Wednesday, November 20, 2013

You Don't Fight Intolerance With More Intolerance

In 1967, millions of American women of all races cheered when the queen of soul Aretha Franklin told the men of America what many female co-horts of her generation were looking for. The trait that Franklin and her outspoken feminists demanded from their boyfriends, husbands, fathers, uncles and all men in general was R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

While Ms.Franklin's song was designed to (and in fact did) inspire pride and confidence in many marginalized groups in America society at the time, today almost a half century later, another more radical, less inspirational, semi-Orwellian, hostile, dismissive movement has continued to plague our society. These are the people who have decided to engage in a "we do not like what you are saying, your politics and other positions, therefore we are going to do everything we can to prevent you from having a voice" policy. These people come from all walks of life and in various shapes and forms - tall, short, fat, thin, straight, gay, wealthy, poor, disabled, able bodied all races and ethnicities etc... Their goal is to denigrate, discredit, denounce and if possible, prohibit anything they find offensive or not to their satisfaction. There favorite word is I-N-T-O-L-E-R-A-N-C-E and it is their rallying cry.

One recent example of this sort of behavior took place recently at Brown University. Last month in mid October, Ray Kelly, New York City police commissioner was invited to speak at the ivy-league institution. Kelly is the creator of the city's (New York) controversial "stop and frisk" laws. A policy that many people of all races believe are racist due to their disproportionate targeting and profiling of young Black and Hispanic men. Mr., Kelly showed up and attempted to speak, but he was interrupted and faced such blatant acts of obstruction that he was unable to do so and the event was cancelled.

For the record, I want to make it clear that I, like many people, am troubled by such "stop and frisk" laws and oppose them on the grounds that they are indeed invasive, discriminatory, rob people of their civil liberties and are dehumanizing in general. That being said, I still believe that Kelly had every right to speak and present his argument without being verbally attacked and shouted down by intolerant dissenters who disagreed with his position. The fact is that the protestors who decided to censor Kelly demonstrated their intolerance as well. Their behavior was disgraceful.

There were many other positive approaches that these students could have taken that would have been far more effective in accomplishing their goals. The fact is that from a public relations standpoint, their strategy was a disaster. Such behavior made them look like a bunch of overgrown, unhinged, mentally unbalanced human beings with severe personality disorders. Moreover, to a degree, their actions possibly bolstered support for Kelly and his supporters. There was nothing gained by such a juvenile display of intolerance.



Stan B said...

There was a story in a book I read as a youth about the "Fall of the Federation," based in the mythical world of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek. The fracturing of the United Federation of Planets began with the rise of the "Tolerance" movement. It was the illogical political philosophy that said "We are tolerant of everyone. However, we will not tolerate worlds that do not embrace universal tolerance."

It is not logically or honestly possible to espouse tolerance for all but the intolerant. However, it is very popular today....

Anonymous said...

"These people come from all walks of life..."

I strongly disagree Jon. They (all) come from the Left. Whenever we see displays of zero tolerance for the thoughts and opinions of others, and whenever we see pure, vile hatred, it always comes from the Left, the very same people who (demand) unlimited tolerance from all.

Anonymous said...

"You Don't Fight Intolerance With More Intolerance..."

Yes, you do. The best way to get intolerant people to change is to treat them the very same way.

Anonymous said...

While I broadly agree with the tenor of the story I wonder,
is there no level of intolerance that we must be tolerant of?
For example, would you expect people to have sat and listened to Hitler deliver an address to Brown University in 1941?
Or Stalin. Or Pol Pot. Or any other vicious dictator?

Stan B said...

Anonymous 6:01PM - "Well, in all my years I ain't never heard, seen nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous it couldn't be talked about. Hell yeah! I'm for debating anything." - John Hopkins, 1776:The Musical

Whatever happened to the enlightened attitude of "I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it?"

It is only by allowing the "intolerant" to speak that we can expose and oppose their agendas.

Anonymous said...

The nodding heads of the media and about half the voting population have respectfully listened to Obama's viciously anti-American agenda for 5+ years. It took way too long, but at last by comparing the rhetoric to the reality at least some of these are waking up. Let anyone speak, but don't trust without verifying.

Luke Warm said...

"vicious dictator"

What do you have when you put mashed potatoes on your penis?

A Dictator. Get it?

Anonymous said...

Luke Warm's "jokes" are as tepid as his soubriquet.