It often seems as though the far right and the far left are essentially the same thing – whether it’s the form of government (totalitarian oligarchy) or ideas about tolerance. While the left likes to imagine that it is forward-thinking and enlightened, it usually holds onto old, tired ideas that have been tried and failed many times over throughout history. The word “progressive” that has been highjacked by the left, really represents no progress at all.
The most prominent feature of the left’s idea of tolerance is the misunderstanding of the definition. Tolerance is acceptance. It isn’t agreement. I do not have to believe you are doing the right thing in order to accept that you have the right to do it. I do not have to agree that your lifestyle choices are good, normal, or ordinary, in order to accept you as a person. I do not have to agree that you are making good decisions for yourself in order to accept that they are your decisions to make.
When libertarians support the legalization or decriminalization of drugs, sometimes the left (and many times even some libertarians themselves) don’t find it good enough to politically support the ideas. I am also, in their eyes, required to think the use of these substances is a good idea. It isn’t good enough to accept their use. I have to believe in it, or face backlash. If I support that government has no place in marriage, it isn’t good enough for the left. I have to also accept that gay marriage is a moral institution, or face being called a bigot and face degradation. It isn’t good enough to want to live and let live, but I must also celebrate the choices and lifestyles of others.
I find it ironic that people can protest against intolerance, while championing intolerance themselves. If you want to protest for acceptance of some people, but not consider acceptance of others, then how can that not be defined as intolerance? People will always have differing beliefs. Many of them are vehemently opposed to one another. Tolerance means that in order to get along in this world and prevent conflict and strife, we must learn to protect the right of people to form their own opinions, even when we find them distasteful. Saying a person is intolerant because they do not fully agree with you is intolerance in itself.
There’s also a confusion amongst the left that treating a group in a special way is embracing tolerance, when, in fact, it’s perpetuating intolerance. It’s highly racist to think that minorities can’t advance without white saviors. It’s highly intolerant to believe that the LGBTQ community can’t advance without straight saviors. Believing that a group of people is just too inferior to make gains against prejudice without the help of what a person believes is a more superior group of people, is just as insidious as, and really no different from, the intolerance seen from the far right.
As I have written in the past, the far left needs the far right, and vice versa. They are essentially one and the same, and they use one another to further their goals. Without the fair right, the far left’s ideals fall apart. At the same time, regular people get wrapped up and grouped into claims of intolerance just for holding differing beliefs. It’s intolerant to call people intolerant for their personal beliefs – when they support the right for you to hold your own.
There’s nothing wrong with, and it is necessary to, call out intolerance where it really exists. You can tell real intolerance when people want to eliminate and destroy the ideas of others. Real tolerance is allowing others to form their own opinions. It doesn’t mean you can’t believe their ideas are wrong or even that you can speak against them. It just means that you accept their right to have these beliefs.The left looks no different from the far right when they demand one group receive special treatment over another. They look no different when they shout people down of opposing beliefs, call them bigots for peacefully holding their own views, or demand that the world call their behavior or lifestyle normal if the world does not believe to be so. The left can be so blind to its own intolerance, and they become exactly what they oppose.
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