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A Paradoxal Dilemma: Intolerance

 
 
Foxfyre
 
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 12:39 am
In the process of composing a post in another forum today, it occurred to me that there are no more paradoxal words in the English language than the word tolerance and its antithesis intolerance

Must one be tolerant of intolerance in order to be tolerant?

Or if one is intolerant of intolerance, is not that in itself intolerance?

Must one be in harmony with all choices made by all people in order to be tolerant? Is it intolerance to oppose certain behaviors or values or lifestyles or beliefs even if the reason those behaviors or values or lifestyles or beliefs are opposed is because they are intolerant of others?

It'll squirrel your mind if you think about this too hard.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 4,855 • Replies: 65
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PDiddie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 07:05 am
It is possible that one can be both without that creating the sensation of cognitive dissonance you appear to be experiencing.

And without that being contradictory or hypocritical.

The challenge is to accept that there are no absolutes.

And that we are all (to utilize the Christian explanation, since it's Sunday morning) sinners.

Just as we must wash our bodies, our clothes, clean our homes and perform preventative maintenance on our autos, so must our minds (as well as our hearts and souls) experience some decline and degradation before they are cleansed and renewed, only to begin the cycle again.

OK, that's as close as I am getting to sermonizing for the day.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 01:09 pm
Foxfyre, your conundrum depends on the absolutization of tolerant and intolerant. They thus lose their descriptive reference to anything in the real world and become the sterile abstractions of a purely logical issue. Pdiddie is right.
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 02:00 pm
Okay. I'm listening. Just waiting for others (hopefully) to chime in.
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onyxelle
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 03:33 pm
I have always thought both terms can apply to any individual. I'm tolerant of some things (some of my husbands habits) and intolerant of some things (my kids not picking up after themselves)....

It doesn't seem to me that one must be all or nothing either way.
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 03:41 pm
But taking an example....say Michael Savage who is on target on some issues but (in my opinion) is negative and unacceptably derogatory toward gays.

THose sensitive to such issues can justifiably say that Savage is unacceptably intolerant toward gays.

In order to be tolerant, do I have to be tolerant of his opinion in this area? If I am not, am I then intolerant?

I would hasten to add at this point that I do not consider 'tolerance' to be the same thing as 'acceptance' and I think people err when they attempt to make these the same thing.
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MyOwnUsername
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 03:43 pm
It depends pretty much on personal views. I am very tolerant except for intolerant people Very Happy
So, it even happened here on A2K that I was accused of being very intolerant for confronting member that called those that don't share his views "sick and sad".
I still think that's extremely funny, but it shows that tolerance can hardly have universal definition.
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onyxelle
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 03:48 pm
dictionary.com says in one of it's definitions:
Quote:
tolerant

adj 1: showing respect for the rights or opinions or practices of others


so in your example, i'd say that michael savage is intolerant of gays, but that to consider yourself truly across the board 'tolerant' you'd have to be respectful (per that above definition) of his 'intolerance'. That is if you want to be considered 'wholly tolerant' across the board - which I am not sure we all are.
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 03:54 pm
Good point. Are we moving in the direction that some intolerance is tolerable then?

Using another example: If you think a certain group is the most intolerant of people and that is why it is proper to not allow it control of policy making, how can we be intolerant of that group without being hypocritical?
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MyOwnUsername
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 03:58 pm
Well, I actually am tolerant to some intolerances, it's more about limits.
Hard to explane.
I mean, I can consider all bigots idiots and I can despise them, but I am tolerant to them as far as they keep their opinion inside. I will never be a friend with such person, but if he personally doesn't want to have gay, black or Jewish friends I don't think he should go to jail for that if you know what I mean.
But, if he acts, even verbally, then I am becoming intolerant Wink
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onyxelle
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 04:04 pm
Foxfyre wrote:
Good point. Are we moving in the direction that some intolerance is tolerable then?

Using another example: If you think a certain group is the most intolerant of people and that is why it is proper to not allow it control of policy making, how can we be intolerant of that group without being hypocritical?


Being tolerant doesn't mean allowing your own beliefs and personage to become doormattish lol. I think if a certain group is intolerant of all that is NOT them, we show tolerance in allowing them to believe what they wish, but we merely exercise our rights when we vote to not allow them full control of any one branch of government - be that on the federal level or the school politics.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 04:17 pm
This is only a paradox if your approach it with the simplistic position that one must be tolerant of all things.

Nobody really holds that position, one might want people to be tolerant of cultures and peoples and lifestyles but not, say, murder and rape.

It's simply not a mind squirrelling paradox at all. Let me spell it out:

People may want tolerance of all X. This doesn't mean they need to want tolerance of all Y.

Here's a helpful example:

One might wish for tolerance of all skin colours while not wanting tolerance for people who decide to murder others based on their skin colour.

It's no paradox except to the most simplistic of approaches.
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 04:56 pm
But doesn't that change the question Craven?

The question is (I think): must one be tolerant of intolerance in order to be tolerant?

Myownusername got to it with (I think) a yes. Smile
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PDiddie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 04:57 pm
Only yes or no answers are acceptable then, Foxy?
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 05:02 pm
I didn't say that PDiddie. So far I haven't faulted any answers to the question. It has been hard enough to figure out what the question is. Smile
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 05:03 pm
Foxfyre wrote:

The question is (I think): must one be tolerant of intolerance in order to be tolerant?


Fine the answer is no.

Unless of course you insist on this 'absolutization' of the words you seem bent on.

I do not have to be tolerant of X in order to be tolerant of Y. Only a ridiculously simple approach would require absolutism in tolerance.

I used to argue a similar point. If you want it to make sense do it like this:

Some people are under the impression that all tolerance is a good thing and that tolerance is inherently good.

They usually do so without thinking that the concept of tolerance can cover things that are quite oviously not good.

Not a mind numbing paradox or anything, except for the people who "absolutize" the word "tolerance".

Since people do in fact do so, it is a paradox.. for them.

But just between you and me they aren't right in the head.
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 05:24 pm
Okay I see your point Craven but am not convinced we are on the same wave length. Unless I'm misunderstanding you, you want to make the issue an absolute. I'm wanting to make it a value judgment. Not quite the same thing I think.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 05:37 pm
No, I do not wish to make it absolute.. I was saying that you were doing so in your interpretation of it.

But nemind, I've said my share and others have said the same. If you disagree or do not comprehend that can be the next guy's task.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 08:37 pm
But the question is about a non-reality. It reminds me of the following:
The masochist throws himself down and begs the sadist to hurt him. Being sadistic the sadist answers "no." Soon afterwards the masochist answers "thanks, that was good".
It seems that given the logic of their nature and their relationship the masochist always wins. But how realistic is this scenario?
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2004 09:21 pm
Good analogy but again I think misses the mark - more like these two sentences:

The following sentence is true.
The previous sentence is false.

When it comes to the dichotomy of intolerance I so far identify two choices.

1) One can tolerate intolerance.

2) One can be intolerant of intolerance and thereby be a hypocrite.

As much as I try, I cannot come up with a third choice without getting caught in the web of illogic.
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