Sunday Roast: Tolerating Intolerance aka Cowardice


John Henry breaks down this faulty argument in favor of tolerating intolerance, and the attempt to lay blame on those who call out bigotry and racism:

Those people have a right to not like (x), and forcing them to (interact with x) is a violation of their rights.  Who are you to judge them for what they believe in?  YOU are the one who’s a bigot!

Yeah, nice try.  I think we’ve all heard this “nuh uh, you are!” argument before.  In this video, John Henry blows it right out of the water:

This is our daily open thread — share your wisdom with us!

125 thoughts on “Sunday Roast: Tolerating Intolerance aka Cowardice

  1. This is a poignant remark on the state of our society. Each of us has the duty not to view our associations with others based on the characteristics of those associates or their wealth. In addition, our evaluation should not be based on biased preconceptions of religion or human relationships. The founding fathers intended that our republic be one of tolerance beyond mere faith or politics.

    One not wanting to accept these bounds is neither a true Christian nor a true patriot.

  2. Good video. The question I have is “Is there a point where you should just give up on someone because they will not change their way of thinking?” Eventually, the bigot must face some kind of consequence for his bigotry. What should that consequence be? Prison? Fines? (For thoughts alone, not acted upon, no. For actions, yes.) Ostracism? Shunning? It would be the more non-violent approach. As much as a bigot might deserve to get the crap beaten out of him, it most likely wouldn’t change his mind. It might change his behavior, but only when he’s around non-bigots. It might also drive him to seek out like-minded people who want to “do something about it.”

    I agree that we should never have to tolerate someone else’s intolerance, but what does that translate into when the intolerant person displays his intolerance? Many of the Republicans running for the presidential nomination have displayed some kind of intolerance at one time or another. And most of those have been unapologetic about it. Does that mean more tolerant networks (like MSNBC or Current) should refuse to ever have those people on as guests? Should they invite those people on and publicly humiliate them because of their views? Or should they just let Fox News Channel have them on?

    Would the national discourse be harmed by not allowing bigots to publicly air their views, when their bigoted views are already widely known? Bill O’Reilly has the highest rated cable news program, but he gets fewer than 3 million viewers (on average.) That’s less than 1% of our nation’s population. (Not the same 1% against whom the Occupy Movement is protesting. That 1% probably pays someone to watch cable news for them.) If one of these buffoons goes on the TV machine and speaks to less than 1% of the nation, should we be worried about what they say? Even if that number were closer to 5%, should we be concerned? (Many of those cable news shows get re-aired over the ensuing 24-hour period, and it’s reasonable to think that the re-airs draw a different set of viewers.)

    Do we continue to interact with people who think the way bigots do? Or do we make it harder for them to go about their bigoted ways in a society that doesn’t tolerate intolerance? And how do you not tolerate someone without being, yourself, intolerant? Just asking.

    • The next tricky question is, “What kind of thoughts or behavior should not be tolerated?” And where do you draw the line between tolerable behavior and intolerable behavior? For example, I have a problem with rich people who think they’re better than me just because they’re rich and I’m not. (Not all rich people, just the assholes.) Am I allowed to be intolerant of people like that?

      Is the reason for someone’s intolerance the measure for whether or not that person should be considered “intolerant”? Is it wrong to not tolerate Nazi-sympathizers? Most of us would agree that’s okay. But what else should go on the list of intolerable behavior? And who decides what those things should be? Where is that fine line between promoting a harmonious society and mob rule?

      There’s a (cynical) saying, “No one is as stupid as all of us.” How do we come up with a list of intolerable behaviors without it turning into a list of our own prejudices?

      • I’ve come to honestly feel that bigots have gained at least a functional majority in this country, and that those of us who prefer the non-bigot alternative have a legitimate reason to feel uncomfortable and to squirm at the uncertainty of any sort of pleasant and tolerant/tolerable future.

        If it were up to me, I would order all bigots to be painted red, but then would worry my own fate because I realize it could be argued that I’m bigoted towards bigots and might necessarily wind up painted red myself, along with everyone else. And then nothing would change.

