Why Mere Tolerance is Good


Tolerance isn’t completely bad. It can be thought of as a virtue, too. I must concede that much… and this is why:

If you train in your life to accept and embrace differences and feel no animosities whatsoever, it does speak highly of you to some degree. That is the point of the blog entry: “Why Tolerance is Bad“.

But, conversely, is it not virtuous to face your fears and control your impulses? I admire those who hold prejudices but don’t act on them. I admire people who have animosities but bight their tongue day in and day out. They force themselves to live and exist in fairness and equality. And the virtue is seen in the fact that they don’t let themselves break down. It’s a conscious effort that subjugates their emotions and instincts – instead of subjugating other people. Impressive! How do they do it?

As long as people aren’t down-right hateful and outwardly prejudice, I can’t honestly complain that they have prejudices.

The issue isn’t whether or not prejudices exist, its whether or not they are acted on in less than honorable ways. (See: Why Prejudice and Stereotype is Good)

At least by living in harmony, they give themselves the opportunity to embrace differences and learn through their own experiences that their prejudices are false.

In truth, the mere tolerance of others, I see as a virtue only if self-control persists and outward equality reigns. When tolerance breaks down and isn’t replaced by acceptance, then we have a problem.

Don’t misunderstand. I still see prejudices and animosities toward differences as a bad thing. But I praise the self-control people have. That is the point of this blog… to give those people the credit they deserve.

I have seen some people argue against prejudices by praising societies for their homogeneity.  Is a lack of prejudice a good thing when there is a shear lack of differences and diversity in the first place such that no one is capable of having anything to be prejudiced against?

Those who truly accept and don’t feel the same animosities cant honestly give themselves the same credit. Those who feel no inkling toward prejudices and hateful impulses cant lay claim to the virtues of self-control in that regard. It’s the difference between a repentant sinner and one who has never tasted sin – can you give the same credit to those who feel no temptation as you give to those who subdue it?

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