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You are here: Home > Forum > A Place of Safety > General Talk > Should we tolerate those who aren't tolerant?
Should we tolerate those who aren't tolerant?  [message #68253] Mon, 13 January 2014 21:26 Go to next message
Kitzyma is currently offline  Kitzyma   United Kingdom

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We live in a (supposedly) tolerant society. I believe that is a good thing. However, are there not some things that should not be tolerated?  

The rights of gay people in our society have improved greatly over the last 50 years or so. However, that improvement was not brought about by tolerating the injustices perpetrated against gay people but by fighting against intolerance.

Should we show tolerance toward those who abuse the democratic processes to destroy democracy? Should we tolerate a religion that does not tolerate gay people?

I believe that only those who show tolerance deserve to be tolerated. I also believe that I have a right to try to obliterate any religion that tries to obliterate me.

[Updated on: Mon, 13 January 2014 22:57]

Re: Should we tolerate those who aren't tolerant?  [message #68254 is a reply to message #68253] Mon, 13 January 2014 22:18 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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I do not wish to be tolerated, nor do I wish to be accepted. I wish to be equal.

I do not tolerate those who seek to diminish me by tolerating me, and I fight them, often hard.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Should we tolerate those who aren't tolerant?  [message #68255 is a reply to message #68254] Mon, 13 January 2014 23:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kitzyma is currently offline  Kitzyma   United Kingdom

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Quote:
timmy wrote on Mon, 13 January 2014 22:18I do not wish to be tolerated, nor do I wish to be accepted. I wish to be equal.

I do not tolerate those who seek to diminish me by tolerating me, and I fight them, often hard.

--

So do you not believe that you should tolerate those whom you find annoying and that they should tolerate any annoying habits you have? Do you not accept people who have beliefs or behaviours that are different from yours? Do you not tolerate the crying child in the supermarket? Do you neither accept nor tolerate a friend who has an annoying habit of over-thinking everything? If you accept and tolerate others why should they not accept and tolerate you? If tolerance and acceptance diminish you, would intolerance and rejection not diminish you even more?

Personally, I don't believe that all people are equal, though I believe that people should start off with the assumption of equal rights and equal opportunities. A child-killer is surely not equal to someone who devotes their life to curing sick children. A mother who allows her lover to torture her child to death is not equal to the mother who runs into a burning house to rescue her baby. I'm not equal in sprinting ability with Usain Bolt nor am equal to Mozart as a composer.

And if someone claims that all people are of equal value they will need also to define in what way they use the word value and how that value is assessed as being equal. Given the choice between rescuing my brother from drowning or rescuing a complete stranger, I'd rescue my brother. So at least for me, not all lives are of equal value. Also, despite what others might like to believe in theory about all lives being of equal value, I'd bet that when faced with a practical choice of saving one rather than another they would value one life over the other.

Re: Should we tolerate those who aren't tolerant?  [message #68256 is a reply to message #68255] Mon, 13 January 2014 23:57 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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I understand that a child will cry. That is not tolerance nor acceptance. The overthinking friend is either a friend and over thinks, or is irritating beyond belief and is not a friend.

Your example are interesting but seem to me to have a different thrust from your original question. Equality in that sense is not the same as that in your response.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Should we tolerate those who aren't tolerant?  [message #68257 is a reply to message #68256] Tue, 14 January 2014 07:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
dgt224 is currently offline  dgt224   United States

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It seems to me that equality before the law is fundamental. To the extent that equality is properly enforced, tolerance (as I understand the word) is automatic. If you don't like me because I'm (gay, male, white, old, short, American, fat, ...) that's your business, and to the extent that you tolerate whatever of those attributes distresses you, I have no complaint. It becomes a problem for me only when you wish to enforce your tastes upon me. As, for example, those who insist that marriage must involve exactly one man and one woman. They will not tolerate any deviation from their narrow view of the proper form for intimate relationships - and they insist that their view must be endorsed by the state.

To the question of the title - it seems to me that we are obligated to tolerate the intolerant to the extent that they stay within the bounds of polite, tolerant society. We are not, however, obligated to tolerate intolerant behavior. Just as a general preference for tolerance does not mean that it is okay to cheat, steal, or murder. We tolerate differences that might make us uncomfortable; we should not tolerate violence or other forms of abusive behavior.