        The incidence of bigotry is a serious problem, though, far more serious than most dare to admit. And it seems to never stop growing.

        • I don’t know that we have more bigots these days, in fact I doubt it, but they are more visible than they have been for decades because their bigotry is more tolerated, especially by the media. Bigots feel more free to display their intolerance every year, more free to use language that wouldn’t have gone unremarked 20 years ago.

          And the flip side is that young people, at least outside the Red States, are much less likely to be carrying that disease.

    • The only “certainty” in the Republican party these days is that fucking the poor and the middle class while at the same time romancing the rich and powerful are the only appropriate ways for them to demonstrate “love of country”, and they’ve gotten to be pretty damn good at both.

    • The ‘uncertainty’ is whether the GOP will be able to strongarm the 99% into letting them lower workers’ future compensation and healthcare benefits, to increase the profits of the countryless corporations.

      Wayne, the end of the article is the key to the problem we face.

      But since 2008, the Fed has actually paid banks to park their excess reserves at the central bank, rather than lend them out into the economy. If the Fed wanted that money to make its way to consumers and businesses and stimulate job growth, it could simply reverse its policy — instead of paying banks interest on excess reserves, it could charge them fees. At present, banks can actually make money by doing nothing with their money. If there were a penalty for doing nothing, banks would work harder to find good loan candidates.

      However, the question is not if the Fed stopped interest on excess reserves, would the capital find its way into consumer and business loans, it is would it find its way into the stock and commodities markets, where the risk/reward is still better than betting on the success of small businesses and individuals?

  3. Good points, Wayne. It’s a difficult line between allowing unfettered free speech and allowing offensive speech. In fact, your very points were discussed at lenght in a seminar on fundamental rights in Europe and the United States. Countries in Europe have banned speech denying the Holocaust, and for good reason, as it fosters continued hatred of Jews and seeks to revive the era and power of the Nazi party.

    On the other hand, American students argued that by allowing such speech, it is easier to identify the speakers – rather than drive them underground.

    Ultimately, to demonstrate tolerance, we must tolerate those who are intolerant. As one once said, it is easy to love those who love you, it is hard to love those who hate you, but, in loving those who hate you, you heap buring coals upon their head.

    • Here’s where I’m going to draw fire from some folks. While I agree that it is a bad idea to deny the reality of the Holocaust, I am not entirely comfortable with making it illegal to do so. Not because I deny it happened (I don’t), and not because I thought they had a good idea (I don’t and they didn’t), but simply because it raises the question, “What else should we not allow people to say?”

      Please, don’t anyone misunderstand me, there was absolutely nothing good about the Holocaust and people should certainly be discouraged from denying it happened. But what form should that discouragement take? By banning the right to speak of it as if it never happened, you open a door to banning all kinds of free speech, even speech that OUGHT to be heard.

      I agree with shunning Holocaust-deniers, even of allowing merchants to refuse to serve them. But to threaten to imprison Holocaust deniers is to threaten free speech. Would such a law be constitutional in our country? Obviously not. So why would we think it’s a good idea elsewhere?

      For me, the concern becomes “What else should we bar people from saying?” Should it be a crime to publicly deny the genocide in Rwanda? How about the genocide in Darfur? Most of us agree those things happened. Now what about denying the genocide of the Armenians? It’s a touchy subject with Turkey, and if our government officials ever mention that it happened (and it did), it upsets our international relations with Turkey. In this case, should it be a crime to say the genocide happened?

      Again, I hope everyone here knows me well enough to know that I do not support the Holocaust, or the people who perpetrated it. My concern isn’t even about the Holocaust itself. My concern is the banning any kind of speech under threat of fine or imprisonment. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I know that making it a crime say the Holocaust never happened is too much.

      And before the subject comes up, yes, it should be a crime to slander or libel people to the point where it affects their lives, but I can’t tell you right now how that jibes with my earlier thoughts on free speech. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. I don’t know right now and I’d have to give it some thought to fully develop my ideas on teh subject.

    • Allowing speech is not the same as providing a platform. It is not muzzling the bigots to demand they be taken off the air. The persons can still spew to their hearts content, just not on major channels and venues.

