What is tolerance, then? Who defines it? Where does it apply? When is it out-of-bounds? How does this affect those who champion it most?
We’ve decided that “tolerance” as preached is a subject ideal that can be forced on everyone but the preacher. According to this definition, then, “tolerance” is defined differently by each of the millions of people who inhabit this planet, and it is applied differently in those millions of ways to everyone else.
What is “fairness?” Most people know what it means to be fair, so why don’t we work to be fair to all with our ideas of “tolerance?”
If we judge others, we must be willing to measure up in the same way. Otherwise, we are little more than hypocrites, all of us.
However, there is a flip-side. By championing “tolerance” for everyone, we end up oppressing those who disagree. And, as we are all human, not one of us can truly stand above the rest. So, where are the bounds of tolerance?
The person who believes that “tolerance” is “whatever you think it is,” is the person who has no ground in an argument about equality and fairness. Why? Because moral ambiguity does not stand firm against the reasoned logic of fairness. And herein lies the downfall: unless we admit there is an overarching Truth that all can acknowledge, we are left scrabbling in the dust for position and power. Yet we all know what fairness is, even without being taught by our teachers, or our society. Sometimes our parents help us to understand it, yes, but I have yet to hear a good answer to the question, “Why should I be fair?”
By believing in equality, we prove the existence of an overarching Truth called “fairness.” It is not, like “tolerance,” merely an interpretation by millions of people in millions of ways. It must be more than that, since millions of people understand it exactly the same way. We can confuse our thinking, but we still know what it is to be fair.