What is tolerance? It seems to be something we all think we have amply in general, but rarely when it comes to specifics. We all like to think we are tolerant, but happily confess we can’t stand X, Y and Z. “We pride ourselves in being a tolerant society”, dither faceless leaders, while introducing legislation to victimise this group or that.
It is a quality I hear much about, in Britain especially. But I have to tell you, social awkwardness so crippling it ensures aggression is repressed is not tolerance. Bitching about each other quietly, in an interminable private internal monologue, isn’t tolerance. It’s just dysfunctional bigotry.
In any case, what sort of goal is “tolerance”? I don’t want to live in a society where we merely tolerate each other. What a mean little abstract noun to aim for. Understanding, compassion, support , love, grace, generosity – apparently, they’re just too lofty. The most we can hope to leave behind now is a sort of passive-aggression, masquerading as forbearance. My generation’s legacy.
Can we hurry up with Humanity v.2.0 please?