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Why Do We Tolerate the Intolerable?

"Tolerists, far from being the nice, kind, fair, tolerant people they think they are, in fact are the enemies of freedom and the enablers of totalitarianism."

by
Janice Fiamengo

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June 30, 2014 - 8:01 pm
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The acuteness of Howard Rotberg’s book Tolerism: The Ideology  Revealed, now in its second, updated edition, lies in the ease with which readers will grasp his coinage. We know what he is referring to as soon as he begins to identify its salient features, as if the word has been around for a while. Indeed, the phenomenon is so widespread and so bizarre that it deserves its own term — and Rotberg’s bracing dissection.

Tolerism is a worldview in which the tolerance of cultural “otherness” — the more violently anti-Western the better — has become Western elites’ most celebrated (perhaps their sole) value, before which all other values, of justice, freedom, intellectual inquiry, or political dissent, have given way. Rotberg posits that it is precisely the abandonment of traditional Judeo-Christian principles and the adoption of a pernicious, unmoored moral relativism that have enabled tolerance (though it is not very tolerant) to assume its unchallenged status as the absolute virtue. The particular focus and defining example of tolerism in our post-9/11 world is Western accommodation of radical Islam: the more violent and hateful the jihadists show themselves to be, the more insistent the tolerists are about the need to empathize with them.

Tolerism is not the same as simple tolerance, Rotberg explains, referring to the history of religious and political toleration as an enlightened recognition of reciprocal accommodation under which tolerance is only one among other, guiding, values. Once elevated to the status of an ideology in itself, however, tolerism is a belief system that requires the uncritical embrace of otherness not for some rational social benefit but as a proof of the tolerists’ moral rectitude; as such, it spells the end of proper discrimination and judgement, and results in the self-contradictory acceptance and encouragement of terrorists and rogue states that are themselves murderously intolerant.

Under the reign of tolerism, the so-called tolerant lose the ability to recognize or appraise evil, believing that fanatics can be placated if only westerners are willing to understand their point of view. Efforts on the part of the committed few to resist Islamic triumphalism are decried as “intolerant,” the mere charge thought sufficient to end all argument. As a result, the betrayal of traditional liberal institutions and rights — through press censorship, the suppression of academic freedom, selective blindness about abhorrent cultural practices — becomes acceptable, even mandatory, and Islam makes steady inroads upon its host culture.

The other side of tolerism, as we see, is a detestation of and determination to silence those who dissent from the pro-Islamist worldview. Also evident among the tolerists is an abiding antipathy towards the Jewish state of Israel, and Rotberg is indefatigable in showing how such hatred is revealed in everything from wildly inequitable United Nations resolutions to false reporting in the mainstream press about Palestinian casualties. In Rotberg’s apt formulation, the tolerist position “expresses more concern about Israel erecting a security fence to protect citizens than about the intentional targeting of those civilians, and obscures the fact that there would be no checkpoints and no fences if the Palestinians would give up their fantasy of ejecting the Jewish state from the Middle East.” Such evocative formulations are at the heart of this fine study.

Rotberg buttresses his analysis of tolerism’s signs and effects with an arresting diagnosis of it as the signature psychopathology of our time. He proposes that large segments of the West, including a leftist cohort in Israel, have fallen prey to a mass psychosis characterized by self-hatred and a deluded faith in the good will of those sworn to their destruction. He cites Kenneth Levin’s The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege, on the manner in which citizens under existential threat “often end up internalizing the hatred against themselves.”

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Top Rated Comments   
to paraphrase the Talmud, as Dennis Prager once wrote, those who treat the cruel with kindness will treat the kind with cruelty.

Time to stop the nonsense of treating the cruel with kindness
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are two types of tolerance relevant to this essay.

1. Tolerance of people different from yourself who are not violating your natural God-given right to life, liberty and creative pursuit of happiness. This is rational mutually beneficial tolerance.

2. Tolerance of people different from yourself who are violating your natural God-given right to life, liberty and creative pursuit of happiness. This is irrational self-destructive tolerance.

30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Tolerance of evil is not a virtue, and such tolerance leads to the destruction of freedom. Our Declaration of Independence was a declaration of war - a declaration of intolerance against the evil system of European Feudalism and the so-called "divine right of kings," and resistance to that evil was not fighting a "straw man" either.

