Long, long ago, almost lost in the mist of time there existed something called tolerance. By no means everyone was tolerant all of the time, nevertheless it was recognised that toleration was a mark of a civilised society.
Toleration wasn’t a set of rules or encoded by legislation, it was something more fundamental. Tolerance was an attitude of mind and heart which said, “Live and let live.” There was an underlying assumption that as long as people didn’t hurt others they should be allowed to get on with their own lives.
Such tolerance is encapsulated in the story of the actress Mrs Patrick Campbell who wasn’t all that bothered by homosexuals “As long as they don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses.” This liberal attitude of tolerance has been cast aside and trampled on by progressives in the name of legally enforceable rights.
Progressives reject tolerance because they prefer legislation to education, force to persuasion. If something does not accord with their ideals their automatic response is to clamour for a law to be passed. They fondly imagine that enacting legislation is the same thing as dealing with a problem. Rather than persuasion they ultimately rely upon enforced conformity.
Progressives not only reject tolerance they hate tolerance. They see it as a threat. The term itself carries with it the implication that there is something to be tolerated because it deviates from that which is accepted as normal. To assert this is to break the ultimate taboo, it might hurt someone’s feelings. The very concept of the normal must be rejected in case someone should feel abnormal.
Thus we find the importance of the family consisting of mother, father and children supported by their wider family is downplayed. Arrangements, with two ‘parents’ of the same gender, with one mother and a succession of ‘uncles’, or any of a myriad of permutations must be affirmed as they are without challenge.
Those who are wildly promiscuous or who embrace any and every sexual practice are not to be confronted with a call to chastity or faithfulness. To do so is to be guilty of bigotry. Such a call is held to be based upon the arrogance of making a value judgement and claiming your way is better and making others feel unaccepted.
As a result of these changes in attitude the counter culture has become the dominant culture and is proving as intolerant and puritanical as any heresy hunting Jesuit inquisitor or Maoist revolutionary. The punishments may differ but the underlying premise is the same. Today’s dominant culture is intolerant of the now dissident culture of traditional Christian based beliefs.
What we have witnessed in recent decades is not ultimately about tolerance, it is about power. There has been a successful transference of power from the majority culture to the victim culture. The historic culture derived from the Bible and the Christian faith is seen as a threat to this power grab. This explains progressive rejection of those parts of the church which insist on upholding traditional Christian morality.
The progressive assault on the Bible and traditional Christianity is more than a rejection based upon epistemological grounds. Underneath it all is an emotional reaction to a morality which both threatens their cultural power and makes dominant progressives feel bad about themselves.