Is Tolerance a Virtue?

By | 2017-12-01T09:26:49+00:00 November 30th, 2017|
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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 the Author:

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, will be published by Encounter on May 29, 2018. Follow him on Twitter at @dkahanerules (Photo credit: Peter Duke Photo)