The wonderful people over at the Not-Right Buttock board are down on tolerance. See

This got me to thinking: I tend to approve wholeheartedly of tolerance, and like people who are tolerant of others. And I tend to make loud noises against intolerance. But why? What are my principles for feeling this way? And why do others? Proposed topic: Why be tolerant? What’s your justification for promoting tolerance?

If I am tolerant of others, they will be tolerant of me.

Fighting my own ignorance since 1957.

Polycarp said:

Hehe, I’ll take that one further and dub them “the Sinister Ass board”

Oh wait, this thread is about tolerance. Phooey.

Well, I’d have to agree with jab1 then. I have views that others probably don’t agree with, and I don’t want to be hated and oppressed because of them. So by the golden rule, or universal categorical imperative or whatever, I should show the same courtesy to others’ views that I would like for my own.

So I guess I’m just doing my part to reduce the total amount of hate in the world.

“Three plagues, three contagions, threaten the world.
The first is the plague of nationalism.
The second is the plague of racism.
The third is the plague of religious fundamentalism.
All three share one trait, a common denominator - an aggressive, all-powerful, total irrationality”
– Ryzard Kapuscinski, Imperium


I guess mine is too obvious (I am a libertarian, after all), but I believe that peaceful honest people should be free from the coercion of others, and therefore free to pursue their own happiness in their own way.

Those who do not merit tolerance are those who are violent or dishonest. Would you agree?

Have a look at and tell me whether you agree or disagree?

“It is lucky for rulers that men do not think.” — Adolf Hitler

How 'bout just 'cause it’s the right thing to do?


Libertarian, would you not tolerate those who lie?


Not if the purpose of the lie was to obfuscate a person’s will.

That would be fraud. I very much agree with David B on that issue, though he and I might come at it from different views. I believe that fraud is a form of coercion. It doesn’t have the bruising quality of a club or fist, but its purpose is the same.

“It is lucky for rulers that men do not think.” — Adolf Hitler

Fraud is most certainly NOT a form of coercion. You give it significance it does not have. Coercion is the act of compeling to do something by the use of power, intimidation, or threats. Fraud is simply intentional deception to cause a person to give up property or some lawful right.

It is a lesser, subtle evil.

Even the purpose is not even close to being the same. When I threaten someone physically, I force them to bow to my superior will and strength. I get perverse pleasure from this.

When I commit fraud on another (scam them out of money) I get personal gain and the knowledge that I have “pulled the wool over their eyes”. It is not as overt as intimidation - usually the victim never knows what hit them.

One can not legislate such subtleties.

Hell is Other People.

I think tolerance is one of those things where prudence and proportion are a very important part of whether or not it is a good thing. A person cannot, and should not contend with every matter to which he feels opposition. No one point of view or personal choice can be sufficient for every person. Certainly we have some considerable limits to what we can refuse to tolerate in public behavior.

My desire does not compel the world. It demonstrably does not enjoin the world in any legal sense. Civil association requires those broad ranges of behavior and custom, which must be tolerated by all. Freedom has little meaning in a social matrix so narrow that all things not required are forbidden. So, tolerance seems at some level to be a prerequisite of civilization.

At the other end of the scale, tolerance becomes complicity, in even the legal sense, and certainly in an ethical frame of reference. I might have little valid right to object to your private acts, when those acts are of no consequence to me, or any other person. That situation changes when your behavior begins to have consequences involving other people. This is especially so in the case where those people have little likelihood of successfully disassociating themselves from your behavior.

I cannot think of a simple statement of when tolerance changes from a respect for the right of difference among people, to a cavalier indifference for the rights of others, or even myself. At some level, I have to accept that my own assessment of whether your acts are right or wrong is insufficient. I certainly do not wish to have my every act reviewed, or impeded by every person who feels I am out of accord with his or her principals. Neither do I wish to see casual bigotry, cruelty and greed accepted without notice, out of a desire for tolerance.

The unlimited extension of the concept of tolerance invites savagery and the total dominance of the strong. That type of tolerance is no different than abject subjugation by tyranny. So, I reject the concept that I must tolerate anything from anyone, at the same time that I reject the opposing premise that I must be subject to the intolerance of every person, on every judgement of my being.

