The Limits of Tolerance

Kurt Schlichter has an interesting thread on his Twitter feed. You can read it here, but the gist of it is that, just perhaps, our live-and-let-live attitude towards Blue State leftists isn’t such a good idea. In fact, it is a terrible idea – because we’re not dealing in them with people who merely have a different way to get to the same destination. They want something entirely different as an end result from what we want.

Consciously or not, we on the Right have internalized Voltaire’s maxim, “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” This, on the face of it, seems reasonable. Even necessary in self defense because it would seem that if we want assurances we can say what we wish, we must extend that assurance most definitely to those we disagree with. But like many catchy phrases of modern times (Voltaire counts as modern for the truly instructed once you realize that “modern” began after the Reformation), it falls apart on examination. Even Voltaire would have seen that, if had lived a little longer. He had the luck to die in 1778, safely protected by an Ancien Regime which would, aside from a little pestering from time to time, allow anyone to say anything. Voltaire never got to meet his intellectual progeny who, around 1793, would have cut Voltaire’s head off. It turns out that for some people in France, what they wanted to say is that certain classes of people had to die. In the event, letting people say anything they want didn’t work out very well.

If you never have before, now is the time to understand why the Catholic Church had an Inquisition. It wasn’t to be mean. It wasn’t even to maintain control of people or stop the expression of new ideas. The time of the Inquisition’s greatest power, the thirteen to the sixteenth centuries, was a time of immense intellectual advancement in the Catholic West. Now, to be sure, as the Inquisition was run by human beings, it naturally messed up hideously on a regular basis and, in the end, it wasn’t the right way to go about things even if done with the best of good will. But that doesn’t mean the purpose was wrong – and the purpose was to prevent people from expounding ideas which, if adopted, would be fatal to the social organism. It wasn’t to stop people from finding better ways of achieving known, desirable goals…but to stop people from coming up with insane goals and then trying to get everyone to go along.

You know – like an insane goal that we shall have from each according to his ability and to each according to his need. That sort of lunacy which can never be and must require a whole series of lunatic actions if it is to be so much as attempted. As if we can know what anyone’s full ability is and whether or not they are exercise their ability to the maximum extent. And then the even greater lunacy of saying that everyone gets what they need…as if anyone knows what anyone else actually needs. That small phrase, just a few words which seem so good to the eye and ear, have piled up a hundred million corpses. So far. They continue to pile up to this day and they’ll keep piling up just as long as we allow people to express the Marxist ideal without let or hindrance.

You may ask yourself here just why is it that people keep going along with it. After all, the corpses are there: there’s no doubt what the enactment of a Marxist system must entail. For all the Marxist attempts to say that no one has got it quite right so far, there are still all the dead and that should finish the idea. But, it doesn’t. I’ll tell you why: do you believe in yourself? Do you believe that people should believe in themselves? More than likely, 99% of people who read that will go, “sure; we have to believe in ourselves”. There’s only one thing wrong with that.

It is insane.

For heaven’s sake, believe in anything but not yourself. If you believe in yourself you’ll eventually start worshipping yourself and become a self-centered cretin who is sure the world owes him a living. Drop it. Believe in God. Believe in Nature. Believe in anything but yourself – you’re not good enough for you to have such blazing faith in yourself.

But you see how it is? It is a nice, catchy phrase and it seems to speak a truth. A moment’s examination of your own life – all the very stupid things you’ve done – will immediately inform you that believing in yourself is about the stupidest thing you can do. But, there we go: almost all of us in a happy, dazed mentality of believing in ourselves. So, too, the Communists. They read the phrase and it seemed sooooo good. Who can argue with everyone getting what they need, right? And so in spite of there being abundant evidence that you are your own worst enemy and that communism piles up corpses like no tomorrow, people continue to believe in both propositions.

