A Short Piece on Tolerance
By: Vincent Principe
There’s a certain degree of self-righteousness that goes into putting words on a page for others to see. One has to first think their thoughts mean something on some sort of universal level and come up with some method to put those thoughts on a page. After that, there is the waiting, where the self-involvement seems to creep in. Which, for me, involves a quasi-crippling wave of anxiety over whether I can truly believe someone thinks I have something substantive to say that’s worth the discernment of others. For others, after reading over the four years at this university the type of articles that The Tower pumps out, I imagine the anxiety is over which way the world will reward them for their effort of simply writing something and being a feature in the paper, whether it be in the form of a ‘like’ or, if they’re truly lucky, a ‘share’ on a Facebook page. I am no authority on the matter though, for I’ve never done this before, and my humanity might give way to the same self involvement I hope to escape once this is published, so I will write simply what I know and as best as I can. As a result, hopefully I say something interesting and not make an ass out of myself as a result. (There’s that self-involvement creeping in already. Perhaps it’s inescapable).
Christ’s words: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34. I cannot seem to find a message of tolerance and respect there, but a consideration to be made about moral absolutes. Without making Catholicism the soul vehicle for my argument, let us mull over these words with some sort of universal approach. Additionally, what shall it mean for us to live in a world where everyone is tolerated and respected? Is more respect needed or is it expected?
This is a time where people are now rewarded for their tolerance as if it is some game that you can win. (Think some spin-off game show dubbed “WHO’S – MORE – TOLERANT?!” with Pat Sajak as the host). The line that we are walking on is becoming more and more blurred vis-à-vis social discourse. That is, if you aren’t as tolerant as me, then you must be a racist, bigoted, homophobe. But if you are as tolerant – or more so – then you are roped in with the far-left progressive movement and your hair has suddenly turned a rainbow-ish hue.
The only thing that cannot be tolerated now is intolerance. If we are to be truly tolerant and not contradict ourselves simultaneously, we need to also be tolerant to the voices we dislike. Feelings are replacing facts and facts are becoming weapons, and writing or speaking about a different worldview is in turn buying a one-way ticket to be targeted and accused of being some deprecatory adjective, regardless of what ‘side’ you fall on. This blurred line that one walks, it seems, could potentially lead to a severance of future discourse between those with different ideologies. In an attempt to fit in a quasi-brighter note, one must truly think critically before speaking and writing as a result of this line. Nevertheless, there is still a fear to confront when speaking earnestly — even after real, critical thinking has been done — in the public sphere: the fear of being labeled intolerant by the tolerant.
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A longer piece on tolerance from Venerable Fulton Sheen.