“Tolerance!” they shout. You must be tolerant to have value in society. If you do not tolerate differences in others you are “ignorant,” “bigoted,” “narrow-minded,” and are likely a “religious nutter” (Fundamental or Evangelical Christian). At least that is what the media and modern society says. The modern American is tolerant of everyone.
Excuse me, but did not our Founding Fathers fight for freedom because they would not TOLERATE taxation without representation?! Did they not take up arms because they refused to TOLERATE a king who oppressed them at every turn and closed their profitable ports?! The United States began from healthy INTOLERANCE.
I know, I know that we have the right to free speech. I know we have the right to the free expression of religion. This is true tolerance. This is the tolerance the Puritans longed for and that is part of the United States “Bill of Rights.” But the tolerance preached today is something new, something different. Modern tolerance is more akin to acceptance and agreement.
Tolerance then was the right to live your life the best way you saw fit. Tolerance of the past allowed for you and me to disagree, but continue to live and work side by side. Tolerance of that caliber is no longer our modern understanding. The tolerance proclaimed today says, “You have to accept me and not speak against me. If you tell me you disagree or that what I am doing is not right in your eyes then you are intolerant; and therefore you are wrong.”
Am I the only one who sees this definition of “tolerance” as intolerant? Am I supposed to believe you can disagree with me and be tolerant, because you are sophisticated and open-minded, yet if I disagree with you, I am close-minded, unsophisticated, and intolerant? You can tell me I am wrong, but I cannot contradict you?
Someone say it ain’t so! Someone please help me understand!