But now we have a real problem. It is pretty bad that we’ve become a people who believe in themselves all through serial divorces, addictions and blind-alley career choices, but the worst mistake we’ve made is to hold that those who want something evil should still be allowed to evangelize for their twisted faith. If you had someone living with you who lied to and about you every day, stole everything they could lay their hands on and sought for the power to beat you to death, what would you do? Continue to live with that person? Or would you take some sort of self-defensive action? I think you’d be looking for a way to protect yourself.

But when we extend our house to our society, we seem to lose sight of that. The Marxists – conscious or otherwise – in our society lie to us and about us all the time. They lie when they say they merely want freedom and equality. They lie when they call us racists and Nazis. They are always seeking, under the guise of social justice, to grab as much of our property as they feel they can get away with. And now we see in the Antifa types their willingness to use physical violence against us – and while such things may start with a mere bike lock to the face, they end with us lined up against a wall, if we let it go on. We can’t allow this to go on any longer: we must steel ourselves to the fact that tolerance cannot extend to tolerating those who wish us dead or enslaved. Either they have to go, or we will.

Don’t let anyone hang you up on this. They might say something along the lines of, “people have to be free to choose”. That is an enormously correct statement. But if someone is choosing to rob a bank, I’m going to try to stop them. People can choose to be Marxists. Or Nazis or Fascists or whatever they want. But if they choose to be Marxists or Nazis or Fascists then they have chosen to kill or enslave me, who will never be a Marxist, Nazi or Fascist. I take them at their word: they all say, in their various ways, that a complete overturn of society is necessary in order to usher in some perfect world…with their perfect world not having any room for me or those like me. Fine. Believe what you wish: I will take action to defend myself.

We must by law seek to remove from the Marxists their ability to participate in the public square. They must not be part of education; they must not be part of corporations; they must not be part of government at any level…from voter to office holder. They must be excluded because we know, with absolute certainty, that if they ever get their way, their first order of business will be to exclude from education, corporations and government all those who do not subscribe to their views.

We have also learned over the past 60 years or so that we can’t argue Marxists out of their position. Oh, you might find the odd Communist here or there coming to wisdom and rejecting the ideology but experience has shown that hardly anyone ever converts from Communism. The Conservatism which held that free spirited debate would lead to the triumph of Truth was wrong. It was wrong because the Communists never view argument as a process whereby Truth can emerge. They already have Truth, as far as they see it – if they are arguing with you, it is merely to keep you busy until they’ve got a big enough stick to club you to death. Don’t be so surprised by this unwillingness to see the evidence. The Germans kept faith in Hitler until a Russian soldier kicked in the door and raped the frau. Years after it was abundantly clear that Adolph had got it wrong, people were still fighting to the death to defend his regime. We human beings are astonishing in our ability to use reason…but we can use it just as well for bad as for good. The only defense against bad reasoning is absolute, humble faith in God. Communists, though, don’t believe in God.

It really is a freedom or slavery choice before us – and if we wish to be free, we’re going to have to go after those who would take our freedom away. It isn’t our fault. We didn’t start this. It was not our side which subscribed to a philosophy which necessitates the overthrow of society and the imposition of an impossible dream. All we ever wanted to do was live our lives as we see fit. And that is all we still want – we just need to understand that in order to live free, those who would take away our freedom must be destroyed in the public square.

Enlightened Insanity

Do you realize why there was an Inquisition? That is something I think most people don’t ponder much. Most just consider it to have been a uniformly horrible thing which we happily dispensed with as the Enlightenment instructed us in the value of tolerance. To a certain extent, there is some truth to such a view, but it doesn’t cover the entirety of it.

That which we call the Inquisition started in response to the Albigensian heresy in the 12th century. If you read secular history about it, you’ll find that the poor Albigensians were horribly persecuted by the Church because they simply wanted to practice their simple faith. Ok, fine. But they also believe that sexual reproduction was inherently wrong – that the physical world was something created by an evil god and it had to be renounced so that the human spirit could unite with the good god. In other words, if the heresy had been allowed to continue, it would have ended civilization. The Church, of course, was also concerned with what happened to human souls – being rather interested in their winding up in heaven rather than hell and so looked in horror upon a sect which pretty much ensured via its beliefs a one-way trip to hell. So, there were two reasons to go after these guys: they’d imperil your soul and end civilization. That is why there was an Inquisition – to root out people preaching insane, destructive ideas.

