Is Tolerance a Virtue?

We know what the Left hates about conservatives. In her losing campaign for president, Hillary Clinton articulated her litany of the deplorables: “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it.”

You’ll note that each one of these indictments is part of a taxonomy, a pseudo-scientific cultural-Marxist system of “isms” designed to categorize and thus dehumanize political opponents. The terminology is not meant to engage argument, as political discussion should, but rather to end it, by putting its objects beyond the pale of discussion. We know where this ends; that the Left continues to use it tells us all we need to know about their real motives.

What, then, is their solution? Not engagement or even, to use one of their favorite words, compromise. On the Left, compromise is a one-way street: we give up part or all of what we want or believe to wholly adopt their position on any given subject, and thus is born the polite fiction of “comity.”

The solution is: tolerance. By which they mean, “submission.”

Consider this astounding tweet from Maggie Haberman, one of the White House correspondents for the New York Times. Despite her boss Dean Baquet’s recent proscription against Times reporters tweeting their personal contempt for the president, conservatives, and Republicans, she continues to make her feelings known about Donald Trump on a daily basis.

As I often say on Twitter (@dkahanerules), in the political realm, “tolerance” is not a virtue—neither, by the way, is “compassion,” especially coming from the secular, even atheist, Left—and “diversity” is not a goal. The Left uses these quasi-Christian concepts that are applicable perhaps to personal behavior but never to public policy—Realpolitik—in order to obscure their real goals; for them, the moral arc of the universe is long, but it always bends toward power. To quote one of their favorite sayings: by any means necessary.

Haberman was reacting to Trump’s retweeting of a link to some anti-Muslim videos. Naturally, her first instinct is to side with the Muslims, as is that of her newspaper:

President Trump touched off another racially charged furor on Wednesday by sharing videos from a fringe British ultranationalist party purportedly showing Muslims committing acts of violence, a move that was swiftly condemned by Britain’s prime minister as well as politicians across the spectrum.

Mr. Trump retweeted the video posts from an ultranationalist British party leader, Jayda Fransen, who has been charged in the United Kingdom with “religious aggravated harassment.” The videos were titled: “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!” “Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!” and “Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!”

At least one of the videos, however, did not show a “Muslim migrant,” as it claimed, but a teenage boy who was born in the Netherlands, according to Dutch authorities. The other two showed incidents in Syria and Egypt in 2013 without any explanation of the context of the political unrest then taking place in those countries.

This may well strike the casual reader as legalistic pettifogging, especially given the situation in Europe at the moment, just short of a year after the Christkindlmarkt attack in Berlin. Unless these videos are staged and faked, in what sense are they hateful? Inflammatory, possibly; revolting, certainly. But so was Allied propaganda against Germany in World War I, and against Japan in World War II. Truth is, after all, often the first casualty in war—in this case, a war we didn’t start.

Further, one might wonder, “What is “racially charged” about Muslims?” Islam is not specific to any race, as the extent of its conquest from North Africa to China and Indonesia demonstrates. But the Times has a desperate need to view as many political issues (John Conyers, the Grammys, the NFL) through the Marxist prism of race as it possibly can, in order to infuse all such discussions with the moral authority of the Civil Rights movement from more than half a century ago.

Further, what do George W. Bush’s actions after 9/11 have to do with the situation today, except to tell us that he drastically misread the meaning of the attacks on New York and Washington that day? “Tolerance” of an attack on the United States in the name of Islam was not the proper response to the atrocity. The proper response would have been a decisive triumph over a culturally inimical force that has long defined itself in opposition to Judeo-Christianity and the West and has world supremacy as one of its central doctrines.

By contrast, consider FDR’s request for a declaration of war against Imperial Japan in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor:

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger. With confidence in our armed forces—with the unbounding determination of our people—we will gain the inevitable triumph—so help us God.

That is how a leader speaks, and how a mighty nation reacts to an existential threat. Today, we have the luxury of criticizing the Roosevelt administration’s dispossession and internment of Japanese-Americans (upheld by the Supreme Court in its Korematsu decision, 6-3), but only because we know the Allies ultimately prevailed. Our forebears in late 1941 had no such certitude. And it certainly never would have occurred to them to make capturing and trying the Japanese pilots in an American court of law the definition of victory. Magnanimity is extended only after a war is over, not before. That’s been true since Caesar, and remains true today.

