The Intolerence of Tolerance | Teen Ink

The Intolerence of Tolerance

March 23, 2009
By theoobleck GOLD, Auburndale, Florida
theoobleck GOLD, Auburndale, Florida
11 articles 48 photos 45 comments

Tolerance; 'A fair attitude towards another's views', 'interest in and concern for ideas foreign to one's own' and 'the capacity to endure hardship or pain'. Intolerance; 'Refusal to respect contrary beliefs', 'abnormal sensitivity' and 'impatience with annoyances'. Therefore, by definition to be tolerant of someone you must determine that they are wrong but by doing so you are being intolerant. Is it possible in today's society of constant contradictions to be tolerant of another person's views?
One way today being tolerant is actually being intolerant is in politics. If there was a leader in a country who was obviously going to destroy the society but introduce new world views that would eventually be helpful should we tolerate the leader? Clearly this leader would be an exception and should not be tolerated but as a citizens duty to be intolerant and point out flaws in society we must keep the government from becoming unjust to the opinions and beliefs of others for example, the suppression of Nazism in Germany, in many other countries it is considered to be intolerant where as in Germany it is seen as completely tolerant. Steven Colbert once said "Here's the problem, you can be as tolerant as you want, but as long as there is one intolerant person left who won't tolerate your tolerance, you lose". However one way the intolerance of tolerance is used differently is how the ACLU protects the rights of the intolerant by protecting free speech of all including organizations that state unpopular opinions.
Another modern example of how tolerance and be seen as being intolerant is in religion. Although I do not agree with this point of view many atheists feel that they are expected to tolerate religious beliefs whereas the religious members aren't expected to tolerate what they believe. Arguably, an atheist doesn't believe in anything so there isn't anything to be tolerable or respectful towards. Also religions are attacked more often and to a higher degree than attacks upon atheists because technically being intolerant towards an atheist would be unchristian or whichever religion you follow.
Recently with the Presidential elections approaching intolerance has been taken to an all new level. A commercial containing a personal attack by a presidential candidate is most likely to be what is on your screen when you turn your television on today, things that do not necessarily have anything to do with the candidate's potential as the next President of the United States. Many of these attacks by both sides anger many because they are not true. If we were to be tolerable of these actions we would be accepting statements that we know are lies or that very possibly could be lies.

All in all in the modern day being tolerant seems to be impossible. No matter which action you take there will be someone out there who sees your action as intolerable. Leaders, organizations, the faithful, everyone you meet will have an opinion that will differ from your own; you can accept it, learn as much as you can about their opinion or you can remain na've and stubbornly reject any opposition.

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