Non-acceptance and intolerance

Time and again I find myself coming across people who think they’re making some grand point when they call me (or those who share my views) intolerant. It is utterly evident that these people have no working definition of “intolerance”. They are completely unable to make even the simplest of distinctions (which fits with why they tend to be conservative).

The most common instance of this has to do with same-sex marriage. It’s a definitional fact that those who oppose same-sex marriage are bigots. They deny that marriage is a right for all and base their conclusions on a lack of acceptance for homosexuality. This lack of acceptance, though wholly ignorant and pathetic, is legally and morally acceptable on some level because it does not infringe on the rights of others. However, the conclusions based on that lack of acceptance are morally reprehensible and (more relevantly to government) legally unsound. They are non-acceptance turned intolerance. And intolerance is the cornerstone of bigotry.

With that in mind, it should be obvious that those in favor of same-sex marriage are not intolerant, even if they think homosexuality is wrong. The time when it is appropriate to describe someone as intolerant is also the time when it is appropriate to use the word “bigot”, such as with anti-same-sex marriage people. They have infringed upon a person’s rights.

It can’t be helped that the word “bigot” is perfectly suited for the subject, but there seems to be some confusion with its use. The word itself does not equal intolerance. No one is infringing upon anyone’s rights or freedoms or liberties. No one is forcing Catholics (the bigoted driving force behind Maine’s recent bigotry) to accept anything. More over, no one is forcing anyone to do or believe anything whatsoever which infringes upon anything remotely important (i.e., rights, freedoms, liberties). Calling a bigot a bigot and not letting them get their bigoted way is not intolerance.

The confusion here is mind-boggling. It’s as if people have no ability to distinguish between intolerance and non-acceptance. What’s more, when non-acceptance shows up as a lack of respect, people further believe there is intolerance afoot. Puh-lease. If I say, for instance, that the belief that God created the Universe in the middle of the well-established civilization of the Sumerians is, in fact, a very stupid thing to think, I am not being intolerant. Where have I infringed upon anyone’s rights? Where have I stopped someone from having the freedom to hold such a stupid thought? The answer is that I have not done that. It’s simply that I, as well as most educated people, cannot give deference to such silly things. That’s a lack of acceptance, not intolerance.

Advertisements

7 Responses

  1. So you are tolerant because anyone who disagrees with you is a bigot. Got it.

  2. I run into that perception again and again when dealing with the lowly conservative mind. It’s especially perplexing considering how clear I have been on this issue again and again. Ignorantly and pathetically hating a group is not bigotry by itself. Just the same, intelligently and correctly disdaining a group (bigots) is not bigotry by itself. It takes a support of intolerance. If you can show where I have refused to tolerate another’s views, you might have a case.

  3. Well let’s test your ‘tolerance’.

    Can one one have the view that gay marriage is wrong without being a bigot?

  4. Yes, if that view does not manifest itself into intolerant action.

  5. Right, I think people who are Christian are idiots, but I don’t think they deserve less rights or can’t be Christian. So, yeah, I’m not terribly accepting, but I’m very tolerant because I put up with that bullshit every day. You aren’t tolerant if the only people you think deserve rights are the people with the same opinions, skin color, sexual orientation, sex, etc, of yourself.

    Maybe an example that’s easier not to attach flame war attitudes to is cigarette use. I personally don’t really approve of cigarette use, and I think less of people who smoke, so I’m not terribly accepting of the habit. But I also think that it’s their body, their life, their choice.

    I would say it’s something the pro-life movement doesn’t really get. Which is that your opinion about intensely personal, private matters shouldn’t dictate other people’s lives. People make this point all the time “Don’t approve of abortion, don’t have one” “Don’t approve of gay marriage, don’t get one”. There’s a South Park episode that I think addresses this pretty well.

    http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/104225/

  6. Editor edit: Notice how once Jack loses his “test” that he does not admit he is wrong. Instead he moves on to another response. He is a child.

    I would say it’s something the pro-life movement doesn’t really get. Which is that your opinion about intensely personal, private matters shouldn’t dictate other people’s lives. People make this point all the time “Don’t approve of abortion, don’t have one” “Don’t approve of gay marriage, don’t get one”. There’s a South Park episode that I think addresses this pretty well.

    I think the problem with this analysis when applied to abortion is that it completely ignores the fact that the reason people believe abortion is wrong is because they believe it is an act which kills a human being. Simply saying, ““Don’t approve of abortion, don’t have one” would be like someone saying in the Confederate South, “Don’t like slavery, don’t own one” – it completely misses the point that millions of people are enslaved, and that is wrong – just as it is wrong to eliminate millions of human beings, in utero.

  7. I’m just glad Ashley has science on her side.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: