The Myth of Tolerance

The proclaimed hero of 21st century consciousness is a fraud. I found myself beckoned to this hero and was left empty handed. The invitation came from friends, strangers, professors, books, advertisements, social reform groups, the homeless, lyrics, music videos, and the list goes on. I was sent away because I didn’t have the right clothes, or the correct hair style. I did not refuse the right foods, and did not drink the right drinks. I did not listen to the right bands, did not read the right books, I did not have the right responses, I missed the right rallies, and shopped at the wrong stores. I had the wrong friends, talked to the wrong strangers, and worshipped the wrong God. So I was branded intolerant and found myself outside of the welcoming arms of this social idea.

I was led to believe that one could be completely tolerant while being intolerant of intolerance. My incompatible worldview then helped to define the boundaries of this free idea. My intolerance of certain things then glorified this group’s tolerance of all things but my things and that was ok because this was the consensus amongst the tolerant.

If it is true that free ideas have no limits why did I find myself outside of the camp? On top of that why should I have believed that authentic tolerance embraced an intolerance of intolerance? I had been bamboozled. In the wake of Holy Wars and racist wars , gay bashing, unfair trade agreements, and unequal pay for equal work the conscious scrambled to provide an under girding philosophy that would disseminate love in various forms.

   The strategy: Dismantle Hate by the weapon of blanket tolerance.

In exchange for hate we’ve been given uncontextualized love. What is this you ask? This initiated idea of blanket tolerance says that it will offer its own version of love no matter what the context. This “love” then is in no way united to situations, actions, circumstances, or opinions. In its attempt to broaden the scope of experienced love it has taken away the actual weight of love. Love outside of a given context is cheapened and cannot be felt. Rodney King’s cry “Can we just all get along” is rightly mocked because we are given no tools by the framer of this statement as to how dissenting bodies can peacefully come together.

So we can no longer disagree with each other. We have become so afraid of dissent that we’ve actually stopped talking to each other in meaningful ways. We’ve heard I HATE YOU when the words spoken were actually I disagree with you. In the hopes of having a false sense of unity we’ve barred ourselves from disputes and have welcomed overarching tolerance for all things. When will we awaken. In fear of offending others our society has adopted the don’t ask don’t tell policy in regards to personal beliefs and politics and then we wonder why great candidates don’t emerge from the fabric of our nation.

Then came the assault on language. The framers of this philosophy have led us to believe that by stripping meaningful words of meaning one could create one’s own definitions. What was missed was that these architects slipped in, through the back door, the very matrix by which we are to accept anything as being true. This in turn enables control over the very essentials of one’s personally constructed ideas. Does not he who makes the laws of a thing actually make the thing? I mean if the guidelines for building are so defined that I can only make a particular thing in a particular way, have I then created anything on my own?

So in an age where perception outweighs actuality the myth of tolerance is allowed to thrive. As long as we say the right words in the right situations we will be deemed noble human beings. It doesn’t matter if what is actually being communicated, without words, is violent as long as it is not perceived that way. In this way tolerance becomes a covert weapon for hateful prejudice and ignorance. The victims of this discrimination appear to be shadow boxing an unseen enemy.

The ideologues say with the perpetrators of this rhetorical violence that:  There is indeed   no war occurring.

The resulting frustration of the victim goes deep within the soul which screams out in agony against numerable foes cloaked by the day’s philosophy. Why does your love feel like hate and your acceptance, like alienation? Why do your hugs feel like daggers and your kisses taste like poison?

So I watch in wonder as the tolerant meet in droves to protest Trade Organizations, and Banks, and as they douse paint on fur clad women, and as they meet to rally against wars and throw up fists up at governments who don’t end the debts of a continent.

Will I ever encounter those who are true to their claims of consistent tolerance; who can sit by while countries are ravaged, who won’t force their disguised morality against capitalism, who will allow for re-gentrification of urban neighborhoods? This would be noble.

                                                                           Or would it?
The foundation of my tolerance is embedded in truth. I don’t claim to be tolerant of all things but will never call my intolerance, tolerance. The roots of my care find themselves in the soils of illuminated dissent and conscious disagreement. I disagree with you but I don’t hate you. I’ll even embrace you and walk a mile or two with you, try to understand you, wrestle ideas with you, but don’t expect me to celebrate what I might deem detestable. Don’t ask me to admire what I might deem inglorious. That's where my love for you starts. My love doesn’t end with your turned back, it doesn’t shrivel at your curses, it doesn’t wash away with your tears, and it doesn’t close its mouth with ended dialogue.  It rather waits silently in the ashes of shattered dreams, mourns in the blood filled rivers of autocracies, then stands in protest against the perilous winds of the age.

Will this unmasked hero stand up and stop leading us to believe that in its arms is fullness of joy. Maybe then we can all go look for these things elsewhere and maybe we’ll be swayed into the embrace of unconditional love which first needs conditions to display that its love is real and unchangeable.

 So when you come into my world with insincere charms and unsatisfying rhetoric, I will now know who you are and accept your daggers and drink your poison in hope that from my rich veins will flow love, mercy, and hope grounded in truth and sincerity.


David FranceComment