  4. Doing catchup on the “debate” and it appears that Bachmann believes China is a positive role model for the US, while Rick Perry at least recognizes that it’s a communist state and predicts that it will end up on the ashpile of history. I strongly suspect that none of the moderators asked for a consensus on this.

    And the lovely redneck audience applauded the use of waterboarding and other forms of torture. Nice.

  5. Asked what programs she would eliminate to help ease the security threat caused by the deficit, Bachmann launched off into an attack on LBJ’s Great Society, and ended by saying she would eliminate all of those programs.
    I don’t remember them all, but I do know that the Civil Rights Act was a big one. To repeal that sounds awfully bigoted to me, in the least.

  6. Wikipedia offers this definition: “A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one exhibiting intolerance…”, and Merriam’s and other dictionaries offer practically identical results.

    Whilst a bigot is inherently intolerant, being intolerant does not make one a bigot.

    A bigot is surely a person obstinately devoted to his or her own opinions based on limited data and experience that only affirm the precepts of the opinion already established, without regard to modifying or contrary factors and facts.

    Tolerance is surely a practical acceptance of facts, conditions and/or arguments.

    The 1st amendment obligates the American citizen to accept that people form differing opinions and philosophies and each one is entitled to express that opinion.
    The practicality of that tolerance is that it can serve to prevent the adoption of opinions and philosophies that may in fact prove to be impractical and detrimental.
    However not every opinion or philosophy or deed is equally valid by virtue of its mere existence and expression.

    Toleration depends on the degree of impact that results from said toleration.
    An opinion expressed is just an opinion.
    An opinion acted-upon .is a deed
    An opinion that becomes a deed becomes a precedent
    A precedent that is tolerated becomes a philosophy.
    A philosophy that is persistently tolerated becomes a policy.
    A policy that is tolerated becomes a fact,

    Bigotry requires the toleration of a minimum of facts and logic as being equal to an ‘intolerant’ demand demand for the maximum of facts and logic in order to establish bigotry as both fact and argument–this is how bigotry evolves from individual opinion to group policy.

    The existence of bigotry has to necessarily be tolerated as a fact,but it foes not and should not be tolerated as a major influence, let alone allowed to become a norm–and not out of any sense of ‘morality’. but out of an understanding of ultimate practicality. Nazi Germany provides the most clear object lesson in this regard. ,

    • How the Hell is someone who has to flee a room because she’s being heckled supposed to cope with being president? I’m led to wonder if she’s a nutcase because she suffers from a severe anxiety disorder and her system is constantly flooded with adrenalin.

    • I’m proud to say that there was a tiny contingent of Occupiers protesting in front of the City Hall/Library in Lincoln City yesterday.

      They looked to be from age 5 to 85, and they were awesome. 🙂

  7. The Batshiat Trifecta

    Bachmann saying we ought to be unsocialist like China, Bachmann bitching about CBS and now Bachmann saying that ending a war is desecrating dead soldiers.

    Shelie keeps this up and the for next debate her podium will be offstage behind a curtain.

    • And don’t forget her bizarre claim that the ACLU is “running the CIA”. her run for president has put extra pressure on a structure (her mind) that wasn’t up to code in the first place and she’s been reduced to just babbling whatever foolish thing pops into her tortured brain. That’s always been the case with her but her ravings have become more sad than alarming or humorous.

  8. Batshit:

    “President Obama was given a war that is won in Iraq, and he’s choosing to lose the peace,” Bachmann claimed on Meet the Press. “That’s a desecration of the memory of forty-four-hundred Americans that gave their lives to liberate Iraq.”

    Fuck you, you craven flap-mouthed harpy.

    • She also wants Iraq to pay us reparations! I guess that I’m too sane to even be able to imagine what kind of monstrous “thought process” one must go through in order to come up with the idea that a country we destroyed for no good reason should then pay us for being destroyed. I mean; did she just wake up one day and say, “hey, destroying a country is expensive work and someone has to pay for it”?

      How far back will she go? Will she send Japan a bill, corrected for inflation, for the Manhattan Project and the B-29 program? That alone would balance the budget in no time.

