the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.
“the tolerance of corruption”
These days tolerance is just another name for wimpishness. We are all expected in these enlightened times to sing cumbaya and put up with crap because it is intolerant to make a judgment. “Who are you to judge?”, we are constantly scolded. They don’t want to hear the answer in my head: “I am somebody who as raised to know what’s right.” They quickly retort, “Who are you to say what is right. You were brainwashed. You should be more tolerant.”
The fact is tolerance is just plain lazy. It is having standards that is hard. My mother was intolerant with a passion. She didn’t tolerate a messy room, homework not done or chores ignored. She didn’t tolerate dirty clothes, bad language or disrespect. It’s a good thing she’s dead because today she’d be called a Nazi and all in the name of tolerance.
It’s an amazing turn of reality when having an opinion and standards is makes you a bad guy. When you have standards or try to hold yourself up to good role models, people go at you another way. “You think you’re better than me.” they tell you and when you tell them. “You’re damn right.” they smile and stop because they have won the argument. These days nobody is better than anyone else and only a fool or a fascist pig claims it. Ironically they never notice that my putting you down they claimed superiority.
Just because you hold yourself to higher standards doesn’t give you the right to force those standards on others because that would be bullying. My mother wouldn’t tolerate bullying either. It wasn’t right to make fun of people’s weaknesses and interfere with other people’s lives- no matter what kind of mess they were making. Maybe Mrs. Jones down the street was a lousy housekeeper and her children wore dirty clothes. That was her business. It just wasn’t going to affect my mother’s management of her household or change her standards. She would never stoop to criticizing Mrs. Jones or telling her what she should do. That was small-minded and mean. It didn’t help Mrs. Jones to be ridiculed and it didn’t help my mother to appear self-righteous. These days the tolerance police aren’t burdened with those standards.
The glorification of tolerance has turned the world upside down. There are no standards. The right thing is always relative, never absolute. Don’t judge they tell you. Who do you think you are to tell me what to do?
If you hold yourself to higher standards than your neighbor, you should be ashamed of yourself for being an elitist. Tolerance says you ought to be ashamed of having higher standards and accept that being a slob is as much as anyone should expect. That’s the problem with tolerance. Tolerance means reducing your standards, accepting anything and not embarrassment anyone. Tolerance is a policy that can only be accepted by wusses. Tolerance is un-American.
The American tradition has been openness, not tolerance. American has been open to ideas, cultures, religions. We have taken in people from all over the world and have welcomed the best ideas and traditions they bring with them. We have embraced yoga, sushi, pizza, incorporating them into the American lifestyle and traditions. We welcome new religions and insist on their freedom to compete in the American culture. What we never did until the age of tolerance was reduce our insistence on standards, principle and individual freedom. What set American apart from the rest of the world has been our standards and insistence on the freedom of the individual to peruse what is best for him. Americans didn’t put up with crap. They were willing to let crap exist because in the market place of ideas, crap never wins and the contrast between lives driven by principle and lives driven by crap thinking proves the point.
So I say down with tolerance and up with principles to live by. People have the right to live without principles. People are free to choose. It’s the American way. I can accept that choice. I can applaud their right to make poor decisions. Just don’t expect me to tolerate it.