“I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” Thomas Jefferson

"Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.” Thomas Jefferson

Islamic Sharia Law is not a "straw man," it an evil perverted form of religious totalitarianism which sanctions the murder of people who leave the Muslim religion, the murder of non-Muslims, and sanctions the subjugation (enslavement) of all women and non-Muslims. The purpose of violent mass-murdering Islamic Jihad is the establishment of Totalitarian Islamic Sharia Law.

Rational intolerance of the evil inherent in Islam's totalitarian law and violence reflects an individual's natural desire for liberty and self-preservation.

30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (28)
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How original. Jews are always the victims. Whether inflicting artillery barrages on civilians in the civilians' own homes in residential areas, running over civilian homes with bulldozers without due process, evicting Christians and Muslims from their property that's been in those respective families for generations and in possession of title from the original British mandate, running over farms and orchards, killing American Rachel Corrie with a bulldozer and refusing substantive cooperation to investigate, killing American sailors aboard the USS Liberty then refusing substantive cooperation to investigate, selling American military secrets to the Chinese and Soviets then celebrating the spy as a victim, murdering millions of Christians in the Bolshevik Revolution, subverting the Western World with the multiculturalism that Israel refuses to extend, and imposing an all out assault of American free speech by way of pushing anti-constitutional hate speech laws by Jewish supremacist bigots like NYU Law prof Jeremy Waldron, Jews are always the victims.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
to paraphrase the Talmud, as Dennis Prager once wrote, those who treat the cruel with kindness will treat the kind with cruelty.

Time to stop the nonsense of treating the cruel with kindness
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Merriam-Webster:
"Full Definition of TOLERANCE
1 : capacity to endure pain or hardship : endurance, fortitude, stamina
2a : sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own
2b : the act of allowing something : toleration
3: the allowable deviation from a standard; especially : the range of variation permitted in maintaining a specified dimension in machining a piece
4a (1) : the capacity of the body to endure or become less responsive to a substance (as a drug) or a physiological insult especially with repeated use or exposure ; also : the immunological state marked by unresponsiveness to a specific antigen (2) : relative capacity of an organism to grow or thrive when subjected to an unfavorable environmental factor
4b : the maximum amount of a pesticide residue that may lawfully remain on or in food"

I always think it helpful to start with an agreed-upon definition of a term we are discussing.

30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are two types of tolerance relevant to this essay.

1. Tolerance of people different from yourself who are not violating your natural God-given right to life, liberty and creative pursuit of happiness. This is rational mutually beneficial tolerance.

2. Tolerance of people different from yourself who are violating your natural God-given right to life, liberty and creative pursuit of happiness. This is irrational self-destructive tolerance.

30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Liberals are cowards and they hide that cowardice behind a facade of "tolerance". But you'll notice they only show that "tolerance" to the people most likely to get violent with them.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good thought, except allows "bifurcated view" and thus a divided approach as to solving any issue, problem or crisis. A more direct approach would be as follows:
It is obvious, from Fast & Furious" to IRS scandals, this administration is an outright international criminal organization. Moral equivalency has always been this administrations "guiding light." It is obvious to any one American listening to testimony before US Congress ALL deposed respondents parrot this administrations exact:thoughts, words and deeds. To this administration, Our US Constitution is a "living document" therefore ALL social behavior can be interpreted in light of this philosophical "pretzel twisting." Need proof? Recent SCOTUS decisions just the week of June 30, 2014. Dissenting Judges were always 4, the most liberal of the High Court. So, with this underway (dismantling) the shredding of Our US Constitution, We The People are now left with frontal attacks on:1)religion, 2)education, 3) free market capitalism and finance, and lastly 4) separation of powers in ALL levels of governance of the USA. Let's take number 1, religion. It is obvious, this administration's goal is to aid and abet the decimation of ALL of Israel, cradle of all Western Civilizations religious beliefs. America's current administration's objective is to curtail, hamstring, and tie everything Israel into a tight knot so as to facilitate its ultimate demise (Valerie Jarrett, chief enabler). Free trade, international accords, (remember most of what Israel consumes is imported), shipping agreements and even berthing in Israel's major ports is made difficult by Obama's administration (folks, these are sovereign Israeli accords). Obama and his criminal enablers are choking Israel's very livelihood for survival and existence. Then there's reduction in "in kind" subsidies America has pledged to continue to Israel. Lastly, ability for Israel to defend itself against overwhelming odds from terrorist organizations the likes of which no American has ever seen, experienced or even lived with:Hamas, Hezbollah and PLO (Abbas). According to this administration - Israel is the culprit, and therefore should suffer sanctions (Valerie Jarrett she's of Middle Eastern descent). ALL Americans must rally to Israel's defense and turn back this tide of anti semitism Obama's administration has unleashed upon ALL Israeli citizens. Pray. Amen. God Bless America.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Excellent review, thank you.
I'll order the book if the price drops -- $25 for a 290pp paperback? Oh no.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
It seems to me that tolerism starts with people who are pretty much worthless: Lacking in the personal virtues such as courage, the ability to learn from experience, recognize their sins and strive to turn away, the drive to do constructive work, the wish to help others, and so on.