    • So, the Iraq war was “won”, eh? What’s that mean in this day and age? I know what it meant when I was a little feller. It meant that Germany, Japan, and Italy no longer had the means to do anything other than unconditionally surrender. Korea? Not quite so much, more the stalemate. Vietnam? Declare victory, leave, and let the former enemy take over. Middle East? Jury remains out, mainly because no one has yet figured out exactly what ‘victory’ means anymore. Or maybe in its current incarnation it means pissing away three trillion dollars in order to finally get rid of the guy we helped put into power in the first place. Yes, that must be it. Victory.

      Times have changed, I’m thinking.

    • I have entered a car sharing scheme just two weeks ago. It is incredibly easy to use and a real cost cutting. I would have needed an own car otherwise, what with having to be flexible in case there is an emergency with my mom.

      I try to buy local at farms whenever I can and I insist the cooperative building society which owns our house, goes green whenever there is an appliance that needs replacing.

      I love your occupy movement, they are so much more creative than ours. I guess the Swiss need some serious coaching.

  9. My husband may annoy the hell out of me at times, but he is the best. I had an awful day today, was totally overwhelmed by another bad news only day. So he hunted up Jim Pewter for me on the internets and married the internets to our music making hifi machine so I can listen to Jim Pewter Shows again. We used to listen to him as often as possible in the 80s on AFN in Munich. He’s awesome.

  10. As everyone here knows, the Constitutional qualifications for POTUS candidacy are remarkably minimal, whilst the practical qualifications are necessarily more complex–even though, on Election Day, the criteria are once again reduced to simplicity.

    But not only are the GOP candidates staggeringly unqualified in empirical terms as well as , most notably, in the broader opinion of their philosophically inclined supporters on the right (not ONE of the candidates has scored more than a 25% approval rating amongst even the most chauvinistic of REPUBLICAN voters—let alone amongst often pivotal self-described ‘Independents’) but also, I can assure you all, NOT ONE of these candidates could pass muster in the present private-sector job market, for anything other than the lowliest jobs imaginable—and even then they would struggle, Indeed they would even qualify for most of the incoherent welfare programs that I have lately been obliged to explore and been variously accepted and/or rejected for, nor if accepted, would they be able to sustain their qualifications for such programs.

    In short the GOP candidates are, for he most part, too stupid, too dishonest, too demonstrably incompetent and/or too insane to merit any of the extremely limited government-provided assistance I’ve been provided—assistance which I would add they ALL say they are intent on destroying, once they find themselves in the position of doing so.

    . .


    • In short: A bunch with egos the size of Jupiter and an intellect that would fit into a teaspoon easily. 😉 I so love your way with words.

    • One of the telling moments of last night’s debate was when Ron Paul condemned waterboarding. while the crowd booed, every other person on that stage was shocked into disbelief that anyone on that stage had dared to say such a thing. Ron Paul is as nuts as any of them in his own way but he did the country a service by helping to remove any doubt that the others are unabashedly in favor of torturing people.

  11. I have come to realize the primary difference between she who shall not be named and Batscat. The Tundra Twit is your basic under-educated, street cunning sociopathic grifter with a barely hidden mean streak the size of Alaska. Shelly is flat out deranged. We are talking Joan of Arc nutso.

    • It’s hard to tell where the stupidity stops and the insanity begins. That being said, it’s clear that Batscat is a pathological liar. She will say anything, at any time, for any reason or no reason at all. A very large proportion of those things are pure fantasy; like her imaginary friend who allegedly claimed her daughter was rendered “retarded” by a vaccine. That’s the kind of obvious lie that no sane person would even attempt to tell. That one incident alone, even without her rich history of bizarre behavior, should make any thinking person rule her out for any office.

    • Nicely and correctly compared and summed, hooda.
      SP has a self-serving shrewdness that is far more coherent than MB’s–in short MB SP ‘monetizes’ the attention she gets.
      MB hasn’t figured out how to do that yet.
      I’d argue its because SP is ‘sexy’ and exploits that whilst MB is sexless and has nothing to exploit beyond her rhetoric. SP manages the attention she has recieves but is incapable of leveraging it.
      SP exhibits frequently exhibits derangement but MB lives it and epitomizes derangement—and the MSM still clearly refuses to acknowledge her utter derangement.

