In Part 1 I established what “tolerance” seems to have become, which is the expectation that we should wholesalely agree with one another. In part 2 I decided “tolerance” is worthless. We can’t name call or legislate our way to agreement. The idea of intolerance, that I am a bigot because I don’t agree with a particular idea, is ridiculous. By calling me intolerant, you yourself are being intolerant. It’s self-defeating nonsense. What then should we really expect of each other?
In the beginning I said my daughter was given a tolerance award. Based on what I think this is supposed to mean in the politically correct public school system, I don’t think I even want her to have a “tolerance” award. She has my permission to be intolerant, and to reject the label outright if anybody ever tries to apply it to her using their own circular logic. What kind of award should she get then? I think it is a “lovingly put up with” award. She puts up with behavior she disagrees with, while also remaining kind, because although she knows the action is bad, its ultimate source, the person, is to be loved.
You see, the flawed idea of tolerance needs to be replaced. Rather than suggesting that I must agree with ideas and behaviors that I disagree with, and go so far as to encourage them, what I am willing to do, and teach my children to do, is to love people regardless of the way they perceive the world. Personhood can be respected without accepting the worldview of the person. We should exchange ideas, all the while remembering that people are broken. Nobody is right, or wrong, 100% of the time. We’re all right at times, and we’re all wrong at times. Knowing that we’re wrong sometimes (more often than we’ll likely admit), we should take care to hear people’s ideas out with the same loving respect that we’d hope to get for ourselves. We can disagree respectfully.
As long as you hear me out, I’ll hear you out. Further, as long as you don’t try to force me (or my kids) to believe your ideas or be subject to your disagreeable behavior, then I’ll try to love you as a person, and “put up with” your differing opinions. Real tolerance is respecting personhood. We can thoughtfully attack ideas without attacking people. People won’t always agree. It’s a fact of life. The key to civility isn’t to get everybody to agree, it’s to dispense with the name calling and get people to respectfully agree to disagree.
That being said, I’ve recently developed very strong feelings about the potential danger of avocados 🙂