Tolerance is one of the greatest of virtues. For most of my lifetime since WW2, the UK has largely been a tolerant society, which is I believe one of the reasons so many people like to live here. We have looked askance at racial and political intolerance in the US, at intolerance of immigrants in France, and so on.
But recently things seem to have changed, along with the rise of first UKIP and then the divisive Brexit referendum, with thinly disguised acceptance of intolerant attitudes to immigrants. The tabloid media and even the Telegraph appear to be encouraging these sort of attitudes, particularly related to Brexit, notably with the recent disgraceful headlines attacking judges for doing their job, and even casting aspersions at their sexuality – and some politicians appear to condone this.
The example shown by the popularity of Donald Trump, almost intolerance personified, in the US, is not encouraging. Also, the Internet and social media appear to have provided an environment where normal social sanctions on intolerant behaviour are not easily applied.
Tolerance encourages tolerance and the highest part of ourselves; it provides the ground for communication with the other. Intolerance breeds intolerance and pulls us into the swamp of the lower part of ourselves; it closes us off from the other.
Society condones intolerance at its peril.