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.

One thought on “Tolerance

  1. I keep wanting to apologize for the Donald, but that seems specious and silly. He is what he is. If people insist he is the next Messiah (a title I’m sure he wouldn’t object) then to them he will be. The trouble with Messiahs, however, is that they can do incredible damage before people realize that this particular emperor is stark naked under that invisible robe.

    I keep harking back to Hitler and his amazing following in the 40s. That too was born of propaganda and racism, and like the Donald he gave people permission to be intolerant of anyone that was not Aryan. Trump’s very blatancy is what does it. No one has dared to say a word about race for years, at least not that baldly, not a word about cubans or blacks or the spanish. Until now. And here is Trump, howling his racism and intolerance all over the place, and people are cheering him.

    He seems to be playing a game, feeding into what people want to hear, and then giving them just that. Sometimes there is a glint in his eye, and I wonder what he’s up to. Not long ago Stephen Colbert said, only half joking, “Im hoping that the day after he’s inaugurated he tells everyone he’s resigning…”

    We need places like the UK, which seem to be a bastion of reasoned and ordered thought. If this keeps up, there may be a migration BACK…

    Liked by 1 person

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