Instead, to his everlasting shame, Bush urged Americans to go shopping and allowed the bin Laden family to flee the jurisdiction—in the name of “tolerance.” It was, conceptually, a fatal error, because it played right into the hands of the Left, which employs Herbert Marcuse’s definition of “tolerance” whenever it uses the word. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of Repressive Tolerance, you certainly should be:

The realization of the objective of tolerance would call for intolerance toward prevailing policies, attitudes, opinions, and the extension of tolerance to policies, attitudes, and opinions which are outlawed or suppressed.… … Surely, no government can be expected to foster its own subversion, but in a democracy such a right is vested in the people (i.e., in the majority of the people). This means that the ways should not be blocked on which a subversive majority could develop, and if they are blocked by organized repression and indoctrination, their reopening may require apparently undemocratic means. They would include the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc.…… Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.…”

If genuine tolerance is not a virtue to the Marxist Left, why should it be for anybody else?

About Michael Walsh

Michael Walsh is a journalist, author, and screenwriter. He was for 16 years the music critic and foreign correspondent for Time Magazine, for which he covered the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. His works include the novels As Time Goes By, And All the Saints (winner, 2004 American Book Award for fiction), and the bestselling “Devlin” series of NSA thrillers; as well as the recent nonfiction bestseller, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace. A sequel, The Fiery Angel, was published by Encounter in May 2018. Follow him on Twitter at @dkahanerules (Photo credit: Peter Duke Photo)

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31 responses to “Is Tolerance a Virtue?

  • Of course.
    Tolerance, as rhetorical tool, is simply sound & fury, signifying nothing. It stands only as a part of Progressive Dogma: the bark uttered by the Four-Headed, Marxist God: Diversity, Social Justice, Equality, and Inclusion. It means nothing.

    Or rather, it means only that we (those who would use it as club) should ‘tolerate’, embrace, celebrate, and elevate only those things which advance the Agenda towards the Right Side of History and reject utterly everything (and everyone) which doesn’t.

    So what must NOT be tolerated? Why all those things which brought us to today: meritocracy, freedom (to rise or fall), logic, reason, morality, profit,…Judeo-Christianity…. Western Civilization….the Constitution….truth, beauty….the very idea that transcendent standards drive distinction, create difference, and thereby inevitably foster Inequality, Exclusion, and an absolute indifference to Diversity.

    Gather all that together, bag it up, label it Racist, Homophobic, Eurocentric, CisGendered, Xenophobic, White Supremacist Privileged Enlightenment Garbage. THAT we cannot tolerate.

    The Idiots at Pomona said it best in their grunted response to their President’s plea to respect the Right to Free Speech. I quote at length: “The idea that there is a single truth–’the Truth’–is a construct of the Euro-West that is deeply rooted in the Enlightenment, which was a movement that also described Black and Brown people as both subhuman and impervious to pain. This construction is a myth and white supremacy, imperialism, colonization, capitalism, and the United States of America are all of its progeny. The idea that the truth is an entity for which we must search, in matters that endanger our abilities to exist in open spaces, is an attempt to silence oppressed peoples. We, Black students, exist with a myriad of different identities. We are queer, trans, differently-abled, poor/low-income, undocumented, Muslim, first-generation and/or immigrant, and positioned in different spaces across Africa and the African diaspora. The idea that we must subject ourselves routinely to the hate speech of fascists who want for us not to exist plays on the same Eurocentric constructs that believed Black people to be impervious to pain and apathetic to the brutal and violent conditions of white supremacy.”

    Say it loud; say it proud: Tolerance, Inclusion, Equality, Diversity, and Social Justice! Well, at least as long as all that gives us what we want….

    ““Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.”

      • I’m surprised you were able to handle the 2+2, then!
        Either that or you’re the exception which proves the rule? Or just possibly escaped before the inmates took over the asylum.

      • Well, by ‘82 we didn’t have to use slide rules. But one of the profs showed us once. He was pretty quick with it.

