If you were to believe everything you read in the mainstream press, the greatest threat we face is from the intolerant.
But as with most things you read in the mainstream press, the opposite is in fact the case. We are most endangered, not by the intolerant, but by the tolerant.
We are not in danger of being overwhelmed by bigots who reject everything as much as we are in danger from open-minded fools who accept everything.
‘Bigot’ has come to mean anyone who can make up his mind in an organised fashion, while tolerant and open-minded are terms now typically associated with people who cannot seem to make up their mind about anything at all.
A bigot insists that marriage is between a man and a woman. The tolerant agree that marriage is whatever you want it to be.
And only a bigot insists that there are just two genders. The tolerant understand that there are dozens of genders. Or, if you prefer, there are no genders at all. Whatever. No judgement here.
On and on we could go. Our minds are so flattened by broadmindedness that they are in danger of losing all depth.
Like the foolish carpenter who discarded his ruler since its measurements seemed far too arbitrary, we have abandoned objective truth — with its ugly habit of excluding other options — and we are now busy constructing a rickety new world using the ideas of the moment as our only reference point.
Tellingly, we have not abandoned objective truth altogether.
If I use a $50 note to pay the LGBTIQA+ activist for a $100 item, they will not accept my explanation that the $50 note has recently started identifying as $100.
Yet other fixed points such as right and wrong, good and bad, normal and abnormal have all but disappeared. Anyone who appeals to them is said to be a bigot.
In the face of this maddening broadmindedness, what the world needs most right now is intolerance.
Some people will be immediately triggered by this suggestion because our culture has led them to believe that intolerance is always wrong. These same simple minds believe that tolerance is always right.
But a moment’s thought show’s that tolerance is not always good and intolerance is not always bad.
Tolerance is an attitude of reasoned patience toward that which we do not like. Tolerance restrains us from showing anger or inflicting punishment when we don’t agree.
But more important than its definition is its area of application. Tolerance applies only to people, never to bad ideas. Intolerance applies only to bad ideas, never to people.
Digest this and you will immediately see that our problem in the West is not so much intolerance, which is bigotry, as our problem is tolerance which is indifference to truth and error and a philosophical casualness that is applauded as enlightened and broadminded.
I’m not saying we don’t need more tolerance. What is Jesus’ command to “love your enemies” but a call for greater tolerance?
But tolerance must only go so far, and no further. Jesus commanded us “love your enemies” not “love your enemy’s ideas”.
We must be gentle with the erring but violent with the error.
Sadly, we have muddled the two. We are more likely to love ideas we should hate and to hate people we should love, all in the name of broadmindedness.
Charity is for people, never for bad ideas.
Concerning wrong ideas we must be intolerant. And it is in this area that we must snap out of our penchant for sentimental gushing that currently welcomes every crazy idea because, well, “who are we to judge?”. And we must stop destroying every person with whom we disagree because, well, “bigot!”.
An engineer must be intolerant of bad maths or the bridge he builds risks collapse. The police officer must be intolerant of drivers running red lights or people will die. The doctor must be intolerant of bad hygiene or patients become even sicker. And all of us must be intolerant of the broadminded and good-natured tax man who adds seven and three and tells us we owe fifteen.
Our culture is like the mathematician who, afraid of being called a bigot but very concerned with being seen to be progressive, encourages squares to discard even one of their sides and so only too late discovers he has lost all his squares.
Right is right even if nobody is right. And wrong is wrong even if the whole world is wrong.
We don’t need people to be right when everyone is right. But we desperately need more people who are brave enough to be right when the whole world is wrong, or we will discover only too late that we are standing with feet firmly planted in mid-air.
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