I am, believe it or not, an extremely tolerant person. I will argue my views most fiercely but will also stand vehemently in support of anybody whose beliefs are threatened.
I don’t care what colour, race, politics or religion a person has. I stand firmly against racism, prejudice, misogyny and elitism.
I believe in the strength of a polyglot, pluralistic society. I believe that a culture is enriched by diversity and weakened whenever it seeks to impose a single belief – either in a narrow political view or a theology. Cultures flourish when they are tolerant of many political, religious, spiritual, artistic, cultural and social views and structures.
I am extremely intolerant of intolerance.
That is why I find fascism and theocracies utterly abhorrent.
I have a global view. I believe in one people one planet and love to travel the world to appreciate the diversity of thought, culture, perspective and philosophy. I find that very broadening of the mind.
I am quite happy to share my community with people of different races, cultures, politics, views, colours, sexuality, religions and creeds. I will happily argue and rant at them. I find that stimulating. However, when any group attempts to make out that its nationality, religion, culture or creed is superior to any other then I take exception. If any religious group or political cult attempts to indoctrinate, groom or intimidate anybody, particularly children, then I shall fight it (non-violently) and oppose it forcefully. If a religion or social group is misogynistic, homophobic or racist I believe it should be countered most strongly.
I stand against nationalism, racism and theocracy.
So I stand for a person to hold their own views and values but not their right to impose that on others. I want religion and politics either out of education altogether (no flags, pledges, prayers etc) or presented in a reasoned way where all views are presented – including those of atheists like myself.
I would like to see all religious, nationalisatic and political views discussed rationally without prejudice.
I find flags, anthems, rituals, pledges, parades, uniforms, dress codes, prayers, dietary codes, holy books, political proclamations…………………. (and all the other paraphernalia used by politicians and religious leaders to instigate unity and create group culture) either interesting, amusing and fascinating or sinister, worrying and downright evil. It depends on the extent.
To Make America Great Again is a good example. It is an extreme nationalistic slogan that in reality is proclaiming a superiority of Americans over other cultures and that they deserve to be great and the rest of the world (the inferior nations) can go hang.
It does not take much to see how daft this is. America has no real culture. It is too new. What it has is artificially created out of the national story created by it’s show of flags, repeating of pledges of allegiance, its parades and demonstrations of military might. It has to do this because it’s people are all immigrants pulled in from all parts of the world and all cultures. It is seeking to unite them into a new people with this artificial unified culture that doesn’t exist. It has to do this because it has little history and unity to build on and its people are so culturally diverse as to require this great show of unity to cohere them together.
Americans are obviously not superior to the other people of the world. America is, more than any other country, made up of all of the people from these other cultures.
The only true Americans are the Native Americans and I doubt that a lot of them would subscribe to the culture, flag and attitude of the MAGA ethos. They still probably wish that the whole load of these immigrants would get back on their ships, disappear over the horizon and allow them to live by their own creed.
We buy into the stories we want to believe in.
So – the dilemma is how tolerant should one be?
It is a core value I hold dear but it has been sorely tested by the rise of extreme right-wing fascism, the post-truth rise of fake news and conspiracy and the horrendous intolerance of all religions – the Islamic terrorism and strict conservative theocracies, the racism and misogyny, the Hindu extremists, the hypocritcal American evangelists, the environmentally destructive Christians, the fanatics who run the Jewish, Hindu, Islamic and Christian religious schools to indoctrinate children.
Should I be tolerant of warmongers? Racists? Misogynists? Fanatics? Indoctrinators? Political extremists? Liars? Conspiracy theorists? Cheats? Fake news purveyors? Abusers? Exploiters? Polluters? Environmental vandals? Political corruption? Religion?
Do I simply have a scale of tolerance that is slightly more in one direction than another?
How does one select what is worthy of tolerance and what one should be intolerant of?