      • Hey, slide rules are cool.
        And being pretty quick with one is cooler, still!

  • By definition, you have to first dislike something before you decide whether or not to tolerate it. Locke (IIRC) had three categories for things about which we feel likes or dislikes: those that we like, those that we dislike, and those that we dislike but choose to tolerate. The left has done away with this third category, and redefined “tolerance” as “loving whatever it is we tell you to love, or else.”

    Real life example. I classify the whole queer thing (in its many manifestations–I lost count) as something about which I go from indifference (e.g., whether or not a friend or acquaintance is gay) to dislike (militant LGBTQWTF). I tolerate–i.e., dislike but choose to give it a pass–that some confused person like Bruce Jenner decides to lop off his tackle and call himself Annie or whatever it is he calls himself these days. What I *don’t* tolerate is the Left’s demand that I espouse the demented notion that someone born a man can become a woman. Thus, if I met Jenner, I’d call him whatever he wants to be called out of basic humanity and respect–but nobody alive today can make me believe that he is a woman, because it’s biologically and logically absurd.

    A long-time friend has “unfriended” me (in real life) because of this simple proposition. With the typical lack of self-awareness that distinguished leftists, she let me know that she couldn’t be friends with me because she likes open-mindedness and tolerance. In other words, I’m so open-minded, I slam the door in your face if you don’t check all the right boxes about what you think. That’s the way the Left’s brain is wired, while very few on the right would do the same thing (in other words, we *tolerate* dissenting viewpoints from friends).

    I find human nature endlessly fascinating.

    • You made your first mistake in thinking anyone on the left has a brain.

    • Sadly, I have had a similar experience with a liberal friend. I have also noticed that when liberals use the word “tolerance”, what they really mean is “acceptance”.

      • I’d go as far as to say that it actually means “enthusiastic endorsement,” and always at the expense of a piece of traditional America. Liberals can’t love X without hating Y. Their manichean view of the world requires a devil for every angel they elect.

    • A thoughtful response. But it seems you believe you can remain aloof as it all unfolds around you. And of course we all know that what is currently happening all around all of us most likely sooner rather than later, is going to catch up to all of us. And we will have to choose. Submit or fight.

      • “All”? Once you vote, you say your piece with your friends and you donate/be active with some causes (can’t do it with ALL of them), what else can you do but pick your emotional battles? If you don’t learn to stay aloof with some issues that don’t touch you as much as other ones, the road to living a life of anger and bitterness is very short. Ask our Liberal friends.

  • Just as long as the left tolerates guns, everything should be fine.

    They didn’t come for the jews first, first they came for the guns.

    ( and in this case it was those nice, smiling weimar guys )

  • Tolerance was a ‘virtue’ to the left when they needed to have various perversions tolerated.
    Once tolerated they moved the goal post and demanded acceptance followed by demanding to be called ‘normal’.
    Now, they have no use for tolerance, which was for suckers in the first place.

    • They tolerate any mandate that compels you into compliance with their agenda.

    • Toleration is like moderation and only appropriate depending upon circumstances. Let me also remind you that toleration in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

  • ACTUAL tolerance is a virtue.
    Leftist “Toleration for THEE, but not for ME” posing isn’t a virtue.

  • who would be eager to “tolerate” a practicing pedophile living next door? How about a practicing cannibal? Would either of these conditions make you happy?
    The sorry refusal to regard evil, yes, EVIL behavior as such is one of the strains of the sickness that is so damaging to the nation, the society, and the culture. Some things should never be tolerated, certainly not accepted or celebrated. Sexual PERVERSION is one of those. One.

  • Once again, Time conflates culture with race (Muslims come in all colors) and religion. Islam means “submission.” Leftists demand submission. Hmmm……(thoughtful chin stroke)

  • So what if you’re a murderer? We’ll tolerate you. So what if you kill children and family pets? We’ll tolerate you. So what if you abuse old people? Who cares? We’ll tolerate you. So what if you’re in the country illegally? We’ll tolerate you. So what?

  • Is a society of tolerance kinda like what the French call a house of tolerance?

  • From the article–The solution is: tolerance. By which they mean, “submission.”

