Has tolerance gone too far? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
Normally, I wouldn’t review a book that I think is political, but I think in this case I will make an exception. Recently, Greg Gutfeld came to town to sign copies of his book “The Joy of Hate.” I went with my friend who was the best man at my wedding and had said to him “I hope Gutfeld says something in this book about tolerance.”
I was pleasantly rewarded. Practically everything he says in the book is about tolerance.
Before you start off thinking the wrong thing, keep in mind that on page xiii, Gutfeld says tolerance is a good thing. The problem he tells us is that tolerance has been morphed to something else. It is not the idea any more that while we disagree, you are allowed to have your opinion and voice it. It is that if you have an opinion that is contrary to the desires of the “tolerati” as Gutfeld calls them, you deserve to be shut down. You will be silenced. Your opinion should not be given. The consequences are huge. You will be seen as intolerant.
As I have said before, modern tolerance is a one-way street. For instance, if you are opposed to capitalism, you are someone whose voice should be heard. If you are someone who is opposed to socialism, you do not have a right to speak. You are to be mocked.
It’s noteworthy that while my viewpoints always come from my Christian worldview, I cannot say for sure if Gutfeld shares that same worldview. If I had to guess, I would say no. For instance, Gutfeld is not really opposed to redefining marriage for the homosexual community and eliminating the gender requirement. Here’s the important difference. I oppose redefining marriage and I have numerous people who are ready to call me a bigot, a homophobe, etc. I have no doubt instead that if I was on Gutfeld’s program, he would welcome me to come and make my case and even if we still disagreed at the end, we would still be able to go out and get a pizza together at the end. Gutfeld would not see me as a bigot for my views. He’d see me as wrong and realize that crying out “Bigot” makes the issue be about the person holding the view instead of, well, the view itself.
Gutfeld tells us that this tolerance has got us to the point where we are not allowed to offend anyone. People live with highly delicate feelings and how dare you go after those. Of course, religious Christians like myself are the noted exception of this, especially if you add in that I’m a conservative. It’s quite alright to say what you want to about us and make fun of us. Just don’t do it to others of a different persuasion.
Consider for instance that when the Book of Mormon musical came out, Hillary Clinton cheered for it. When the “Innocence of Muslims” video was shown, Hillary condemned it. What are the differences between these videos? A big one could be we know that today, the Mormon hurch is not likely to rise up and cause a riot based on a musical. Sure. You can say it’s disrespectful and tasteless, but the Mormon Church does not consider it worth fighting. You can have a crucifix in a jar of urine and call it art and that’s okay. We dare not insult Islam. Could it be because we know Muslims could kill us if we do?
Unfortunately, the Muslim world will not respond to this by sending us a friend request on Facebook. Show those who are wanting to destroy you that you’ll bow down to them and don’t wish to offend them and they’ll keep going.
Another aspect of this is the constant use of terms like “haters” and “hate” as if all hate was ipso facto wrong. Let’s state this clearly. If there is nothing in this world that you hate, there is something wrong with you. If you see injustice, you ought to hate it. If you see evil, you ought to hate it. If you see children being abused, you ought to hate that. If there is nothing that you hate, then there is really nothing that you love either. If you really love something, you will hate that which opposes it.
Recently, my Mrs. found a group called “We Stop Hate” and was asking me if we should join it since it opposed bullying. Now Gutfeld and I agree on this. Bullies are horrible. No one should support bullying. Still, I am concerned about where I see the anti-bullying movement going. I have a concern that before too long, making a statement such as “I think homosexual practice is immoral” will be seen as hate speech and bullying and since I am a “hater” I deserve to be shut down.
What will not be discussed in this? The issue of homosexuality. What will be discussed in this? My person instead. I do not go to a debate to discuss who I am. I go to one to discuss an issue. Tolerance talk makes conversations not be about issues but about feelings. It is the result of a kind of moral relativism. (Tolerance seems to be the one virtue that moral relativists believe in.) It is the case that the case is already closed and people like myself just don’t deserve to be heard because we don’t walk in lockstep.
What’s to be done?
Gutfeld says we need to grow a thicker skin in many cases. Some statements are just offensive and don’t result in actions. An example is jokes. Many of us need to lighten up with jokes and not make a big deal and if a joke is tasteless, instead feel sorry for the person making it that they have no real humor left. Of course, there are some exceptions, and he includes talk about threats as an example. These should not be taken lightly.
In the end, we, who believe in true tolerance and let others have the right to speak, should keep doing what we’re doing and letting people speak. If we are sure we are correct, we should not hesitate to enter into a debate and discuss the facts. It is more likely that the person who does not want to discuss the facts but would rather hide behind the shield of tolerance is the one who fears the facts are against him.
I realize many of my readers could be liberal unlike myself in their politics. I still recommend they read this, mainly because of concern over the tolerance movement. The path we are going down is one we do not wish to continue and only by refusing to give the tolerati the kind of tolerance they want can we do so. We should always practice true tolerance, but certainly not the kind of tolerance the tolerati recommends.