These individuals know they're worthless and they hate themselves for it. But they lack even the ability to say "this is ME" and instead project their failings onto their fellows AND SUPPORT THOSE WHO HATE THEM AND US. "I'm bad so all Americans (westerners ...) are bad, so naturally other people hate us. And anyone who hates us must be okay."

Twisted almost beyond following.

We grew this lack of character in our homes and schools, especially after WW II as standards for child rearing loosened and schools became jobs programs. As it crests and destroys itself -- and probably much else -- we should remember that homes and schools need reform when we get to the other side and sooner when possible.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Liberals are void of any moral compass in their lives. By embracing Humanism, they seek to become like god and set up the rules as they go along. The one thing they have tried to now make us all believe is that tolerance and acceptance are one and the same thing. By turning their backs on the one true God and Creator, they have become like the people described by Paul in his letter to the Romans. "For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things." Rms 1:19-23
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Why do we tolerate the intolerable?"

Well, only some of us are so immorally blind and stupid, but, unfortunately those are the ones in charge of America. Our fathers and our founding fathers were not such fools; they did not tolerate the intolerable. Those good Americans that came before us were intolerant of cultures and governments which were violating the individual's natural God-given rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness; they did not tolerate cultures and governments that violated the laws of nature and nature's God.

http://history.hanover.edu/texts/adamss.html

30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
“In regard to religion, mutual toleration in the different professions thereof is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practiced, and, both by precept and example, inculcated on mankind. And it is now generally agreed among Christians that this spirit of toleration, in the fullest extent consistent with the being of civil society, is the chief characteristical mark of the Church. Insomuch that Mr. Locke has asserted and proved, beyond the possibility of contradiction on any solid ground, that such toleration ought to be extended to all whose doctrines are not subversive of society. The only sects which he thinks ought to be, and which by all wise laws are excluded from such toleration, are those who teach doctrines subversive of the civil government under which they live [Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and Constitution].” Samuel Adams

30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Tolerance is the last virtue of a dying society."
-- Aristotle
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
In the movie Quiz Show, Dick Goodwin's wife accuses Goodwin of being " the Uncle Tom of the Jews".

By this she means that Goodwin sacrifices his principles, his standing, his honor...to curry favor with a WASP culture that shows discrimination, antipathy and hatred of him and his faith, while he is mandated to investigate corruption of one of them.


Tolerance isn't the issue. Denying one's patriotism, religion, and alliances to curry favor with those who mean to destroy you is revolution as a thrill ride. It is not enough to "accept" the enemy, one must adopt them as pets and suckle them. Advance their cause by being traitors to your home side.

This was done by the seditious left with communism. It is done with radical Islam.

Scrub clean their atrocities and lie furiously and slander patriotism and the free market. That isn't tolerance. That's treason.

Uncle Tom'ism shuck and jives and grins at enemies of freedom. The bizarre plot twist is the false hair trigger use of the slanderous charge of racism.

The Woodstock Jihad is simply seditionist Uncle Tom traitors currying favor with every enemy of America and Israel.

They are liars, slanderers, traitors and scheming, plotting totalitarian cretins. If you like betrayal and dishonor, they are your team. Otherwise, these creeps don't deserve "tolerance". They deserve to have the starch beaten out of them.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why does the "Tolerant" Left sympathize with and enable killers?

Because they want them to kill... us.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
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