Thursday 24 August 2017

#229 To tolerate or not to tolerate?

In the conflict between the far right and its opposition, those turning a blind eye are attracting criticism. When politics is moderate, it's more acceptable to stay silent. When it becomes extreme, there's more pressure to have a voice. A role.

On 18 August, Arnie appeared in a video condemning the president for being too tolerant of the Nazi flags being marched through his country. That it falls on Arnie to say it, is a curious and all too real answer to the question of what happens when a country with a clunky constitution elects a far right candidate to be president.

In the UK and other parts of the world, a nazi flag carrier would be arrested before you could say Lebensraum but the Americans' freedom to fly dangerous symbols on a stick is protected by the First Amendment, which presumably reads something like this:

"We done gone made ourselves this right to put whatever god damn pictures on a stick that we want an' there's nuthin' you can do about it furk yieah."

Posts and memes similar to the Arnie video have been flying around with more general messages. That it's time to get intolerant on tolerance. This is a much more dangerous statement, if it's incorrectly interpreted. Could we elaborate on it?

It's less catchy but what if the posts read something like:

Tolerance is and always will be a virtue. Our ability to show mercy and understanding to those who wrong us is one of the greatest gifts with which humanity has been blessed. Therefore it is only with the greatest sincerity, that we should judge what cannot be tolerated. In the case that such a judgement needs to be made, intolerance may be determined necessary, if a threat cannot be comfortably sustained, avoided or diffused. 

I mean granted it's harder to fit on a meme but to be honest, I never really liked memes that much anyway.

As we strive to live as peacefully as possible, intolerance may well become a necessary weapon against the actions that threaten that peace. I like to think of it as a last resort. Not a default policy.


Fizzfan said...

Tolerance is a cross between acceptance and turning a blind eye. Not sure if that's how the Nazis got away with things in the first place?
No, some things should not be tolerated and I like your stick quote A LOT. Made me laugh.

Profound Familiarity said...

I think the Nazism's trick was that it seemed like a solution at first.

Fizzfan said...

Wonder how many peeps that we decided we didn't like would be left in the world if killing them was a deemed a solution?
Not sure I'd still be here:)

Profound Familiarity said...

Yeah. If I killed someone every time they let me down, I'd have to kill myself multiple times every day let alone anyone else.

Also, if you really don't like someone, murdering them is a terrible strategy. The best way to guarantee they suffer is just to let nature take its course. Slowly they'll become weaker, less attractive and more vulnerable, many people that they love will perish and then they'll most likely die alone in extreme fear and pain from cancer or heart disease.

Fizzfan said...

You're funny and I'm very impressed with your patience. You're right, murders way to humane.
In the case of my Father in law however, no matter how much we delight in his gradual decline, we still have to endure his aliveness.
His latest monologue on tripping over whilst leaving the loo was very very long.
No telepathy required to know what everyone else was thinking while he was rumbling on and on. As families go, it was quite a unifying experience.

Profound Familiarity said...

Old people do have a tendency to go on about things. Do you think we'll end up like that?

Fizzfan said...


Profound Familiarity said...

Ok, good.