Friday, July 17, 2020

Tolerance: The Grand Ideological Paradox of a Secular Progressive America

In modern America the virtue of "tolerance" has been elevated to a position of supreme importance and has been newly established as a paramount "American Value" by the secular progressive culture. Unfortunately the placement of tolerance on this political pedestal has resulted in greater division rather than the desired unity, greater tyranny rather than the desired Liberty.

In a grand ideological paradox, secular progressives have begun seeking "tolerance" through the tactics of social extortion and where possible institutional force. There pursuit of tolerance is turned to tyranny as they have untethered this virtue from all others that are meant to guide its application.

This modern "tolerance," which tolerates only what the social progressive deems worthy, is an enemy to the unique American Liberty whose maturation was a product of centuries of trial on the rugged frontiers of the American wilderness. This frontier was not the tolerant utopia of the progressive dream but it was uniquely suited to the development of free men and this nation's birth.

The first American value to develop was born of the mutual religious antagonism between peculiar sects of Protestant Faiths who desired nothing more than for their unique communities to be left alone to worship as they saw fit. These early pilgrims and puritans are viewed with contempt by modern "American" values as the least tolerant of human societies, but out of their zeal was born the first liberty of our constitution, that restriction upon civil government to interfere in any way with the worship or conscience of any individual.

The First Amendment reflected the attitudes of religious communities who wanted to prohibit the federal government from meddling in the religious affairs of their local governance. 

The mis-application of "tolerance" in modern America has caused a destructive interpretation of our "first liberty," freedom of religion, conscience, association, and speech; the result is quite the opposite of the one intended; instead of protecting religious persons from the meddling of the state, the state now uses its power to eradicate religious observance and practice from the public square so far as it is possible. The secular progressives act as though they are protecting liberty by protecting everyone from being assaulted by the judgement of another's conscience.

While Puritans wished to live in small communities of like-minded folk in order to better live their shared ideal, but they upheld the natural liberties of all man as a matter of faith in God and their belief that all men where made free by God. Their commitment to this justice and the rule of law is a historical fact too often deemphasized in order to portray Puritans unfairly as diabolically intolerant.

"The Massachusetts Body of Liberties included items familiar to Americans: the principle of no taxation without representation, the right to jury trial, the guarantee that no person would be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law." (The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History) There are many more such documents in our colonial roots upon which we rely for the articulation of our God given civil liberties all of which were outgrowths of communities demonized by modern Americans as wholly intolerant.

So what should we learn from the mutual animosities existing between religious factions in colonial times and the continued divisions natural to our human condition of which modern America is not immune? 

Modern ideas of "Tolerance" are seriously flawed in the pursuit of liberty in a civil society. In order to practice true tolerance you must be willing to accept that everyone has some idea or behavior they are not willing to tolerate. Tolerance simply has its limits, and when tolerance is pursued as a paramount value, one that supersedes freedom of conscience. When people are pressed to violate their conscience in an act of tolerance the result is not Liberty but rather the soft tyranny of "moral" busybodies who afflict us with the permission of their own "good conscience." (C.S. Lewis)

The peace of the populous is most likely to be achieved by "religious" observance to a truly American value, that value that limits governments and fellow citizens in the meddling of religious affairs, and matters of conscience. To the greatest extent possible we must teach our children that for centuries American values of tolerance were grounded in a guarantee that religious institutions and individual conscience were to be safe from outside interference; and that where one man's right must be weighed against another's it should be with the most careful prudent discretion to our first Liberty, religious liberty.

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