Tolerance in America, 2017

For purposes of this article I wanted to start with the definition of the word “tolerance.”  I am using the definitions applicable to this article from the Merriam-Webster site.

Definition of tolerance

1:  capacity to endure pain or hardship:  endurancefortitudestamina

2a:  sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own

b:  the act of allowing something :  toleration

Interestingly, definition 3 isn’t completely applicable to this blog, but here is the beginning of it:

3:  the allowable deviation from a standard

Observing America in 2017 we see many people speaking of tolerance, especially those on the political left.  They are not just in favor of tolerance, the almost (or actually in some cases) demand it.  Irony is apparently lost on these folks.

I am all for tolerance.  As I write this I am 54 years old.  When I was young I can recall tolerance being practiced, though not spoken directly about, in sayings like “I may not agree with what you are saying, but I will defend with my life your right to say it.”  I can’t recall hearing anything like that for decades.

I can even remember that saying and others like it being part of our lessons in school.  In Civics we were taught that this is what free speech means.  I can recall the ACLU defending the Nazis right to march in Skokie, IL.  Free speech means that political views of all kinds are allowed into the conversation.  We exclude nothing from entering the arena of ideas, as we assume enough Americans are smart enough to detect the more disgusting ones and reject them.  However, I have concluded that smartness has nothing to do with the detection of ugly ideas, education is the issue.  And somewhere along the way educating was not part of American education any longer.  American education is less about learning and more about indoctrination now.

Indoctrination leaves little room for tolerance of differing views.

The irony continues to evade some as the supposed “Free Speech Movement” began at UCLA Berkeley.  This is ironic on two fronts.  First, apparently those at this institution of higher learning hadn’t heard about what happened in Philadelphia some time earlier.  Second, what was once a place where students demanded the right to speak freely is now a place where Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos cannot speak freely.

In the squelching of Coulter and Yiannopoulos one could let it pass if it were simply the “protestors” at issue.  While they are part of the problem, the real problem rests with those responsible for safety on the campus refusing to do their job.  Instead of the campus and local police coming out and defending persons and property from harm and damage, they instead throw their hands in the air insisting they can’t.  What has happened here is the protestors, nee rioters, have defeated the campus and local police authorities.  If they can’t guarantee safety at a simple speaking event, when can they?  Would you send your children to such a place?

These safety officers have surrendered to the mobs, mobs who supposedly march, shout, damage, and threaten in the name of tolerance.  Actually, it is not a surrender.  Those that are ultimately responsible for safety on campus agree with the “protestors.”  They sympathize with the “protestors.”  They are in league with the “protestors.”

Back to these “protestors.”  They come out to stop fascism!  Again, irony has missed them.  Fascists are the ones who shout down speech they don’t agree with.  Tolerant people might not like what you are saying, but they will tolerate, and even defend, your right to say it.

Let’s return to our definitions of tolerance.  Are those preaching tolerance capable of enduring pain or hardship?  Well, they are capable of inflicting pain and hardship, but there is no evidence they are capable of enduring much of anything other than some time on a bus to get to their next “protest.”  Do they sympathize with or indulge those with beliefs differing from or conflicting with theirs?  This one is self-evident.  Will they allow something regardless of what it is?  Not if it is a view that differs from or conflicts with theirs.  Is there any allowance to deviate from their standard?  No, just recently this was demonstrated on another topic; abortion.  The new head of the DNC, Tom Perez, has made it clear the DNC will not support any candidate that deviates from full support of abortion.

As of this writing we are just a few days removed from the White House Correspondents Dinner that President Trump did not attend.  The theme was free speech.  Whatever you think of Trump regarding free speech, and I have my issues with his possible pursuit of changing libel laws, he hasn’t done anything as of yet to shut anybody down.  Instead, at this very dinner the press recognized that he and his administration have been the most open regarding access in recent memory.  And what was said at this dinner about the actual stoppage of speech in Berkeley and other locales?  Nothing.  Not a word.

Some on the left have spoken out about Coulter and Yiannopoulos being shut down at Berkeley, including Bernie Sanders and Bill Maher.  I applaud them.  But the former head of the DNC, Howard Dean, has recently stated that hate speech is not protected by the first amendment.  Really?  Should I ask who will determine what is hate speech and what is not?  No need to answer, we know it shall be the “tolerant” ones.

There was a time when pornography was legalized because it was deemed speech.  I think it is patently obvious that the first amendment was meant for political speech and not pornography, but I would rather afford pornography protected status than to have any infringement on the first amendment protections we are afforded under our Constitution.  I am willing to tolerate what I believe is harmful to the people involved and our country as a whole to insure all speech is protected.

For the most part tolerance is a good thing.  But there are some things we should not tolerate as Americans.  Vandalism, violence, shutting down peaceful assembly and free speech, blocking traffic, and general thuggery.  Unfortunately, it seems these kind of things are about all some on the left will tolerate . . . as long as those doing so agree with them.

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