe it. Not many people question the accuracy of the guiness world book of records because not many people care who has eaten the most enchiladas. But when your factual data challenges a person's beliefs, you will hit a stone wall everytime. You cannot kung fu ninja reason your way through a person's values, no matter how profoundly stupid those values may be.


But I'm just a random guy with a blog and a lot of time on his hands. Let's see what the man who invented the tolerance paradox I have described had to say:


"...I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols."-Karl Popper


Popper begins his argument by stating that he is not arguing for censorship. Otherwise, it would have been called the censorship paradox. Popper was a liberal who wrote his masterpiece in 1945. He valued freedom of speech far more than most as he could not speak freely in Nazi Germany.


Popper's argument is simply that some people choose not to be rational. They don't care how sound or valid your argument is. They did not hang out in your loving circle where we all work together to ignore each other until the holidays. There are people in the world who view society itself to be a game to be won. These bullies, seeing the hallowness of society as hypocritical, play the game ruthlessly and without remorse. This is the Republican party you now have before you. They will not improve. They are neanderthals in suits who disrespect everything decent people stand for. If you humor them, then so are you.


I encourage everyone to live peacefully...until they are attacked, in which case I defer to the old proverb, "the pen is mightier than the sword". How you protect yourself from these primitive beasts is up to you. Here is one final word of caution from the great Karl Popper:


"We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.”


Now that is the kind of tolerance I can get behind.




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