Most folks in my predominately white neighborhood see themselves as open-minded; they believe in justice and support the right causes. More often than not, they are social liberals and fiscal conservatives. They may believe in recognizing multiculturalism and celebrating diversity (our neighborhood is full of white gay men and straight white people who have at least one black, Asian, or Hispanic friend), but when it comes to money and class they want to protect what they have, to perpetuate and reproduce it—they want more. The fact that they have so much while others have so little does not cause moral anguish, for they see their good fortune as a sign they are chosen, special, deserving. It enhances their feeling of prosperity and well-being to know everyone cannot live as they do.
Tolerance: The quality of accepting other people’s rights to their own opinions, beliefs, or actions. Meaning putting up with views not specially like, without sharing them.
Disagreement is a necessary condition of tolerance.
But comes the new twist: if you are in disagreement, you’re called intolerant. By the new definition, real tolerance becomes a logical impossibility. This new breed of tolerance dismisses all opponents as intolerant and bigoted and becomes de-facto totalitarian
The new tolerance is a movement of hypocrisy. It begs for tolerance on one hand, but advocates punishing dissent on the other it equates not agreement with phobia, non-conformity with hate. It assimilates conviction with fanaticism and selective segregation with justice.
Those who preach tolerance have none for those who hold opposing views. The dissidents become heretics who need to be witch-hunted.
Redefining tolerance aims to deceive. It becomes a tool for silencing criticism. It empowers stupidity, name-calling, and intellectual dishonesty.
No one has an absolute right to somebody else’s approval. Freedom of Speech is indivisible. We either have it, or we do not. It cannot mean only the freedom to say what others agree with. There is no serious form of public speech that’s hurts absolutely no one.
And freedom to speak only inoffensively is no freedom at all.
If freedom of speech is not an absolute right then it becomes a negotiable commodity in today’s face of democracy.