No tolerance for intolerance

Prompted by “Sweet Jesus, Will the NYT’s Conservatives Ever Write About Anything but the “Intolerant Left” Ever Again?” There are links in that article to several articles covering basically the same topic, the idea that lefties are somehow shutting down free speech or otherwise exhibiting signs of what is broadly termed “intolerance.” So…I have thoughts.

First, this notion of a broadly “intolerant” left is bullshit, especially on college campuses. If anything, liberal colleges are tolerant to a fault. You may find heated arguments and vehement disagreement, but that’s a far cry from “intolerance.” In fact, I would argue that what we’re seeing now are the limits of tolerance. When you have a Republican president literally declaring that white supremacists and Nazis are “fine people,” you’re going to get some pushback. When that racism appears to be the animating principle behind conservatism, that pushback is going to be broad.

An aside— it’s worth checking out the Wikipedia article on “Paradox of tolerance.” The ideas there are highly relevant to this.

I’m willing to give a pass on the quantity of these articles, though. Editorial writers are paid to crank out words, and they write about what concerns or affects them. The sudden vehemence that Things Are Not Right and Conservatives Are Bad has to be a shock to the system, so I’m not surprised they’re spending ink on it. I’m sure there are similar articles ad nauseam about Trump’s incompetence, sexism, corruption, authoritarianism *deep breath*, nepotism, bigotry, and lies— don’t forget the lies as well. 

Let me make this a little more personal. Since Trump became president, I have been much more aggressive in sharing articles with family members that I have ever been before. That’s a testament to the moment we’re in, where the Republican Party has gone seriously off the rails, and along with Trump appear to be willing to take the rest of the country off a cliff. Now, of the people I typically share things with, 40% are Republican voters. They watch Fox News and consume conservative media, I suspect almost exclusively. It didn’t take them long to ask me to leave them off the discussion, and I’m sure if they were to read any of the articles linked above, they would peg me as one of the “intolerant left”, for having the temerity to suggest that the candidates they support might be bigots. Granted, the implicit question about whether they are also bigots isn’t far away, but that’s been left unstated so far. Anyway, I have not respected their request. As a result, I’m pretty sure they’re blocking any emails from me, and I was explicitly told to no longer send Christmas or birthday gifts. So, who’s the intolerant one again?