Sunday, November 16, 2008

We do not tolerate the intolerable

A few days ago I saw a story about a lawsuit at a nearby college (Depauw University) that had the quotation, "We cannot tolerate the intolerable." The thought struck me that what we tolerate is always limited, that everyone draws a line somewhere and will not tolerate things beyond that line. The interesting question is, "Where does one draw the line?"

The politically-correct folks like to think of themselves as tolerant and others as intolerant. That thought is an illusion that blinds them to their own intolerance. For many of them, any idea that can be labeled as racist, sexist, or homophobic becomes intolerable and no longer has to be taken seriously. Milton Friedman was one of the great intellectuals of the 20th century, but many on the left have decided they can ignore him because he once talked to Pinochet who they have decreed is intolerable, and hence Friedman is intolerable.

It is best to realize that we are all intolerant of some things. Often those who think they are the most tolerant are in fact the least tolerant.

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