Wednesday, March 01, 2006

My son, on tolerance

My son is 15, a freshman at Lake Oswego High School. He likes to debate political issues and other things with friends and classmates.

Several times lately he's come home with stories about class discussions about "tolerance." He says the overwhelming consensus among his schoolmates is that tolerance means no one should ever judge anybody else. He's often laughed at the self-refuting nature of the notion of tolerance (should we tolerate intolerance?) and the other day, he wrote the following, which I thought was perfectly worthy of being posted on my blog:

What is tolerance?

Why is it that we aspire to nullify our opinions when our opinions are all we have? After all tolerance only morphs itself into the hatred of intolerance, at which point everyone is pressured into tolerance through intolerance.

Therefore a feigned tolerance reigns over the general populace who fear being alienated as outsiders.

Opinions seperate us from animals. Animals have no opinions and and cannot follow a logical path. So why attempt to nullify our opinions which in effect gives animals an equal station to humans?

Because opinions make us individuals, the admission of equal correctness of all opinions creates a uniform society in which if you have an opinion and therefore are an individual you are not tolerated. That is a communist state.

I dont advocate fighting over every small difference in opinion, but I do protest the notion that it is somehow wrong to hold an opinion on another's life style.
For those who say "who are you to judge?" - I am a human being, of body and mind capable of logical thought.

That alone permits me to judge.


Joe Egge said...

Rob - You should be very proud (even if the genetic source of his articulate insight is most likely his mother). Your son provides us old geezers with hope in the younger generation.

Anonymous said...

I would like to say for the record that my chiuaua definitely has opinions.

He also is very intolerant of many things.

feigned sanity said...

Your chihuaha may have opinions and and intolerance towards some things, but when was the last time it followed a logical thought process?

Anonymous said...

That intolerance always seems to come from religion. And religion seems to have power/money issues behind them.

Anonymous said...

Bravo to Rob's son for speaking up and being on the correct track to answering power with liberty!

Now, as regards the animal metaphor ... my 3-yr. old labrador retriever is a reasonably typical representative of his ethno-canine community so this should serve as a fair example.

Since he was a little pup, he continually anticipates and calculates the timing and odds of any sound or action of mine as it contributes the likelihood of going out for his next walk (usually with a ball, but not always.) He is very observant, he has strong opinions about this subject, and he is quite able to make them known in a charming variety of ways. Also, it is undeniably true to say that he normally follows a very logical thought process, albeit often to extreme, since he always gets to go for another walk sooner or later. (Humans have been know to follow logic to the extreme, too.)

That's why it's important to learn and teach the command, "Take a break."

Anonymous said...

Actually, whether it is logical or not my dog knows that 5:00 p.m. is his time to eat. (Experinced) dogs know stepping in front of a speedying car is, how should I say this, unpleasant or will hurt. A dog can follow the flight of a frisbee and catch it in the air(as well as any outfielder in baseball). These examples reveal some kind of(thought?)process. Abstact, symbolic thought is not happening(say religous thought), thought that does not relate to concrete relationships.

gus miller said...

I suggest looking at tolerance as acceptance without, in some cases, approval.

It appears you have a budding John Galt in the house Rob.

Charlie said...

Rob, your blog will be in good hands when you are finally too old and tired to keep it going.

Very impressive.