|Intolerance is a virtue|
Photo by Dreams&Stuffs via Flickr
I'm about to lay some intellect on you. I'm giving you a heads up here: if it's too much for you, just skim it and I'll sum up briefly after the quote. Here goes:
“The so-called paradox of freedom is the argument that freedom in the sense of absence of any constraining control must lead to very great restraint, since it makes the bully free to enslave the meek. The idea is, in a slightly different form, and with very different tendency, clearly expressed in Plato.
"Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.”
Okay, so for the tl;dr crowd, Popper was saying this: you can't be tolerant of bigotry and hate without tolerance losing and intolerance winning. You can't truly be "tolerant." It's a paradox.
But it's really very simple when you think about it. You can't tolerate everything. The very idea is ridiculous. The key is to tolerate what ought to be tolerated in a free and just society and shun everything that seeks to undermine the ideals of freedom and justice.
So, in a free and just society, you have to tolerate women having abortions*, college students protesting things you find silly, or the winner not always winning because the system is whacked**. And, in a free and just society, you should not tolerate Nazis roaming the streets, carrying torches and swastikas, chanting derogatory things about Jews. And you should not tolerate police officers killing innocent people and getting away with it. If all of this is not clear to you, what's wrong with you?
I am a very intolerant person.
I will not tolerate (among other things):
hate for those who are different
Donald Trump supporters
Donald Trump apologists
and, I'm sorry to say, stupidity
I'm sorry about the stupidity part, because I realize stupid people can't help it. Nonetheless, I can't tolerate it.
So, there you have it. I've embraced intolerance. And it feels good.
*This is a civil rights, personal autonomy, and privacy issue. Get over it.
**Until you change the whacked system, of course.