The problem with “intolerance” is that it depends on who is doing the defining. Accepting one thing as “normal” entails the covert rejection of another as “abnormal”. Accepting one set of beliefs as “good” entails the covert rejection of another as “bad”. Doing so in reverse does not change the process, it only changes the target. There is no escape from this truth. We are all bigots on some level. All prejudiced. The only thing that changes is the person or beliefs that we target.
The great irony of Progressivism is they think there is an escape from such truths. That tolerance can exist without intolerance. That there is not always an equal and opposite reaction. That they are above these immutable laws of human nature. That they are not, in fact, hypocrites.
To that point, this post popped up in my news feed in the last few days, coming from some Facebook page appropriately called the Reprimand Project (appropriate, since they are Progressives “reprimanding” the rest of us … can’t make this stuff up folks). They, of course, don’t see the hypocrisy of their argument, or the problem of defining what is and is not “intolerant”. But this is pretty much par for the course now with Progressives. This past summer, at Northwestern University, we even saw a feminist professor charged with Title IX complaints from female students after publishing a piece criticizing the overregulation of campuses and their PC/outrage culture. As a Chicagoan myself, I found the story of the professor’s (Laura Kipnis) travails all too familiar.
Such Intolerant Tolerance is ubiquitous nowadays. With Tina Fey refusing to apologize for her show’s humor, declaring she is “opting out of the outrage culture”. Comedians like Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Maher are refusing to play college campuses.
Or perhaps we should reference the recent outrageously entitled demands of the Black Student Union at Oberlin. Cause, you know, black people should be given automatic tenure just cause they are black. And we need “black-only” safe spaces. In the old days, we used to call that racism …
Such politically correct chaos (as Milo so eloquently put it) is everywhere. And you can’t make sense of the senseless. Even to the point that Hollywood would have us believe that a 100-pound girl can overpower men in a battle of strength … or perhaps she was using the “force”, right? Yes I just referenced Star Wars in a conversation about political correctness. Cause boys and girls are exactly the same. It’s all a social construct. Biology be damned. And you are a bigot if you think otherwise.
But, of course, being intolerant of ideas and beliefs is not bigotry. Unless you are Muslim. Even though it’s the same thing. And why? Because it is the Progressives who are doing the defining.
Interestingly, such authoritarian approaches have always failed throughout history. Because hypocrisy always has a way of collapsing under its own weight …
A true classical liberal understands that there is no escape from human nature. That no amount of social re-engineering can erase the bigotry and prejudice that derives from the basic in-group/out-group preferences of any human being, built deep into our psychology by evolution itself. Rather, they understand that incentivizing individual behavior to align with the greater good of society is the only way. Shame and outrage are not the solution, but rather individualism in the pursuit of personal rewards. In other words, creating a society in which individual freedoms, beliefs, and ideas are completely liberated. Self-determination is held in the highest regard. Free markets. Free speech. Due Process. Free Press. And so forth.
In contrast, progressive shame and outrage are an attempt to force particular behaviors by limiting the freedom of individuals. Political correctness, if you will. It is the complete opposite of liberalism.
I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend, with my life if necessary, your right to say it.