I drafted this a week or so ago but didn't hit the publish button because I have a fear of making myself look stupid by talking about stuff I know nearly nothing about. I hope that doesn't happen.
I've just been reading another exquisitely written post1 over at scepticlawyer about World Youth Day 2008 and the Government's heavy handed, unnecessary and damaging anticipatory laws which, in my opinion, affect civil liberties severely and negatively. Wow, that's a lot of adjectives. I wanted to highlight what was labelled as an aside.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the width of liberal societies’ ‘range’ has constricted in recent times thanks to minority demands for acceptance rather than tolerance. The two words have very different meanings, yet proponents of the latter often confuse it with the former. Something of this difficulty may be gleaned from reading the Wikipedia entry on the term. It is possible to be homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, sexist or what-have-you (insert rotten attitude du jour here) while still maintaining tolerance. Intolerance comes about when people act on their prejudices.
Personally, I'm all for tolerance and acceptance, but in the fight for a better society maybe the emphasis should be placed on achieving higher levels of tolerance. I suspect tolerance might actually be a fairly useful stepping stone on the path to acceptance.
- I'm genuinely in awe of Helen's writing. It has convinced me I need to think more and learn more about developing and presenting coherent arguments to convey my thoughts and opinions. [↩]