"If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them." Karl Popper.
We do not tolerate that which is excellent. Tolerance is patronising and diminishing. If you tolerate your family, your life will be thoroughly miserable. I do not wish to be tolerated. I want to be accepted, loved, embraced; I want my views to be debated and refined, robustly disagreed with, not tolerated. I reject the notion that tolerance is a societal good; it is most definitely not a Christian virtue. The Christian call is to love, which is robust and difficult, which seeks for the best for the other. I want to value you, not tolerate you.
Even if one were a fan of tolerance, the Popper quote is a justification of intolerance and judgment. Who gets to decide what is tolerable? The Tolerant become the bullies.
From Trish McClure
Trish's excellent comments about the unpleasantness of 'tolerance' and it's inherent contradictions really highlight the difficulty of tolerance as an attitude in society. Popper's point about defending a tolerant society against the intolerant obviously makes the tolerant intolerant, of intolerance! So somebody has to determine what we need to be tolerant of, which of course means that there are some things which we should not be tolerant of. Which means the so-called 'tolerant' are now intolerant of some things. Things of their own choosing. So they have become the new lawgivers of our society. Un-elected, self appointed lawgivers.
Trish is quite right to say that the 'tolerant' become the bullies!
The following quote from Ben Crenshaw illustrates the problem:
"The new tolerance turns out to be just as intolerant as the intolerance it abhors. By demanding that all views be considered equally valid, it cannot tolerate the old but correct view of tolerance, and it therefore becomes the intolerance of true tolerance. In the end, tolerance itself is destroyed, yielding instead to tyranny. When this happens, the new tolerance wields the libel of bigotry in order to intimidate and silence dissenters and impose conformity."