Timmy, you write, "I do not tolerate those who seek to diminish me by tolerating me," and I really do not understand what you mean by that. How do you know when someone is tolerating you, and why do you care?
Re: Should we tolerate those who aren't tolerant?  [message #68258 is a reply to message #68257] Tue, 14 January 2014 09:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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"Quote:"
dgt224 wrote on Tue, 14 January 2014 07:03
Timmy, you write, "I do not tolerate those who seek to diminish me by tolerating me," and I really do not understand what you mean by that. How do you know when someone is tolerating you, and why do you care?

--
Because tolerance is patronising. I hate being patronised. As an example, I do not tolerate black people. I either like or dislike the black person. But I don't like or dislike them as a black person, I like or dislike them as a person.

Tolerance is patting someone on the head and 'tolerating' them because of the different attribute they have, not because of any other attribute they possess which is actually relevant to normal social interaction.

We tolerate the objectionable and unpleasant. The major thread in the definition is:
"Quote:"
allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference.


That is not equality. That is permission. And being given permission diminishes me.

Who are they, these people who give me permission, and by what right?

[Updated on: Tue, 14 January 2014 09:14]




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Should we tolerate those who aren't tolerant?  [message #68266 is a reply to message #68253] Wed, 15 January 2014 06:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
dgt224 is currently offline  dgt224   United States

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Does this mean that there is no one around you whom you "allow the existence of without interference", even though you find them distasteful? I should think that would get very tiring after a while, unless you are unusually blessed in your neighbors and associates.

I would suppose that you do not "tolerate" black people because to you the color of a person's skin is largely or entirely irrelevant. "Tolerate" would not apply unless there were something there you disliked and felt called upon to disregard.

I would emphasize the "without interference" part of the definition and repeat my first question - if someone dislikes you for some irrelevant reason and does not interfere with you in any way, how do you know? I would exclude from this the idiot who makes a show of "tolerating" your presence; that is not tolerance, to my mind; it is instead the idiot saying "Look what a good, tolerant person I am." But making the claim of being tolerant is not the same as demonstrating tolerance.

When we talk about a "tolerant society", I think we mean that society expects its members not to act on irrational prejudices, to accept that everyone is entitled to their own tastes and values, and to refrain from interfering with those whose tastes and values differ from one's own.
Re: Should we tolerate those who aren't tolerant?  [message #68267 is a reply to message #68266] Wed, 15 January 2014 08:14 Go to previous message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13496



Quote:
dgt224 wrote on Wed, 15 January 2014 06:09Does this mean that there is no one around you whom you "allow the existence of without interference", even though you find them distasteful? I should think that would get very tiring after a while, unless you are unusually blessed in your neighbors and associates.

I would suppose that you do not "tolerate" black people because to you the color of a person's skin is largely or entirely irrelevant. "Tolerate" would not apply unless there were something there you disliked and felt called upon to disregard.

I would emphasize the "without interference" part of the definition and repeat my first question - if someone dislikes you for some irrelevant reason and does not interfere with you in any way, how do you know? I would exclude from this the idiot who makes a show of "tolerating" your presence; that is not tolerance, to my mind; it is instead the idiot saying "Look what a good, tolerant person I am." But making the claim of being tolerant is not the same as demonstrating tolerance.

When we talk about a "tolerant society", I think we mean that society expects its members not to act on irrational prejudices, to accept that everyone is entitled to their own tastes and values, and to refrain from interfering with those whose tastes and values differ from one's own.

--
I think we may be talking about slightly different things except where you say "it is instead the idiot saying "Look what a good, tolerant person I am." But making the claim of being tolerant is not the same as demonstrating tolerance." Even there we are not 100% in accord.

I do not mind particular individuals having a huge dislike for certain groups of people. I accept that such individuals exist, and even support their right to express their dislike. What I mind is when this huge dislike influences the very fragile "Wisdom of Crowds" so that the crowd then dislikes those groups.

I don't 'tolerate' the individual's views, and I often seek to influence the views when I'm in a position to do so. I cannot abide the crowd's attitude, though. It leads to lynch law.

I am tolerated, and I hate it. I am tolerated at home for being gay. I choose to remain, and do so for many reasons, but being tolerated is unpleasant.

Society appears to tolerate Fred Phelps and his vile outpourings. 



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
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