  12. Must have done something right. I asked the grandkids what they would like for supper and the unanimous vote was for frugal’s Ratatouille.

      • I was surprised to discover that the “Farmer’s Market”‘ that vendors that pitch their s stalls twice a week in Journal Square, Jersey City, accept ‘Food Stamps’. .
        A dollar more for a loaf of real bread rather than some factory product is IMHO scarce money better spent, for example; quality,food is not only more nutritious for the body, but also for the mind.

        • Every couple of years some Reich-wing nut decides that food from stands and farmers’ markets is “luxury food” that shouldn’t be covered by food stamps. It strikes me as particularly odd because i just happened to notice some “grass fed” ground beef at the supermarket. It costs $8.49 a pound and, since it’s not prepared, it would presumably be covered by food stamps..

          I’m as environmentally conscious and civic minded as anyone but I must admit I would be a bit disappointed if food stamps were used to buy ground beef for $8.49 a pound. Conversely, I can’t imagine many purchases easier to justify than fresh sweetcorn for $3.00 a dozen or whatever other fresh produce is at the peak season and selling cheap..

          • I understand how you feel and I sell the expensive meat, and yes I accept food stamps. While my sausage, with no filler so it doesn’t cook down, is a good deal even at $6 a pound, I’d feel pretty uncomfortable if someone used food stamps to buy my pricey pork chops, which thus far has not happened. On the other hand, perhaps the purchaser would have budgeted in order to be able to have a special treat and who am I to tell them how to manage their money? It’s difficult.

            • Good and healthy food is pricey, even poor people deserve healthy food, the foodstamps should reflect this. But well, I’m a damn socialist anyway.

            • I didn’t mean that I would limit food stamps to frugal choices. I was just pointing out that there are lots of things one can buy at a supermarket that would be less frugal than shopping at a farmers’ market or stand.

      • I cheat just a teeny bit and drizzle a light balsamic vinaigrette dressing on the egg plant prior to baking instead of plain oil oil.

  13. A quotation from James Lee Burke’s latest novel which seems perfectly appropriate to be directed at Bachmann.

    “Yes, yes, I know. But you talk like a bat flapping its wings in a cave, filling the air with sound that means nothing. You must cease this constant talking. It’s like glass in my ears.”

  14. Not confined to the U.S.A.:

    Roebuck falls to death after sex assault questioning

    Renowned cricket writer Peter Roebuck reportedly fell to his death from a South African hotel balcony while being quizzed by Cape Town police over a sex assault on Saturday night.

  15. One of the things that bothers me about the police in full riot gear facing OWS protesters is the number who are wearing opaque face shields. It just adds to the dehumanizing of the police. Add on top the use of batons, tear gas, flash bangs and multiple officers to ‘subdue’ people who aren’t fighting back and I can see this whole thing degenerating to riots in the streets before election time.

    • If OWS would just turn over the droids, Aldaran could be saved.

      Yeah, a feeble attempt at humor but I am getting tired of the news looking like a cross between Cairo a few months ago and a Ridley Scott movie.

      • Interesting legal question.
        Part of the policemans legal strawman identity is the officers name in displayed full capital letters.
        I would think that failing to display this would constitute the impersonation of a law enforcment officer.
        Okay, that being said, in the real world, they protect their own and will simply peal off the tape obscuring the name plate.

        • I like the claim that the protesters are making a mess. So it is less expensive to send in cops from all over a state, in full riot gear than to put on an extra shift of sanitation workers, whom the protesters would probably work with?

  16. It’s a lot different when there are no billionaire corporatist brothers paying for the bus tickets to and from the demonstration.
    This ain’t no tea party…

  17. Speaking of judges who should recuse themselves (no, not Clarence Thomas this time), the judge in front of whom Jerry Sandusky was arraigned was a volunteer in his Second Mile organization, the very same organization through which Sandusky found small boys to rape. Oh, and she let him go loose on $100,000 unsecured bail, instead of the $500,000 the prosecutors were recommending.

