Posts Tagged ‘Logic’

As promised, I’m posting all my logic puzzles over at logiduction.wordpress.com, my new blog. I will also periodically report my personal tidings, particularly my reading, over at Ex-Tangent.

Thank you all for reading this blog, and I will be forced to direct your attention over there.

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Think for a second, a minute, or more, on what your reaction would be if someone, be it a total stranger or a close friend, walked up to you, and called you intolerant. Nothing less, nothing more; merely intolerant.

Would you be offended?

I’m not so sure I would be. Yet, wearing the tag of being an intolerant human being is tantamount to having the words “sex offender” stamped on the back of your t-shirt everywhere you go (hyperbole, but close enough). How did the word “intolerance” and its derivatives gain such a powerful meaning and such a capacity to offend?

I understand that people, in this age of political correctness, are afraid of being labeled “closed-minded” and not open to outside opinions, declaring them wrong without giving them a hearing. Perhaps it derives from a fear of narcissism or even individualism, where, again, the individual tends to shut out other opinions and declare his to be right (after all, what is an opinion if you yourself can’t defend it?). The main thing that the word “intolerance” brings up, in my opinion, is racism. To be racist is to be intolerant of those of a certain skin color for no justifiably rational reason, and that’s where I think the word “intolerant” received such a powerfully and decisively evil connotation.

But, for all the politically correct folks who preach total and utter tolerance of all views, I ask this simple question: isn’t what you’re telling everyone to do simply intolerant of intolerance, and, thus, hypocritical?

Who is going to pretend that they are simply tolerant of anything — because, if they have, they have truly achieved nirvana. We are all intolerant of some things just like we have inadequacies; the chief difference being that, sometimes, our intolerance can be a very good thing. This is a very fine line to walk, because that sounds like I’m advocating racism and bigotry of the highest order — but the operative word there is sometimes.

Want to figure out what you’re intolerant to? It’s easy: just take your core, fundamental beliefs, and say the opposite of that belief. Example: I’m pretty damn close to being a rationalist, so I’m simply intolerant of those who take things that cannot be proved as the truth, hence my atheism (and before anyone says you can’t disprove that God X isn’t real, it’s a logical fallacy). I’m intolerant of those who are willing to take away my freedom to speak and act, unless I have threatened their rights as well: that is called justice. Those are just two examples; there are many more, I’m sure.

The final point is: intolerance isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, an intolerance of injustice, equality, authoritarianism and religious persecution is what this country is founded on. And I’m thankful for it.

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