Prudence and proportion are required from each of us. That is, unfortunately rather optimistic. In our social agreements, therefore, we must give great care before we allow the extremes of either tolerance, or intolerance to be codified. Once a matter of law, those things become the limits of our freedom, and the boundaries of security.


He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.
–Thomas Paine

If one exhibits intolerance towards intolerance, is that person guilty of intolerance?

Sake Samurai wrote:

I understand what you mean, and those are acceptable definitions, but I simply was making an ethical observation, namely, "I believe that fraud is a form of coercion. I didn’t offer them as identities; I didn’t present them as synonyms; I wasn’t speaking to their definitions, but to their relationship.

In libertarian ethics, fraud is a form of coercion because, using your own definitions of the terms, what the person is being compelled to do (against his own will, obviously, else there is no compuslion) is exactly the same as when he is defrauded — it is, as you say, to give up property or some lawful right. Libertarianly speaking, he has the right to pursue his own happiness in his own way, a praxis which can be abridged externally by no means other than initiating force against his will, whether by coercion or fraud.

“It is lucky for rulers that men do not think.” — Adolf Hitler

John John wrote:

Why guilty? If a person wishes not to tolerate something in his own life, that is his own business. And if intolerance is the thing he won’t tolerate in his own life, what is he guilty of?

It is a bit like asking whether a person who is bigotted against bigots is guilty of bigotry.

“It is lucky for rulers that men do not think.” — Adolf Hitler

I have actually had that concern, because the one thing that does upset me is when a person stands in judgment over another’s actions or, even worse, who he/she is. So I am in fact bigoted towards bigots, and intolerant of the intolerant. Probably not the most moral behavior. However, I do have some historical justification for it: a rabbi for whom I have (literally) the utmost respect was fond of condemning, not the sinners of his day, but the self-righteous.

Lib, I was fooling. I liked your bigot rif.

If a person fools a foolish person, is that person foolhardy?

I read the link, and noticed some crazy things:

Their smooth words conformed to any circumstance with cool logic, honey tones and a smile on the lips. With a closing of the eyes and a nod of they head, they politely tried to put the chains Christ freed me from back on my wrists.

They spoke of laws not in the Bible, speaking of ‘logical inference’ and ‘symbolism’ and ‘possibility.’ They created illusions for themselves, picking and choosing scripture to fit the puzzle world of lies and inconsistency. Those who came against them found them mimicking the character of Christ, using the Bible as an unwieldy bludgeon. All of them, the same. The same.

Woe to them. Yes, woe to them. Their pitiful, tiny minds believe they hold the proper judgment. Their reality is based upon human wisdom, on emptiness and imagination. They recreate themselves and call it ‘Good.’ They deny the God of life and follow their own thinking, writing laws and spitting ‘fact.’

If I am interpreting his first posts correctly, it seeme this ^Pariah^ character has directly stated that logical independent thought (to the extent that it conflicts with the Bible) is evil. Apparently, we’re supposed to just believe what we’re told and keep our mouths shut.

These freaks are also vague about what things ought not be tolerated. Thinking independently? Being gay? Failing to accept Jesus as one’s savior?


Try posting anything to the contrary over there sometime…

I dare ya.

Yer pal,

The last thing I need is to give a bunch of religious loonies access to my e-mail address.

Good Lord! What have the people at that message board been smoking?!?

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Isn’t tolerance just something you learn at home from your parents? Don’t we treat others the way we have been treated? I can’t see how this would be an easy thing to pick up even at six years of age when children traditionally start school.

We are seeing some TV public service announcements in VA about tolerance and wonder if that will help.

What do you think it would take to instill tolerance?

Almost instant replay:

Isn’t tolerance just something you learn at home from your parents? Don’t we treat others the way we have been treated?

When we see intolerance we want to correct it, we know it is wrong because we weren’t treated that way.

Then it moves into the sphere of “Right” and “Wrong” and once you know it is wrong, you know you don’t have to be tolerant of wrong.

Now, I’m going to get my animal crackers and find my cocoa.