“Tolerance” or “Cowardice”?

“They learn to accept [both] gay rights in North America and stoning gays in Afghanistan.”

A Canadian hgh-school teacher wonders if being non-judgmental and “celebrating diversity” can go too far when he sees his students morally paralyzed by a act of sexual violence from another culture.

As a member of a religious minority, I am all for “tolerance.” But I am realistic enough to know that we tolerate what we do not like but cannot change.

I cannot get rid of all the mosquitoes in the world, so I tolerate being bitten, although I try to minimize mosquito bites.

So I figure that if I am to be tolerated  on one account, I need to make sure that I am contributing to society in other ways. Then people can say, “Well, he is one of those, but he’s OK.”

But back to the main topic, what are you required to tolerate? Where are the limits?

As Kevin Bearquiver, an official of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, said in a different context, ” “Tolerance is a European thing brought to the country. We never tolerated things. We turned our back on people.”

Yes, there are more nuanced forms of cultural relativism out there—ask any anthropologist. But most people’s moral development does not include cultural anthropology classes.

Via (indirectly) Brendan Myers.


2 thoughts on ““Tolerance” or “Cowardice”?

  1. Respect for other cultures must be mutual or else it is rendered worse than meaningless. There is no reason to be respectful of cultures that are themselves chauvinistic and triumphalist with respect to other cultures.

    And respect for other cultures must not trump other ethical considerations, such as respect for the dignity of individuals and the most basic human rights.

    I recently encountered the moronic allegation that the very idea of “freedom” is itself a modern western cultural construct that should not be “projected” onto other cultures. But this amounts to a justification for slavery and conquest, and it is little different from the justification usually given by slavers and conquerors themselves: that the people being enslaved and conquered do not know any better (that is, they are neither free nor having any concept of freedom) and therefore no real harm is done to them. In fact, those being enslaved and conquered undergo an improvement in their situation, since they are thereby being transfered, as it were, from a culture in which there is no understanding of or respect for human dignity, to one in which there is!

  2. Medeine Ragana

    I agree with Apuleius Platonicus. Simply be being human you have certain rights. No “god” (however you define that entity)can contradict those rights. They are INHERENT. When one gender in a culture dehumanizes and enslaves (and this is what it is) another gender that is morally wrong. No ifs, no ands, no buts. WRONG. Period. End of “conversation”.

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