Tolerance is the credo of the age, the great rallying call of modern liberalism. Tolerate and be tolerated, they say. Tolerate to all alike.
But what are the limits of tolerance? To tolerate is to accept things that are strange or unpleasant to you. You tolerate things that are different from you in nature and expectation. Without a reasonable amount of tolerance, no society would be able to function for long. But at the same time the flip side of tolerance is that to tolerate a behavior is to perpetuate it.
If your neighbor plays loud music at 1 o'clock in the morning and you tolerate it for a while, you've given permission to him to continue doing so and getting him to stop will now prove much more difficult than if you had put your foot down from the beginning.
And that is the crux of the matter, because there are behaviors that we accept, behaviors that we tolerate and behaviors that are unacceptable. The liberal credo of tolerance though has eliminated two of the categories and warped language and attitudes to equate tolerance with acceptance and to all but eliminate the idea of unacceptable behaviors entirely, as long as they are grounded in a different culture.
Tolerance for liberals means acceptance. While the larger society may not accept, when it begins to tolerate, acceptance is the next and final step of the process. When liberals say tolerate, what they really mean is not 'tolerate' in its original sense of not interfering, but to mean acceptance and accommodation.
That is why we must be careful of what we tolerate, because intolerance is the gatekeeper, the immune system that acts as a barrier. There are things for which that barrier should be lowered and things for which it should remain in place. A society that universally tolerates everything is a society without values or defense mechanisms.
When the defense mechanisms no longer exist, when the gate is permanently raised and the immune system disabled, the society is open and vulnerable to conquest, exploitation and colonization. A society eager to tolerate its intolerant enemies is like an AIDS patient with no working immune system welcoming in cold sufferers or an unarmed man offering a hug to an opponent who is trying to stab him to death. Yet that is almost exactly the situation we are in.
Liberalism does not promote a universally tolerant society. Instead it promotes something far worse. Intolerance toward the immune system itself, toward the gatekeepers and the traditional and conservative elements of the society combined with a limitless tolerance toward the foreign invasion. This is not merely apathetic tolerance, it is tolerance turned virulent. It is tolerance turned into a virus that kills the host society.
Liberal society today is the AIDS patient actively seeking infection and throwing out his medication. It's the unarmed man going to the most dangerous part of town and threatening the police with a lawsuit if they try to protect him.
Like most things tolerance is a dangerous thing. To tolerate is to give your consent, your permission to an act or a way of life. Be careful of what you tolerate and remember to be wary of whether the things and people you tolerate-- are equally willing to tolerate you.