Tolerance Is A Gift - Share It -

Tolerance Is A Gift – Share It

Tolerance |

Tolerance is a gift we choose to give, but I understand the objection to being tolerated. It’s a passive pastime. But it does not have to be so. November 16 is World Tolerance Day; you can decide if you want to share the gift of active tolerance. I hope that you will.


Today, intolerance has led to wars and persecution that has left 65.6 million people displaced. 22.5 million of them are refugees. Europe speaks of being tolerant but has only accommodated 17% of those displaced.

Britain’s response to the refugee crisis has been inadequate, and animosity toward multiculturalism is rising. Ignorance and fear often cause intolerance, but it goes unchecked.

Tolerance is the ‘willingness to accept behaviour and beliefs that are different from your own, although you might not agree with or approve of them (Cambridge Dictionary). And the problem with that is it’s pretty passive. It does not help to overcome intolerance.

Active Tolerance

So, we need active tolerance. Er, What? Active Tolerance. It is the glue that will hold humanity together.

The tolerant among us usually have a ‘agree to differ’ approach. It does not win hearts and minds. Nor, can I respect a view that I disagree with or know to be factually incorrect.

But I can respect the person’s humanity while I perform my duty to challenge the view I do not share. For to respect another person is, to be honest with them and have difficult conversations.

Instead of agreeing not to agree, we should seek to enlighten and enrich through an exchange of ideas. That is how we make progress.

‘Active tolerance, performed correctly, requires that each actively attempts to understand viewpoints that are different from his/her own. No one comes from the same place. No one has the same life experiences. We are all individuals, and, if we don’t share our experiences, we cannot learn from one another’ (Thoughts On Liberty).

Tolerance is not the Telegraph Newspaper |

Active Tolerance Tools

When confronted with an escalation of intolerance around us, we must all be part of the solution. Therefore, to create a more inclusive society, we have to discuss our fears.

So, active tolerance requires work. It means engaging with those who are intolerant, and that can mean us. Personal awareness is part of it. And we must also educate ourselves through credible sources of information.

If we don’t division will escalate. It will mean more hate attacks like that on Muslim woman Zaynab Hussein who a driver deliberately struck with a car.

The world would be a better place with active tolerance. It allows us to create room for everyone and their perspectives. It does not demonize ‘other’ as the Telegraph front page has done with MPs who prefer to stay in Europe. It opens debate challenging intolerance through constructive dialogue, not passive acceptance.

The gift of active tolerance is in your hands; the only question is, do you want to give it?

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  • Tolerance seems to have limits. These many vary. No set level may be agreeable.

    Legislation has implied or embedded limits. In this context, the control over limits or choice with respect to tolerance is largely- possibly completely- negated, most usually by possible sanctions.

    In non- legislative circumstances such as the Brexit circumstances you discuss, personal control of choice and limits of tolerance are open, possibly fluid.

    The boundaries between tolerance and intolerance in such circumstances are neither necessarily clear nor necessarily certain.

    What you say about ‘active’ tolerance…

    “‘Active tolerance, performed correctly, requires that each actively attempts to understand viewpoints that are different from his/her own. No one comes from the same place”…

    implies that we usually do not understand what we object to. I think that this is often incorrect.

    I surmise that the Daily Telegraph understand the viewpoints they refuse to tolerate.

    You, for example (Roz) obviously well understand (almost always) what you disagree with, though you are well in the habit of using the phrase “I don’t understand”. I take your use of this phrase to mean, perhaps most frequently, “I don’t agree, I don’t accept” and, less frequently “I don’t tolerate”.

    That is not a personal criticism but an attempt at some clarification in a tricky area.

    • Hello Eric,

      Thank you for your comments. I had to read this a few times and think about your comments.

      I feel that at this point in history, there are many who are involved in professional outrage/intolerance. In other words, people don’t know what they object too but are inclined to object anyway. I serve Brexit as an example. Whatever the EU says and despite their position being public for months, Brits are ‘outraged’. So EU says we cannot be members of the Cultural City competition in 2020. Reasonable as we are leaving the club. But there is outrage and intolerance of Europeans.

      I think, and I will have to review my use of the term “I don’t understand” when I say it, I am usually baffled. But you are right that I also mean “I don’t agree”.

      I find looking at tolerance, active and otherwise an interesting foray into sheep land.

      On a separate note, have you managed to catch the Tuesday show on starrradiouk?

      • Roz

        Your use of the term ‘professional outrage’ is interesting. I have to admit that- as a non- professional- I am frequently outraged at The Telegraph, generally, and specifically outraged at their stance on ‘The Brexit Mutineers’. I have always been strongly pro EU, for reasons seldom expressed. I agree with your slamming of the Telegraph.

        Personal intolerance may become cumulative, bigger and better. We are supposed to get more intolerant as we age. I have come across extreme intolerance by the elderly- this seemed to be age- related. I try to become more tolerant as I age. Age discrimination and age intolerance is usually not by the aged, but by the young and middle aged.

        In your example of ‘knee jerk’ outrage at the EU this can be the result of cumulative intolerance resulting in the dispensation of thought before intolerance. All of us are probably intolerant of some things some of the time. Some of the time intolerance is a good thing and thoroughly justified. For example, I think that intolerance of the Telegraph’s stance is justified.

        As a follower and admirer of JOHN LOCKE, whom I regard as the father of tolerance, I think tolerance a good thing- though I am always not as tolerant as I should be.

        Re: starradio,uk- after 43 years of use my Russian Radio, purchased new in 1973, developed static- a fault. I decided against getting it repaired. Instead I splashed out and bought a swish new Ruark Audio R1 FM/DAB- though I had previously set my face like stone against DAB (I possess (at last count) 9 radios, one of which was modified by me and with engineers to be near state of the art).

        Still, alas, no starradio, even after searching via the internet and trying.


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