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Tolerance is a counterfeit virtue


"I have a good idea, for if you meet some person from a different religion and he wants to make  an argument about God. My idea is, you listen to everything this man says about God. Never argue about God with him. Best thing to say is, 'I agree with you.' Then you go home, pray what you want. This is my idea for people to have peace about religion." - Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

"Religion is like a pair of shoes. . . Find one that fits for you, but don’t make me wear your shoes."  - George Carlin, comedian

"The liberal idea of tolerance is more and more a kind of intolerance. What it means is 'Leave me alone; don't harass me; I'm intolerant towards your over-proximity."  - Slavoj Zizek, Slovene philosopher

Gilbert's quote encourages people to lie to each other and pretend to agree, as if that will keep people from fighting about religion. Carlin's quote stems from being hurt by zealous, insensitive Christians. And Zizek's quote is not so much political as much as an observation on reality.

Tolerance is like the knockoff North Face apparel you find in Nepal. It looks like the real thing from far away. But when you inspect it closely, the differences are obvious. The logo wears off after the first washing. It's not quite as warm as you hoped. It's neither breathable nor water-resistant. 

Tolerance is more a superficial negation of hatred than a virtue. "I tolerate you" means I will put up with you even though I don't particularly like who you are. I recognize in many contexts, tolerance is about appreciating and accepting of diversity and striving against  discrimination. I am for that but tolerance is such a crappy word. I would rather talk about justice.

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