Tolerance, anyone?

Is it just me, or do you get confused about how the word “intolerant” is being used, or abused, these days? If we don’t agree with someone’s political agenda, we are accused of being “intolerant”. It is more than just left versus right, however. It inhibits, if not forbids, rational discourse. And, rational discourse is the foundation of a representative government.

We don’t tolerate those with whom we agree. We simply agree. To tolerate a behavior or opinion seems to require a disagreement as a pre-condition. Thus, to accuse someone of being intolerant when that person disagrees with an opinion or behavior betrays a marked lack of understanding of what the term means. It also betrays that the accuser is unable to tolerate opinions or behaviors of others if different from his own.

Perhaps this is one – not the only one, of course – contributing factor to the current acrimony in virtually all our political activities. We can’t rationally discuss things because we can’t even define our terms!


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