Guest post: The paradox of tolerance

Originally a comment by Bruce Gorton on Blaming the beheaded.

Remember a few years ago when the in meme was the paradox of tolerance?

The paradox of tolerance is that pure tolerance doesn’t produce a tolerant society because there comes a point at which tolerating the intolerant means that the intolerant dominate the more reasonable people.

The solution to the paradox is that tolerance isn’t an absolute virtue. There is a line beyond which you don’t tolerate any longer. That line, according to the original argument, was drawn at the use of violence for political ends. You don’t tolerate terrorism.

Unfortunately, this same argument was used to endorse violence against bigots.

The problem is that violence is habit forming, and the habit generally expands beyond the initial target. It is difficult to deny that there is a misogyny problem on the left right now, and a part of that I think is the Nazi puncher movement. It didn’t take long at all for the Karens and “Terfs” to become the new Nazis.

Learning from this, we can conclude that it is thus very important to be very hesitant at the use of violence, and yet, the base argument the paradox is founded on is sound.

We saw this in the days of unmoderated comment threads; this is why so few news vendors even allow comments anymore because they can descend into such utter toxicity so easily due to a small number of highly intolerant, basically shitty people, who crowd out the decent majority.

It is all about where you draw the line, where you decide that freedom of speech dies. Personally, I draw it at the endorsement of violence for the aforementioned reasons.

For example, Dana Nawzar Jaf:

I fully condemn French police’s brutal senseless murder of the Muslim suspect last night. Macron and his security apparatus should explain to the public what was the need for the use of the disproportionate force against someone suspected of a knife crime. France is in crisis.

Bullying Muslim children in the name of teaching them free speech has to stop. Showing caricatures to Muslims kids disrespecting Prophet Muhammed is child abuse. Macron’s ass will be on fire if a teacher promoted Holocaust denial in front of Jewish kids to ‘promote free speech’.

Is this in the realms of tolerable intolerance?

#NotallMuslims, but the ones who are pushing this shit matter. #Notallmen, does not excuse those men who abuse women, and does not solve the problem of those men who do. What I am talking about here isn’t all Muslims, it is the specific Muslims who push this line.

And this man is mainstream enough to have written for the New Statesman, at least according to the Daily Mail.

Of course he claims this article is full of lies, yet his tweets speak for themselves.

Caricatures of Mohammed do not constitute calls for violence, can the same really be said for Jaf’s tweets? I’m not sure. I don’t think equating showing children caricatures in a lesson about free speech to child abuse after the teacher who did that was beheaded, can be said to be anything less than an active endorsement of the beheading.

There is a deep hypocrisy within the Islamist mind, whereby we are supposed to tolerate those who endorse the killings of cartoonists, teachers, authors, artists, and people who happen to work near the former offices of any of the prior individuals, and yet not tolerate the drawing of pictures of a certain long dead Middle Eastern pedophilic warlord.

We are supposed to place respect for the feelings of people who are fundamentally not respectable (and again, that’s #NotallMuslims, but certainly is those who agree with Jaf), ahead of the value we place on human lives. Is this a tolerable state of affairs?

If we are going to talk about freedom of speech, and whose speech should be banned, I do not think it is the speech of the cartoonist, but rather the speech of groups like 5 Pillars, of individuals like Jaf. If we are to restrict freedoms, we should restrict the freedoms of those who have demonstrated that they cannot handle living in a free society.

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