Synchronizing tolerance and intolerance

Holding together two opposite thoughts and feelings is a challenge these days.

I’m trying to synchronize very different things I “know” to be true.

So far, I’m failing –one is almost always taller and stronger than the other.

Or maybe being out of sync isn’t a failure. Perhaps insisting on synchronicity is childish. Maybe being all grown up and stuff means being able to listen to Beethoven while watching a baseball game. Some things you don’t have to synchronize. Some contrasts don’t have to be resolved. Some opposites are worth maintaining for one’s mental health.

Take, for instance, tolerance and intolerance. Is it possible, or morally permissible, to be tolerant or intolerant, or do we have to synchronize them, and, if we do, what would that look like? You can’t be tolerant and intolerant of everything! Some decisions must be made. But maybe you still can synchronize them according some deeper sense of self and world — like the search for beauty, truth, and goodness.

Intolerant people whip up my intolerance for intolerance.

It’s very hard to synchronize when you feel like your country is drowning!

Gordon C. Stewart, May 24, 2019, “drowning in Chaska” MN.

10 thoughts on “Synchronizing tolerance and intolerance

  1. There really ARE a lot of very liberal southerners. Some of my favorite authors (John Grisham, James Lee Burke, for two) are among the most liberal writers I can think of … and they are not alone. What they aren’t is the majority of voters, or at least registered voters. This thing we are going through is NOT a north-south issue. As many of the haters are from the north — Michigan, Ohio, Kansas, Iowa — as from the south. This isn’t the civil war reprised. It’s something else. Something ugly and new for this country.

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    • Oh how we long to knew what it is. There is no remedy without a diagnosis and there are no physicians for whatever it is that ails us. I’ve gone back to Willem Zuurdeeg’s analytical philosophy and Neitzsche’s parable of the town crier who announces the death of god to ears not ready to hear the terrifying message of our responsibility for ourselves. Something dp within us and among us has slowly died. At very least, we are witnessing the loss of bedrock virtues of character and social transaction on which a civil society is built and sustained. Without recognizing it, the town square has been replaced by an entertainment, what-can-you-do-for-me-now, gaming culture without roots.

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  2. I’ve given up on m own internal version of political correctness. There are things I loathe and things I love and although I don’t generally hate anything, right now there are an awful lot of things to hate and I can’t NOT hate them. Some of the things going on are almost a compendium of al the things we’ve always found profoundly evil — kind of hard NOT to hate them.

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    • Hi, Mona. It seems to me there is a time for tolerance and a time for intolerance. The teachings of Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount educate us to see the log in our own eye before reaching for the log in someone else’s (a warning against self-righteousness (and intolerance), but he was also intolerant of the money-changers and the the intolerant who criticized him for hanging around publicans and sinners.

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  3. Being in New Orleans last week we drove through Lee Circle. General Lee’s presence on the 30′ pedestal was missing. Is this the South’s attempt to synchronize itself with the North or is this just a symbolic attempt by some Southern progressives to counter the actual “Southernization” of all of the U.S.? I tend to think the latter is the synchronization we are witnessing.

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    • Hi, Gary. Good question! Maybe some of both, depending on the person or group? I wrote this piece in part as a tongue-in-cheek commentary while also being serious about the appropriate places of tolerance and intolerance in a person’s or society’s life. This morning’s post suggests that this is a time for intolerance, a time to say “Enough!!!” to corruption and to violations of the U.S. Constitution’s oath of office taken by every Senator and Representative. As I mentioned in my reply to Mona moments ago, “there is a time for tolerance and a time for intolerance. The teachings of Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount educate us to see the log in our own eye before reaching for the log in someone else’s (a warning against self-righteousness (and intolerance), but he was also intolerant of the money-changers and the the intolerant who criticized him for hanging around publicans and sinners.” Context and principle are sometimes in tension. Sometimes there is no conflict.

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