    Tolerance of everything, without excluding things that are evil, harmful, & disgusting, leads to anarchy and decline.
    That kind of tolerance is no virtue.

  • A fascinating article, Mr. Walsh, but an incomplete argument.
    Your premise is that the Left is using democracy to subvert the dominant normative values of society. You suggest that this means the left wants to supplant those values with values of their own, hence the need for intolerance of current dominant values so they can be replaced by new dominant values.
    I want you to continue this thought by addressing the unanswered question: what is the end goal? If enough people believe in the values being advanced by the left in its intolerance of existing values, explain how that is in and of itself a bad thing. America has always been promiscuous, freedom loving and even libertarian when it comes to individualism. You need to present the argument as to why the left’s version of individualism is dangerous. Until you do, the left continues to advance, doesn’t it?

  • About 300 years ago Alexander Pope summed it up:

    “Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
    As to be hated, needs but to be seen.
    Yet, seen too oft, familiar with her face,
    We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”

  • Typical. Those disgusting videos that the orange Hitler retweeted had been DEBUNKED and the asshole who made them is, if not in jail, then on her way as the Brits don’t tolerate inflaming racist speech. Trump is known to tweet shit from racists and idiots and it’s typical of other racists to ignore all the facts and support him. Like this ‘opinion’ piece.

  • To tolerate is to accept the unacceptable, to welcome that which will never be welcomed.. You don’t show tolerance to people that are normally acceptable… Tolerance is not a virtue, as true virtue descends from God Himself.. And God doesn’t tolerate sin, nor does He tolerate corruption, in fact in Revelations the Lord chastises one church for tolerating Jezebel, saying “I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except that they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am He which searches hearts and minds, and I will give unto you every on of you according to your works.” Revelations 2:22-23.. Point is, you should read the whole passage.. Evil seeks to find ways to normalize that which is abnormal, and they seek to create acceptance for that which is corrupt and evil..

    Think of this why do queers always seek to have access to children, and why do queers tolerate child molesters in their ranks??
    The queer folk refuse to condemn pedophilia and rape! these are criminal acts! The Left has been giving the devil his day in the sun and has been attacking the very practices, followers, and beliefs of the Judeo-Christian Faith… The Left are following Satan in every practice which is why they embrace Election Fraud as a practice.. Deception is revered because the Left honor Satan.. So, why would any true Christian or Jew respect the same virtues that the Left honors when the practice they follow honors Satan? They hold to ego, Pride, and deception as their trade marks.. The answer is a simple one Stop supporting franchises, and businesses that support the liberal Left.. If every Christian in America were to stop supporting left wing businesses and franchises we could see a serious turnaround in this nation spiritual, cultural, and political… Walmart and Walgreens?? We stopped shopping there. General Mills? and Kellogg’s???? done not interested.. Disney and any brand controlled by Disney like Star Wars? They are dead on arrival.. marvel? dead SJW Ghostbusters? Dead Kraft? there done for, and you can forget about Oscar Meyer too.. Hasbro? sad but they too are liberal and therefore won’t be getting any money from me.. Capitalism allows us, the customers, the authority through the power of the purse and wallet to not support these corrupt businesses.. Heinz? They are the financiers of the Republican RINO leadership!! If you want more conservatives in office, then We have the power to stop the Left leaning Republican traitors that are the RINOs by giving Heinz the boot, plus John Kerry Obama’s former right hand man’s wife owns Heinz also! so Shop the competition instead..
    YOU HAVE the power to stop the Left America If you hit them in the pocket book! Target is dead,
    Pepsi(Abortion) and Coke(transgender) are gone.. When we eat out we ask for milk shakes! Restaurants Milk, or water.. Seriously, a little self control goes along way! Lemon aid also works..
    Nintendo is dead to me for celebrating Satanism- Mario gained the powers of demonic possession in odyssey, bayonetta an angel slaying witch is owned by Nintendo, Vivillon the Pokemon was designed to celebrate the Number 666.. Vivillon also was made special because of its number in the Pokedex which is also 666.. So yeah Nintendo is dead to me for the most part.. Not even getting a Nintendo switch.. It is all about learning when to say no to these companies..

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