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The Paradox of Tolerance

The paradox of tolerance nearly disappears if we understand that "tolerate" isn't "celebrate". So "intolerance" isn't a "failure to celebrate."

We've got people proclaiming, as if it's smart and means something, that we ought not "tolerate intolerance." But what they mean is that we must not tolerate those who fail to celebrate...whatever it is thing that they think ought to be celebrated.

"Tolerate" is this...I may hate what you have to say but will defend with my life your right to say it. I can HATE your opinions and your choices, and still defend your right to have your opinions and make your choices.

In the PARADOX the only person I'm allowed to show intolerance for is the person who doesn't allow other people that same freedom to have opinions or choices that they hate or even allow other people to have disapproval or dislike of opinions or choices that they think are right.

We could say the same about "COEXIST".

We can coexist with people we feel are dangerous in their wrong headedness. We can deal with people we feel are leading others astray. We can tolerate and we can coexist with anyone, right up until they will not allow our own opinions and choices because of the excuse that *they* have judged those opinions or choices intolerant and decide that they've got the moral authority to do more than attempt to reason and persuade us.

Notice just how often some people explain that no one should even try to reason or persuade. Pay attention and notice how often some people say that they don't have to educate you. Notice next time someone says that beating people up or starting stuff on fire is better than having a conversation with people who believe bad things.


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