Bard Bloom (bard_bloom) wrote,
Bard Bloom
bard_bloom

On Tolerance

I've been in the blast radius of several attacks on liberalism that involved the word "tolerance" lately.
The substance of these attacks amounts to, "How can you claim to be tolerant if you don't tolerate my homophobia / transphobia / bigotry / denialism / monotheism-and-expunging-of-all-other-faiths / whatever?"
Tolerance doesn't mean that I'm obliged to put up with everyone and everything regardless of how badly they behave. It doesn't mean that I need to tolerate outright evil. It doesn't mean that I need to accept everyone's philosophy and theology as the equal of my own.
Tolerance means that I consider myself obliged to recognize everyone's humanity, no matter how badly they behave, and to reject certain tactics as inappropriate for use on any human. For example, there is no excuse for rape or torture, and no excuse for threatening them, either.
Tolerance means that I consider myself obliged to attempt to find ways in which we can live in the same society and world without violence or misery. For example, the one-word description of my religion is "polytheism", and there is absolutely no useful way to reconcile that with orthodox Judaism. Which is fine; there is no need to reconcile them.
There *is* a need to abandon witch hunts and pogroms though. To denounce them. Absolutely not to tolerate them.
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