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The Intolerance of the Tolerant

The Intolerance of the Tolerant

If you’re going to be intolerant, it’s not a good look to do it in the name of tolerance. 

Phyllis McGinley wrote a famous poem called “The Angry Man,” describing a man who saw it as his business to stamp out intolerance. Walking around with a banner marked “Tolerance,” he condemns everyone who disagrees with him:

And when I asked him why he strode
Thus scowling down the human road,
Scowling, he answered, "I am he
Who champions total liberty —
Intolerance being, ma'am, a state
No tolerant man can tolerate.

The political world is filled with people like this—those who carry around the banner of “tolerance,” but wield it like a weapon.

The most recent victim of the intolerance of the tolerance lobby is a Christian school in Louisville, Kentucky, in which, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported, an assignment was given to students asking them to respond charitably to a homosexual friend concerning the Christian strictures on sexual activity.

The story attracted a crowd of Angry Men on social media condemning the school as being “intolerant.” Several news stories have been written on the seeming crisis, and several opinion pieces have been run in the local paper (all of them against the school).

The school assignment was first publicized on social media by JP Davis, whose only connection with the school seems to be that he has a friend who sends his child there. Davis was outraged by the assignment. “I know it’s a Christian school, but that’s not my Christianity. That’s not my values.”


In other words, Davis’ problem with what the school is doing is that it isn’t teaching his own values. Davis apparently believes the school has some obligation to abandon its version of Christianity (the one that’s been around for over 2,000 years) in favor of Davis’ more recent version—but it’s not clear exactly why, other than that it bothers Davis.

Anyone can have his own personal view of Christianity. You can even take a pair of scissors to the Bible and create your own version of that, too. But when you want to force that edited version down other people’s throats, you shouldn’t be surprised when they prefer the original, unedited version.

This is the “tolerance” agenda at its worst: belligerent, unempathetic, and completely lacking in self-awareness regarding its inconsistency with its own message.

There is an easy way for people to deal with Christian schools teaching Christian beliefs to Christian children of Christian families: DON’T SEND YOUR CHILD THERE. Plenty of people exercise this option—in fact, this option doesn’t involve any effort at all.

Some people don’t mind being intolerant. In fact, if you think about it, all people—at least those who believe anything at all—are intolerant about something. But if you’re going to be intolerant, it’s not a good look to do it in the name of tolerance. 

Everyone has the right to beat other people over the head with their tolerance banner, but they shouldn’t expect the rest of us to be impressed by the fact that they say one thing and then do something entirely different.

Pixahive, CC0


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  • Avatar
    Jim Ruby
    May 25, 2022, 9:17 am

    The problem is that some people have such empty lives with so much spare time on their hands that they have to fill their void by finding ways to be offended on behalf of someone who isn’t offended.

  • Avatar
    May 25, 2022, 8:18 pm

    "..scowling down the human road.."…..a perfect image of the empty, venomous, virtue-signalling leftist

  • Avatar
    Richard Hawkins
    May 26, 2022, 1:45 pm

    The cultural Marxist, Herbert Marcuse of the Frankfurt School fame, wrote an essay about this in 1965 titled Repressive Tolerance. In this essay he advocated what he called, paradoxically, "liberating tolerance." "This “liberating tolerance” would involve “the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements” on the Right, and the aggressively partisan promotion of speech, groups, and progressive movements on the Left."
    This liberating tolerance is endemic in all our institutions thanks to our govt controlled K-12 indoctrination system and our university system.

  • Avatar
    Alexey B Korol
    September 19, 2022, 11:16 am

    Hi Martin, nice article.
    It’s a core flaw of the Western society that cannot be fixed without a near total destruction of the current institutions and shredding the US Constitution. I’m not going to dive too much into details, since I’m sure 99% of the people won’t bother reading to the end and just call me a communist or something. It doesn’t help my credibility, that I grew up in Russia.

    The Western civilization is based on inequality, and the social push for humanitarian ideals (equality) is destroying it.

    People read
    "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"
    and wonder wtf happened? What they don’t understand, is that the founding documents are not the full picture. Individual state constitutions limited suffrage, so the text was not supposed to apply to everyone. Generally speaking, ethnically European male adults that had a certain financial wealth were the only group who qualified for a vote.

    The gradual expansion of suffrage made true fulfillment of the declared obligations nearly impossible. In order to function, a group of citizens has to be marginalized to reduce the scope of obligations, wealth imported from abroad, or declared rights and goals unfulfilled. Looking back at history, usually all those tools were employed simultaneously and continuously.

    The specific argument you are describing, about fake tolerance, is just another case of people employing declared ideals to reach a political goal. That goal is directing the limited resources to their benefit, resulting in reduction for other groups.

    I imagine it like a bankruptcy case. Each investor is trying to justify why he should get compensated over other investors. They all have a legal claim in theory, but reality is what it is.

    Equality can’t be achieved without realistic expectations, so racism and class separation has to be used to designate who gets more. People at the top enjoy the way things are and resist any redistribution by fueling separation inside the society and infighting. Right now, the last tools they have available are population reduction and decreasing the level of intelligence/education to simplify manipulation.

    This whole tolerance, abortion, gun laws, immigration can be simply described as fighting over scraps. Good job whoever made it this far!


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