When during last century we as a culture were so foolish as to replace ‘virtues’ with ‘values’ we took a significant step on the road to progressive domination and civilisational irrelevance. It is easy to see why we took this destructive step, virtues are onerous and challenging demanding effort; values are amorphous and transient conveying worth without demanding definition. Virtues are bedrock standards of behaviour largely derived from the Bible; values are transient attitudes, socially determined and largely derived from our emotions.
One of the progressive values we have enshrined today is ‘tolerance.’ As a defining value of a society this is, of course, a dangerous nonsense, or to quote Jeremy Bentham when speaking of natural rights, it is “nonsense on stilts.”
All rational people, which leaves out progressives, value and practice intolerance. Intolerance is one of the marks of a humane society. It is when we fail to be intolerant that our society crumbles.
We are, or should be, intolerant of lawbreakers whether they are muggers on street corners or MPs who practice fraud through false expenses. We should be intolerant of politicians who deceive us. We should be intolerant of those who sexually molest children and other vulnerable groups. We should be intolerant of the evil practice of slavery. There is a whole panoply of people, actions and attitudes of which we should be intolerant if we wish to retain the right to call ourselves civilised. Intolerance is healthy.
The dangers of blanket tolerance as a societal value is perhaps most graphically seen in churches. When a denomination is tolerant of heresy and unbiblical teaching it rapidly stops being a church and is degraded to the status of a mere religious institution.
The problem with ‘tolerance’ as used by progressives is they misunderstand what tolerance means. Tolerance does not mean that we do not make judgements. Tolerance implies the abiding of a perceived negative. However, to perceive a negative we must first make a judgement and making judgements of any kind is supposedly anathema to the post-modern progressive.
We don’t tolerate something positive such as good company and a delicious meal. We don’t tolerate a beautiful view or a fine painting. We don’t tolerate a last minute winning goal by our favourite team. These are things which we appreciate and relish. We have to tolerate things rational people don’t appreciate or relish like the common cold, our car failing to start on a winter’s morning, and Nick Clegg.
Progressives don’t get the distinction between toleration and appreciation, they only ‘tolerate’ the things of which they approve. Homosexual behaviour, unfettered immigration, esteeming any culture other than Western Christian based culture; these are things which progressives say mark them out as tolerant people. It doesn’t, because these are all things of which progressives by and large approve. As they approve or are not opposed to these things they cannot, by definition, be tolerant of them.
Their actual tolerance could only be gauged when we consider their attitudes towards those people and things which they dislike. Just how tolerant are progressives of politically incorrect positions such as support for Israel, of those who hold that some cultures are to be preferred over others, of the teachings of orthodox Christianity?
It is quite easy to find issues which will set off ‘tolerance’ valuing progressives like Muslims glimpsing a cartoon. Criticising Muslim intolerance is an action of which they are intolerant. Suggesting that not all the poor are deserving will elicit screams of outrage. The suggestion that certain ‘cultural practices’ amongst immigrant communities are reprehensible will immediately bring forth cries of ‘bigot.’ To reject any aspect of the progressive agenda is in their eyes to be intolerant, and progressives will tolerate anything but intolerance.
Progressives are selective in their ‘tolerance.’ They will rightly throw up their hands in horror at the Inquisition and condemn it as bloodthirsty religious intolerance, and then find excuses for Islamic terrorism which in one year murders more people than died in 150 years of the Inquisition.
Despite all their talk of tolerance as a value which should be appreciated and practiced throughout society progressives themselves are not tolerant. To label your opponents as intolerant or bigots while at the same time denying their right to hold beliefs contrary to your own is not tolerant.
For progressives toleration is not even a value, it is merely a tool. In the hands of progressives the concept of toleration is removed from any ethical mooring and becomes a fine sounding cloak for the re-engineering of society.