Judging from a lot of my Tumblr material, I’m a pretty intolerant guy. I don’t see this as a vice - if anything it is a virtue, for reasons I will later explain - but I don’t mind if you disagree. I will tolerate your disagreement, because in objecting to my choice and personality you too are being intolerant. We’re all intolerant to an extent, no matter how hard we try not to be - we cannot escape it. I’m going to explain why not; and why we shouldn’t even try.
It may sound strange to begin with, so bear with me, but intolerance is the basis of our morality. Whenever someone claims to be ‘non-judgemental’ I cringe, because their judgement of others is what makes our species special. In a court of law the ‘Judge’ is the moral authority, not the criminal - so why are we so keen to distance ourselves from such a role in everyday life? The failings of cultural relativism demonstrate that, whilst it might be nice to tolerate every opinion as equally worthy, the concepts of right and wrong do exist.
If somebody believes 2+2=3 I shouldn’t ‘tolerate’ that, I should correct them. Likewise, if somebody believes murder is okay I shouldn’t ‘tolerate that’, I should correct them. This isn’t just true with extreme examples. Intolerance of failed beliefs is how we built the systems of morality and knowledge we have today, and the ability to judge others has been a major part of that. Cultural relativists, believing that ‘right and wrong’ varied with culture and weren’t translatable, find themselves unable to criticise a society supporting genocide. Tolerance is all very well… in theory.
It upsets me when people ‘agree to disagree’, because they are missing out on a nice spot of intolerance. This is always seen as the moral high ground but, considering the above examples, continuing the argument would be much better. Intolerance is like a form of natural selection for what we believe, and without it beliefs survive that are both stupid and dangerous. All arguments do is encourage people to only adopt positions which they can logically defend, which is not such a bad idea at all. Tolerance has crippled our collective mind by littering it with the ideas which should not survive, ideas which are perfectly tolerable until they go on to influence somebody’s actions. The process of arguing, when done properly, is actually a constructive force in society.
That this is completely the reverse of what we are told says a lot about those doing the telling - which systems are most keen to hide from reasonable criticism? My personal example is that of religion. Most major religions urge their followers to spread the faith, and even go so far as to threaten that unbelievers will suffer some horrendous fate. Most atheists seem pleased when the faithful ignore this and leave them well alone, but I am outraged:
Am I not worth saving? Are my religious friends content with leaving me to burn? I go out of my way to ask religious believers to convert me, my reasoning being that if there is a god, then I’d certainly like to know about it before it’s too late. Despite this, all too often I find myself ‘tolerated’ in my decision to (in the eyes of the devout believer) dive off this metaphorical cliff. This is what tolerance does to our society; we no longer feel comfortable enough to save the eternal lives of those we love. We also have to ‘tolerate’ other decisions which will harm them in the long term, because ‘this is the 21st Century and we’re free to do what we like’. I’ve relented to live and let die, but it’s not how I would have wished.
Of course, nowadays most religious believers can’t justify their belief - and, just as Luther famously claimed ‘reason is the greatest enemy that faith has’, they arguably shouldn’t - but I won’t get into that now. Our focus is tolerance, and its proven ability to foster ignorance and make allowances for evil. Intolerance, on the other hand, is a sure sign that somebody is standing up for what they believe in. If that’s a crime now, if we have to quieten and dilute our opinions that we lose all individuality, then we may as well embrace our extinction now. Tolerance creates anything but freedom, whatever it claims - freedom to be different is worthless if our real, character-defining differences must be suppressed in its favour.
Fighting amongst ourselves is far from counter-productive, as it supports a constant state of self-improvement. We evolved these brains through competition in the first place, and the following intellectual arms race has catalysed our development ever since. It would be amongst the greatest tragedies in human history if we allowed ourselves to stagnate now, and I mean that genuinely. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but the questioning ape took over the world. When we give diplomatic immunity to idiotic ideas in any form, we lose the last of that momentum. When we start a blanket scheme of tolerance in which every opinion is equal, we start going backwards.
It would be nice if they were all correct, but we live in the real world, and variation is a major part of natural development - the other vital part being the mechanism which filters the good of that variation from the bad. Intolerance is that mechanism (for our thoughts, at least), and we would do well to embrace it - or else accept a future full of grey, where brilliance is quickly overwhelmed by mediocrity, and where a constant stalemate prevents progress for anyone. However it markets itself, tolerance is a disease for the minds of our species - a real wolf in sheep’s clothing. Don’t let it fool you.
- butterscotchbliss likes this
- andworldbuildingtoo likes this
- devmorg7 reblogged this from just-smith
- sosungalittleclodofclay likes this
- drewthanasia reblogged this from just-smith and added:
- just-smith posted this