This week in Germany....ARD (Channel One, the state-run network)....is hyping up tolerance. Yep, a week with various projects and forums on TV, to talk up the topic of Germans needing to practice more tolerance. It's hard to say if this was a politically driven thing, or if the network executives made the decision on their own.
So, Monday night included both a movie and a chat forum after the movie. The movie basically centered around an immigrant family who were defended in the neighborhood by an elderly German gal. It concludes that by helping the immigrants, the woman was displaying tolerance, and standing by her principal. Afterwards, with "Hard But Fair" as the talk forum, they ran over the same conversation and pressed on the issue that everyone should show tolerance.
It's a curious thing for an American to sit in the midst of this discussion and observe where the chat wants the public to progress to, and center around. In the logical world, it is tolerance versus intolerance....a battle that is always underway.
There's a philosopher, John Rawls, who wrote a piece years ago to say.....society must in the end tolerate intolerance....because the tolerate folks would just end up being intolerant themselves if they refused to accept the situation.
Tolerance has a point where it's no longer a society advancement tool, and it becomes some "bat" which people use to manipulate and force people to accept things that aren't in their best interest. Four residents of a village of 2,000.....could remove their clothing and suggest that a nude society is more pure and accommodating.....saying they are the tolerant ones, and the clothing folks are the intolerant folks.
Star Trek introduced everyone to the new society of Borg as characters. Borg individuals had analyzed everything and come to logical conclusions that if everyone went along one thought process, one thinking process, and one research process.....then you'd come to their conclusion....they were better than mankind. One voice, one stance, one state of tolerance. Beyond that, we don't need to function. The Borg solution was to dissolve mankind, and bring everyone within one state of mind and one direction.
Smokers will consider themselves an independent group and don't really want to inflict their habit or smoke upon non-smokers. For decades.....they were tolerated. Today? Non-smokers have been intolerant of smokers.....making demands....and trying to establish themselves as a superior group. Non-smokers demand not just smoke-free buildings, but even smoke-free open-air areas (bus-stops, city parks, etc). Tolerance versus intolerance? Not possible.
Modern society has lost something. Intellectuals have drafted up some new form of reality, and placed the argument of using tolerance to solve all problems. Once they've picked the right position....they line up the magnetic charm, discussion topics, and bullet statements.....to hit on the opposition, the intolerant. The response here? Who says you are in the right?
In the end, the only real segment of tolerance that ought to be demonstrated is the free right to respect a guy's position....whether for something, or against something. Beyond that, intolerance is just a bogus gimmick used by an intellectual crowd to pursue some unknown agenda.
How many Germans are buying into ARD's week of tolerance? Not that many. By the time you figure up the very limited audience of 15-to-25 year old young people who absolutely do not view ARD, it's fairly small. Toss in a limited crowd from the 25-to-45 year old group. Maybe three million Germans watched the movie last night (out of eighty million residents), and only a quarter of the three million (my humble estimates) watched the chat forum after that. The message was accomplished....just in meager numbers.
I'll end this with a quote which I think is appropriate for the situation. Penn Jillett: "Tolerance is you saying something crazy, and me smiling and saying that's nice."