Tolerance is the talk of the West today. You can hardly go a minute without hearing a government congratulate itself on its "tradition of tolerance" or without hearing an agency lecturing others on the importance of tolerance. In the late 20th century and early 21st centuries, tolerance has eclipsed every other moral and social virtue. A child of the first world is far more likely to be taught tolerance, than the value of manners, decency, charity or chastity. And to grow up with very little moral values, except the firm belief that intolerance is a terrible thing.
Yet what is tolerance all about and what's wrong with tolerance? For one thing, tolerance is not equality. It is condescension. George Washington understood that over 200 years when he wrote in his "Letter to the Hebrew Congregation at Newport" that, "All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent national gifts."
What Washington was saying back in 1790 was a truth that modern liberals have worked hard to blot out, namely that tolerance is a statement of inequality. You tolerate people who you do not believe can participate equally in their own affairs or yours, for your own motives. The people you tolerate are second class citizens.
Tolerance toward foreigners can be the product of a degree of mutual respect or mutual interest, in which both sides have an interest in maintaining tolerance. That tolerance however is a long way from equality. It is an exchange of tolerance premised on the idea that neither party wants to join with the other.
But tolerance can be the product of mutual respect or cowardice. When there is no mutual respect from the other party, tolerance reveals itself as mere cowardice and appeasement. Why "tolerate" someone who refuses to tolerate you, unless you're afraid of them?
Europe's Muslims started out being "tolerated" out of condescension. Today they are tolerated out of fear. Europe's politicians have done the math, and for the most part they have accepted the growing Islamic takeover as a fact of life. Aside from taken attempts at smoothing out the worst of the extremism, their only response is to demand greater accommodations in the hopes of meeting the invasion force halfway.
That template is the ugly reality behind the facade of tolerance. It begins as condescension and ends in fear. At no time however is it equal. To tolerate something, whether out of condescension or fear, is to declare it inferior to yourself.
That same idea of tolerance is behind many of the social problems of the First World, in which liberal and socialist parties view minorities as convenient inferiors, a reliable voting bloc and a useful club to beat the conservatives with. The more they cry about the oppression of minorities and treat them as helpless children to be pandered to, the more they reinforce a narrative of protectors for people who cannot progress on their own. Having closed off the top, except for the occasional bit of tokenism, the pressure explodes downward instead. Social problems in a community give way to a broken system and to the triumph of extremist movements. The condescension then quickly turns to fear.
A true democratic system has no room for tolerance, only for civil equality, yet it is the liberal ideologies which reinforce inequality and segregation under the banner of multiculturalism, repeatedly punishing minorities who behave contrary to their political expectations. Tolerance or condescension after all are based on fear. What need is there to "tolerate" people, unless you think there is something intolerable about them. Something dangerous and unpredictable. Something that you agree to tolerate in the name of a greater good.
Such has been the history of liberal tolerance, a story of condescension that began with class... back when progressive ideologues still thought poverty was somehow a genetic inheritance, down to race. A story of corralling oppressed populations on political plantations, exploiting them for violent outbursts, from the French Revolution on down to the race riots in modern day America, keeping them deprived, miserable and frustrated, useful but dangerous tools, all in order to promote a liberal agenda.
In Europe however, its population of guestworkers have shifted from being a handy voting bloc for left wing parties, to becoming the new Europe, a phrase that liberal politicians have enjoyed bandying about, but never took very seriously. They meant a "New Europe" rebuilt in their own image, but the rising green tide of Islam means something very different by it. They mean a European Caliphate run under Islamic law.
Somewhere between Europe and Eurabia lies the compass of tolerance swinging from condescension to fear. The mask of tolerance has slipped a bit, but the left, those among them still capable of reasoning rather than parroting cant and dogma, feel they have no choice but to ride the tiger until it arrives at some congenial destination. They bred the tiger, fed it, nurtured it and if it appears to ride them now, rather than them riding it, they do their best to pay no attention to the shift.
Turning back once more to George Washington's letter, to his statement that there would be no tolerance, only civic equality; we can see once again the wisdom of making civic equality the one and only public test. Even in Washington's time, Tammany Hall and Aaron Burr had begun their work, creating oppressed voting blocks that would help them seize power in New York State, as well as in two national elections. That day had not yet come in 1790 when Washington authored that letter, but it was bound to come. Burr's political heirs would go on to insist on political representation for people they themselves held as chattel and a century hence would swoop on them to declare themselves the new party of civil rights. And the lies would go on being told. Lies told by people who despite what they claimed, only sought to rule over others.
Behind the facade of tolerance are minds oriented on the master-slave relationship, on finding people to rule over, and then to shrink in terror from them when like all master-slave relationships, the slaves eventually rise up. Washington's letter was a declaration that American citizenship should not be based on any form of inferiority. And yet the liberals cry on, tolerance, tolerance, tolerance; enacting their parodies of liberating those whom they themselves have enslaved.