I’m Tired of Being Tolerant

I’m tired of pretending to be being tolerant while our civilization is destroyed. I want civilization back. I want Brahms, Rembrandt, and intricate French Gothic cathedrals. I want beautiful music, art, architecture, culture, and real science back. I want basic human decency and kindness.

To get it back, we have to reject modernity and have the courage to bear all the challenges and discomfort that will bring. We have to not be afraid to be called fascist, racist, sexist, x’ist, or y’ist. We have to unapologically demand competence rein as our supreme value. We must demand objective truth, objective beauty, and objective virtue. The opposite of this current “oppression olymipics” culture.

I don’t care what color your skin is, who you chose to be intimate with, or whether you’re a woman or a man–if you are competent, than you are valuable to civilization. If specific groups become over-represented in competency and the rewards for it, then so be it. I will never understand the war against competence.

Furthermore, people need to understand that “tolerance” is a two way street. It’s nothing short of insanity to run around demanding everybody be hypertolerant of you, when you are highly intolerant of them. I have seen this justified under the “paradox of tolerance” with the flimsy justification that “if abominable views are tolerated, they’ll flourish and bring oppression.” This is a huge stretch which allows the intolerant to acknowledge the hypocrisy without actually needing to address it. Many who preach inclusivity will exclude you at the first sign of “different beliefs.”

Read Herbert Marcuse’s Repressive Tolerance. The thesis statement of this essay can be boiled down to “movements from the left must be extended tolerance, even when they are violent, while movements from the right must not be tolerated, including suppressing them by violence.” I’m not part of any political party. I just have principles. To subdue anyone expressing their opinions within the constraints of the Constitution is wrong.

Tolerance is a one way street for the woke mob and it’s on purpose. I read the works of Herbert Marcuse, Paulo Freire, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and Robin DiAngelo four years ago while trying to understand “wokeness” and the anti-racism movement. I went in with an open mind and an eagerness to learn, and I walked away angry. People need to stop expecting these people to play by any rules of civility when they clearly have no intention to.

The “paradox of tolerance” states that if a society is tolerant without limit, its ability to be tolerant is eventually seized or destroyed by the intolerant. I don’t believe it’s out-of-line to suggest that’s precisely where our society is today. Cultural progress is labeled “colonialism” and inspired works of art are called “cultural appropriation.” Long standing statues of historical significance are being torn down. Didn’t George Santayana once say, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”?

There is tolerance, there is acceptance, and then there is reverence. Tolerance has too often become a euphemism for when people are really demanding affirmation and reverence. Those crying out for tolerance don’t actually want tolerance, they want laud and honor for overcoming some imaginary barrier.

Those same folks also view equality as a buffet, where they can pick and choose the good parts, and claim special treatment when it comes to dealing with the difficulties. Life is not meant to be easy. It is through diversity and hardship that we grow, develop resilience, and nurture our empathy for humanity. In the words of the Greek poet, Archilochus, “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”

When we are caught up bickering over who is more oppressed, the respective degrees of oppression, and the required reparations for the accused wrongdoing, we are distracting ourselves from our personal potential. Spend that time, instead, learning or practicing a skill. Improve yourself, serve as an example to your children, and change the world in your own small way.

Our increasingly harsh, dull, and uniform world is a reflection of our increasingly harsh, dull, and divisive tendencies. I’m tired of pretending to be being tolerant. I want civilization back. I want Mozart, Da Vinci, and flamboyant and dramatic Baroque cathedrals. I want beautiful music, art, architecture, culture, and real science back. I want basic human decency and kindness.

Forced tolerance debases the value of true acceptance and hinders opportunities for cultural progress–in art, in science, and in civility. It allows resentment to fester and it prohibits people from speaking their mind or leaving their mark.

To advance as a culture, we need to promote competence over all else. It’s that simple, and it’s that hard.

8 thoughts on “I’m Tired of Being Tolerant

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  1. “Intolerance,” has made me more tolerant. In that I now appreciate the word, and feel that tolerance has much more value as a choice or gift to be given than a mandate. I also think it allows one more honesty, to be selective with their tolerances as well as their reverences.

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    1. I haven’t considered that particular approach before, but I think I may try applying that. I try to be impervious to criticism, offense, and all this clown world nonsense, but this is still one of my hot buttons. I really appreciate the idea of tolerance a choice, a gift, or something to be earned. If someone is not deserving of tolerance, there’s no need for a second thought on the matter.

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      1. It’s, forgive me, intolerable. My skin is thicker than it used to be. At the end of the day, not that it makes anything better, but half of what one gets for criticism is topical and not relational anyway. Emotional jargon, ad hominem, strawmanning, or any number of other things.

        One of the things I’ve found is ignorance is bliss. Being able to ignore inconveniences is incredibly powerful. Whether it’s ignoring an angry rant or tirade at work, or deleting the well thought out text or comment before pressing send. Ignorance can be bliss and silence can be golden. It starves your detractor of a number of things: an emotional response, their ability to misrepresent your intentions, and their ability to play semantics with you. All of which are of no benefit to the defender to allow to be tampered with.

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  2. So many things to think about in your post…as always, thought-provoking. Thank you! (And side note – just for fun – you ‘had’ me with the reference to French Gothic cathedrals in your opening paragraph. Ahhh…and xo!)

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    1. Thanks, Vicki! And historical architecture makes my heart sing. All the brutalist buildings, concrete-molded benches, and cookie cutter homes make me sad for the world… there *can* be beauty and intricacy in everything, yet we chose efficiency.

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      1. Yep – right there with you. I like OLD stuff. Our fixer upper house is made of reclaimed bricks – something I’d never heard of until we tripped over this home. To our eyes, the bricks are MORE beautiful because they’re not pristine and similar — they were rejects — and yet altogether, they look just right. 😉 xo!

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  3. It was when I saw the words left and right, woke, that I knew I was reading someone that looked at the world exclusively through the American lens and didn’t think holistically. To start a comment with a criticism isn’t always wise I know. Maybe it’s not even competent. But you know, the Nazis were quite competent, and maybe that’s not like the number one thing we need as as a world, however much it certainly helps getting things done. But what are the right things to get done? And what does the world need most?

    I’m an American living abroad, an ex-Green Beret, Classical Greek scholar, world vagabond, art activist. poet, seer, spiritual seeker, and I’m just puffing out my chest here and showing my ribbons, and pardon me for that, but how do I tell you I might have something to say in the space of a comment on a blog?

    Anyway, I’m posting a book on my own blog chapter by chapter, Between Jerusalem I’m Sorry, and looking for tags I came across your post. Maybe you might like to see the world from my eyes? Your eyes by the way aren’t bad. They just see in double and seem to only see the sublunary. Here’s my latest chapter:
    https://acollaborationwiththeunknown.wordpress.com/2022/09/17/between-jerusalem-im-sorry-chapter-6/

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