Like Button

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Tolerance vs Equality

Today's loudest voices demand "tolerance" and "equality." While they don't suggest these are the same thing (and they aren't), they do seem to be linked. The problem appears to be that the loudest voices in today's society don't seem to understand what these words mean.

If you hear "tolerance" today, you would think that it meant "agreement" or, perhaps, more, "approval." The word means nothing of the sort. Consider a similar concept. "Brave" does not mean fearless. "Brave" means the ability to act in the face of fear. If there is nothing to fear, there is no need (or even ability) for bravery. Tolerance is much the same. Just as "brave" begins with "something to fear," "tolerance" begins with disagreement. If we are all in agreement, there is no need or even ability for tolerance. You do not tolerate what you approve. Tolerance is the ability or willingness to put up with (allow the existence of, accept or endure) something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with. If you love a good pizza, you never have to tolerate a good pizza. That's not the right word.

California was once the most tolerant of states (in some regards). The people voted (with an overwhelming majority) to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman, but the state allowed for "civil unions." Civil unions in California were not marriages, but held most of the same benefits. Under the California civil union rules, a pair of men could have such a civil union and enjoy all of the same kinds of benefits that a married couple would enjoy. That was tolerance. But the LGBTQx folk didn't want tolerance. They wanted equality.

Equality can mean "of the same value" or "the same". That's a problem. In the California example, civil unions were "of the same value" as marriage -- both had the same benefits and rights. That's not what they meant. If we mean "equality" in the sense that "men and women are of the same value", it has no bearing on "marriage." The longstanding, historical, traditional definition of marriage doesn't affect equality. If we mean "equality" in the sense of "the same," now we have a problem. First, men and women are not the same. This doesn't take a rocket scientist, a brain surgeon, and a religious bigot to figure out. It takes eyes. It is augmented by a little bit of biology. (No matter what you think about "gender dysphoria," for instance, you will never see a biological female produce sperm or a biological male get pregnant. That's completely contrary to nature.) But, hey, who cares, right? Because we're all "equal" -- the same. And we're not. And the claim that we are is nothing less than insanity.

So all we end up with here is conflict and confusion. "We won't tolerate intolerance" is actually a claim they will make. This is perfectly acceptable ... as long as you don't use the actual definition of tolerance, predicated on different, not the same, on disagreement, not agreement. Going on, then, to push "tolerance" into "embrace and celebrate" eliminates tolerance. Then shoving "equal" into "same" simply makes tolerance irrelevant and differences impossible and sanity is absent. We are different. We are of equal value ("equal"), but we are not all the same ("equal"). Tolerance of ideas and concepts other than our own is important. None of this is achieved by intolerance and exclusivity done in the name of tolerance, inclusivity, and an equality that doesn't include any of those things.


Anonymous said...

I just saw the twitter page of a white lesbian named Lauren Hough. She complains that congress is composed of too high a percentage of people who are:

* wealthy
* male
* white
* old

So it seems she yearns for equality of outcome of the voting process, not so much equality of the opportunity for running for office.

Craig said...

The tolerant political left, is perhaps as intolerant as any group in recent history.

Stan said...

Anon, it is the end of meritocracy, where we hire people who we think could do the job and assign people based on lack of wealth, are the proper gender, are not all white, and aren't too old. "Equality", they tell us, but of ancillary things like money, gender, race, or age and not ability or even the will of the people.

Stan said...

Craig, I was thinking the other day, "You know, I knew a lot of conservatives that thought perhaps Obama was the devil incarnate," but I don't think even they were as intolerant or vitriolic as today's "tolerant" left.

Craig said...

I think the difference between the conservatives who though poorly of P-BO and what we’re seeing now is the level of hatred and vitriol. I think people who uncritically supported P-BO or either Clinton are possibly; wrong, misguided, blindly partisan, or even stupid, but never evil. Clearly this level of vitriol isn’t new (look at the elections around 1800), but the level of anonymity and reach offered by the internet along with the veneer of legitimacy that come from sharing something make it different.

Danny Wright said...

Hmmm just like the people who find her cause.

Marshal Art said...

I don't mind suspecting evil among the left and Obama supporters. If one presumes to assign all the other traits Craig lists as being possible for those folks, evil is a legitimate trait for them as well. It exists in all of us, of course. But supporting abortion as a "right" is evil. Period. Supporting sexual immorality to the extent it is codified in law is evil. Period. Leaving citizens defenseless, while coddling criminals is evil. Taking money from earners while giving it to those who waste their lives is evil. Pretending they're doing good by supporting these things is evil. I'm in tolerant of people who defend such things and find them to be less than equal to those who don't. (Not the same as inequality under the law.)

Stan said...

You're "intolerant" of those people, and, yet, you've made no effort to pass laws to have them arrested, no effort to terminate their ability to choose such evil. I would argue that you are the definition of tolerant -- allowing to exist those with whom you utterly disagree.