  18. First Lady Michelle Obama to Be NASCAR Grand Marshal

    “Gentlemen, start your engines!”

    Famous words soon to be uttered by … Michelle Obama?

    Yep. The NASCAR season is coming to an end, and first lady Michelle Obama will help preside over its final race of 2011 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20. She and Dr. Jill Biden, as part of their efforts through Joining Forces — a group that helps military families — will serve as grand marshals at the championship Chase for the Sprint Cup finale, the Ford 400.

    Wind Tunnel host Dave Despain just announced this, and read an e-mail from a viewer who’s obviously more than a little bit related to Michele Bachmann and Glenn Beck.

    Nascar’s decision to have Michelle Obama as Grand Marshall is a sign that Mike Helton (Nascar President) has lost his mind. There is now concern among us Nascar fans that during the Democratic National Convention next year in Charlotte, the Occupy Wall Street people will terrorize Nascar shops in the area. I am afraid that Mr. Helton has sold his soul to the devil.
    -Chris Miller
    Covington, Ga.

    Now why would Occupy Wall Street have an axe to grind against Nascar? I don’t think anything the racers do harms anyone economically. True, some of the sponsors may have a hand in the economic repression, but the teams just want money to go racing. When tobacco companies like Winston and Marlboro supported racing, inevitably it became time to wean the sport off their money, and I don’t think Nascar wants sponsors that tarnish its reputation any more than sponsors want drivers who tarnish theirs.

    I’ll probably be watching the race next Sunday, so if any incidents happen, like a lot of booing when she’s introduced, I can report back on it. It will be interesting to see how the bulk of the fans at Homestead react.

    • If OWS is still going on (highly doubtful the way ‘peace officers’ are herding and hurting the crowds) next year during the convention — First Lady Obama’s being Grand Marshall/NASCAR this year would have nothing what so ever to do with it.

      Why, oh why are these people so afraid of the First Family?

    • Perhaps the rubes are afraid that someone will protest against burning all that gas? really though, I don’t think anyone has a general problem with NASCAR. I suppose it would be possible that a sponsor might take some heat but the sport, as a whole, doesn’t seem to be on the radar of most “leftist rebels”.

      • In a sense NASCAR functions as radar for us rebel types, we know where bubbas are on any given race day.
        No offense to any liberal progressives who just like to see cars go really fast…

    • Methinks Chris Miller is dancing around his issues with race and political persuasion, by trying to make out that OWS is made up of terrorists.

      I had no idea that some NASCAR people were so delicate.

  19. “There is now concern among us Nascar fans that during the Democratic National Convention next year in Charlotte, the Occupy Wall Street people will terrorize Nascar shops in the area.”

    Terrorize? Sounds a little paranoid to me.
    Don’t worry, Mr. Miller, all we’ll do is gather up the weeks road kill from your neighborhood and toss it on the track.

  20. Gloria, Gloria, Gloria – don’t do this.
    Hold onto your dignity – let the loser loose!

    Cain’s wife: Sex harassment claims don’t ring true

    Herman Cain’s wife says the claims of sex harassment against the GOP presidential candidate don’t ring true because he “totally respects women.” Gloria Cain told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren: “I’m thinking he would have to have a split personality to do the things that were said.”

    • Ummmm, “Princess Nancy” rolled pretty easily off “Herb’s” tongue.

      That’s how he thinks, and that at a minimum is contemptuous of women.

      Gloria’s got a lifetime invested in her particular lifestyle, and why on earth would she cash it in now? I’d be surprised if she said anything else.

    • It seems that Rice advocates Fascism.

      I rejected their scholarship based on the inadequacies in their engineering department.

      They also lag in sociology.


    The young Iraq War veteran who was hospitalized after Oakland police attacked Occupy protesters in the city is still working to get his speech back, but he is able to write and he posted on Google+: “I’m feeling a lot better, with a long road in front of me. … You’ll be hearing more from me in the near future and soon enough we’ll see you in our streets!”

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