Tolerance Redefined

What defines tolerance? Is the following what you have in mind when you’re told to be “tolerant” of other beliefs?

a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry. 2. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one’s own. 3. interest in and concern for ideas, opinions, practices, etc., foreign to one’s own; a liberal, undogmatic viewpoint.

Perhaps not many watch the Miss USA pageant, but lately scandal after scandal envelops Mr. Trump’s events. This year provides no exception as intolerance rears it’s ugly head … at a beauty pageant. Miss California Carrie Prejean (a student at San Diego Christian College) provided this response during the Q&A session regarding same-sex marriage:

“We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite. And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.” Andrea Tantaros

One of the judges reportedly said after the event:

“She lost it because of that question,” Hilton said Monday. “She was definitely the front-runner before that.” Hilton, who is gay, said he gave Prejean a zero for her answer, and that may have made the difference in the outcome. FoxNews

We hear “tolerance” thrown about, but after the hate-filled diatribes launched against her, and one judge admitting she lost because he didn’t like her answer, where is the tolerance? Why was that question in the mix anyway? How can so many display hate toward her, while espousing tolerance at the same time?

Because they’ve redefined tolerance.

Tolerance no longer means you have your views and I’ll have mine, as we discuss and debate each other, but in the end if we don’t agree that’s fine, as we’ll both be respectful of the other. That’s what most people would mean by tolerance (and the dictionary definition).

But that’s not what many mean by tolerance anymore, as the response to Carrie Prejean obviously demonstrates. The new “tolerance” means everyone must accept their views, and society must change the way they want, or else you’re intolerant. And of course, since they’re right, anything done to you is acceptable and correct. It’s value relativism and situational ethics as whether something displays intolerance or not depends on who said it. That’s how they hold the contradictory position of justifying their hateful speech, while at the same time claim they’re showing tolerance.

The intolerance of the tolerant crowd makes as much sense as the value relativism crowd saying the only absolute is no absolutes exist. In other words, the only supreme rule is there are no rules, and everyone does what is right in their own eyes. Huh? But that’s the twisted logic of value relativism and the “tolerant” crowd when attempting to justify their contradictory actions.

Sound bizarre? Consider the difference Miss California Carrie Prejean received verses President Obama during the campaign:

I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage (Candidate Obama). ABC News

Where was the hate-filled rants against candidate Obama? What about Vice-President Biden as he expressed similar views? “Tolerance” depends on who says what — on the one hand, a liberal politician becomes elected President, while a Christian student has her title denied, yet both expressed similar views. So much for any pretense of consistency — tolerance depends on who says what and when without any consistency.

Regardless of your views on marriage of any kind, any reasonable person must admit the bizarre responses (to be polite, as some of them can’t be repeated in a family-friendly way) display remarkable intolerance of her views (and even hate directed toward her personally). After all, it’s a beauty pageant and had little to do with politics — at least until the Miss USA committee knowingly approved questions they knew to be a trap.

Interesting what her sister (who supports same-sex marriage) had to say:

Prejean also said that her sister, a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force, and a supporter of gay marriage, was not offended by her answer. “She was just in my hotel room and she said, ‘Sis, I’m not offended by anything that you said. We have two different opinions and I love you because of it. I love you because you stood up for what was right …’” FoxNews

So who displayed tolerance toward a view they disagreed with?

The same tolerant/intolerant mess pops up with religion. True tolerance means you believe in your god, and I’ll believe in mine — we’ll debate and discuss, but in the end it’s a personal choice each person makes. You present your case to me, and I’ll present mine to you, but in the end we’re free to believe however we wish.

But again, that’s not how tolerance is used. Tolerance means no absolutes exist, and anyone claiming such displays intolerance, and thus any actions taken against the “intolerant” person becomes acceptable to force them to the “correct” view. As such, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are all “intolerant” as they all claim exclusivity (of course, they can’t all be right, but that’s a topic for another time). And instead of rational, reasoned discussion, viscous attacks, hatred, and true intolerance become directed at various groups, as those groups don’t fit with the anything-goes New World Order (their term, not mine) where no absolutes exist (except the rule no absolutes exist … oh, my head hurts).

Be vary careful with how the word “tolerance” appears — many don’t use the normal definitions the rest of us would. Virtually everyone would agree tolerance — respecting others beliefs — is a good thing. But as Miss California Carrie Prejean found out, it’s not the way the “tolerant” crowd uses tolerance. Be sure you’re defining terms so we all agree on what tolerance is, and point out to the “tolerant” crowd just how intolerant they are.

George Orwell was right in “1984” as doublethink becomes the official language, if off by a few years in his predictions.

The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. … To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth. (Orwell, George “Nineteen Eighty-Four” page 35, 176–177)

Filed Under: Ethics

Recommended Citation:
Yeager, Darrin "Tolerance Redefined" (2024-05-19 17:20),
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