The Faux Virtue of Tolerance

CoexistThumbby Glenn Fairman  10/31/13
Our age’s faux virtue is tolerance: but it is a tolerance that has degenerated from its original application relating to religious matters of conscience and morality. Such tolerance, driven by the influence of The Gospel, the Enlightenment and the Reformation, rightly decided in Christendom and the West that religious choices were to be condoned, and that one would not forfeit his liberties, or his head, for matters of conscience or belief.

Compare this with the undifferentiated tolerance of the Post-Modern West, which obscures the yardstick of nature and excellence, clouds the frontier between vice and virtue, and holds moral judgments as categorically suspect. Such a debased understanding reduces tolerance to the proposition that all “life styles” are equally valid–all behavior is essentially commensurate–the social panorama of human conduct is fundamentally natural and morally neutral.

In order to arrive at this capricious state, the very proposition of objective truth had to be annihilated and revelatory articles of faith discredited. Moreover, theological hallmarks such as biblical inerrancy, the transcendent law of the Decalogue, and the undisputed knowledge relating to human ends had to be called into doubt and deconstructed under the aegis that words, ideation, and concepts are time and culture bound. This meant that what spoke to and animated one generation of people could not do so to another.

Effectually, this is Historicism: the epistemological isolation of men. No longer can the Ancients speak intelligently and credibly to the Moderns; and as a result, Modernity has brokered its own stunning collapse by alienating its civilization’s precious linkage with trans-cultural and trans-historical wisdom and truth. Within the reductive influence of the multi-culturalist worldview, in the spirit of an unmoored and emaciated tolerance, the West has voluntarily enfeebled its God given powers of discriminatory right reason: the emanating shadow of the divine logos.

Subsequently, we now have intellectuals and philosophers who hold that the life of virtue is subjective and not empirically preferable to the life devoted to pleasure; or Christian clergy who cannot say with determined certainty, informed by faith, that Jesus is the sole path to the Father. And perhaps more fully, wayward minds who can no longer agree that the teachings of the Nazarene are anymore superior to the agitated ramblings of a murderous, mendacious, pedophile lunatic.
Glenn Fairman writes from Highland, Ca. He can be reached at • (1918 views)

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5 Responses to The Faux Virtue of Tolerance

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Perhaps this is neither here nor there. But just a moment ago a person with a “Coexist” bumper sticker on their car cut in front of me. I thought that was funny…and typical.

    Christianity has the paradigm of sinners/Redemption. The Left (“Progressives”) have the paradigm of oppressor/victims. A Christian is (or should be) self-aware enough to understand that they’re not perfect and they have some work to do, and that most of this has to do with them, not others. Such people consider their duty or orientation to be to make their way toward God knowing that they can’t be perfect but still trying to connect as one of the roots or branches. Implicit in this arrangement is the need for the believer to shore up his moral character. He or she is reaching for something higher than the animal.

    On the other hand, those on the Left are all “victims.” It’s not that they made bad choices, have bad habits that need mending, or are inherently flawed in some way (aka “sinners”). Instead, they are inherent blame-shifters. There is no Redemptive aspect other than putting on some stupid “Coexist” bumper sticker on your car to announce to the world one’s supposed superior bumper sticker ethics. But other than mouthing slogans, there is little or no desire to rise above the animal. Actually, the Left tends to celebrate the animal and castigate as foolish anyone who does have higher ambitions.

    But as for the need to shore up one’s moral character, “victims” need do no such thing. All they need do is point fingers at the various constructed hobgoblins which vents all responsibility from themselves. This is why a better world never, ever can come from the “secular” Left. They don’t acknowledge the things that are their own fault. And this outward-blaming vector is completely consistent with narcissism and probably has a lot to do with instilling it in the first place.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    When liberals talk about tolerance, the last thing they include is tolerance of anyone openly disagreeing with them. Hence my observation, years ago, that a liberal is someone with a “Hate is not a family value” bumper sticker who goes to the store to buy Sweet Jesus, I Hate Bill O’Reilly (an actual book, written by a pair of Wisconsin professors named Amann and Breuer, which came out in 2006), and doesn’t see any contradiction. They don’t REALLY mean that they consider clitoridectomy perfectly acceptable behavior — but their argument leads to that conclusion among people who think that liberals mean what they say and take them seriously.

  3. The irony of the situation is stupefying — the “open-minded” liberal has cut himself off from all history, disdaining as he does “all those dead white men;” he has cut himself off from all current thought that rubs him the wrong way; then he calls the rest of us “provincial.” The Coexist bumper stickers merely display a woeful lack of knowledge about the world’s religions.

  4. Terri King says:

    I had a huge flash memory of a real interview I saw on the news one morning where a fellow actually said….Those of us who believe in tolerance can no longer tolerate this type of intolerance.


    • Timothy Lane says:

      This sort of Orwellian phrasing is very liberal. Clearly, he defines “tolerance” as approval for libertinism (and “intolerance” as disapproval of it). But like most such people, he can only tolerate amorality, not dissent.

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