To be sure, any institution run by human beings is going to mess up. It is in the nature of things because we’re human. Whether or not the attempt should have been made or whether or not the right methods were used in the attempt is a matter for debate. But the fact that lunatic ideas which bring death should be stopped is not something I will debate about. Lunatic ideas bringing death are bad. And bad things are to be held at arms length to the best of our ability.

But, in the event, those who argued against the Inquisition and in favor of tolerance won the debate. The Enlightenment – so called – happened. And people were free to express themselves in any way they chose. This did have the benefit of giving us the Declaration of Independence…but it also gave us the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf. Bit of an up and downside on that – and the Declaration of Independence could easily have been written by St Thomas Aquinas…the Manifesto and the Kampf, not so much…because both of those were heresies and St Thomas would have seen right through them.

Now, why do I bring this up? Because earlier today I saw a Twitter thread by a Muslim which expressed the view that Islam needs an Enlightenment. There is much merit to such an argument on the face of it. But I also immediately had my doubts.

First off, of course, is my belief that Islam is itself a heresy – Mohammed taking various aspects of Christianity (and a little Judaism) that he liked and dispensing with the bits he didn’t like. The classic heresy model – leaving something or things out. Be that as it may, if it started as a heresy, it developed rather rapidly into its own thing. And as a Christian I can and do take various issues with it. But whatever one wishes to say about it, for quite a long time it was just another part of the world tapestry. Violent as all things can be, but also beautiful, as all things can be. Yes, I can list for you a large number of Muslim sons-of-bitches but any Muslim out there can come up with a list of Christian SOBs to match – but in neither case were the SOBs the thing about the religions or the civilizations they created. I’ve read quite a bit of history of Islam and I do have to say that something changed over the ages – and the change was rather recent.

Some time in the 19th century or maybe a little earlier, the historical records start to document people of the Muslim faith acting in ways which they simply had to know were wrong. Not just in Christian ideals, but in Muslim ideals. There is a difference between fighting for your side – however brutally you may do it – and committing acts of cruelty. One early example of this is the massacre of about 50 British captives in Delhi during the Mutiny of 1857. But it got worse as time went on – acts of supreme cruelty which had no justification and which the perpetrators knew were wrong when they did them (on the simple fact that they would never want such things done to them). It wasn’t, after all, backwoods Muslim peasants who set the bombs which started the Battle of Algiers in 1956 – it wasn’t, that is, regular, old fashioned Muslims who came up with the idea of setting a bomb off specifically where children gathered so as to cause the most horrific death and injuries to people who could have in no way caused offense.

That takes a modern, Enlightened mind to come up with.

You could say that the things like the bombing in Algiers was provoked – and, to a certain extent, that is correct. The French, far more than the British, could be very brutal overlords when challenged. There were plenty of reasons for the Algerians to be displeased with the French. But it should be noted that the first serious effort of the Algerian rebels wasn’t so much to go after the French, but to kill those Algerians who were friendly to France. And kill them quite brutally, without sparing women and children. That sort of thing isn’t done in response to provocation – that is a cold blooded act of murder. So were the bombings. So, later, were acts like the Munich attack and the Avivim school bus bombing (seriously: what sort of a sick person even thinks up a target like that?). Muslims were involved in these things, but to deliberately seek to murder – usually very cruelly – people who specifically can’t fight back…no, sorry, I’m not going to say that is a Muslim thing. That is an Enlightened thing – that is what happens when people are allowed to pursue insane ideas to their logical conclusion.

Given things like bombed school buses and, well, Treblinka, I’m going to have to come down a bit against the Enlightenment – the idea, that is, that everyone should be able to proceed unchecked wherever their thoughts take them. I’m going to assert that there needs to be a corrective, here and there, which will tell the insane to sit down and shut up – before they get gas chambers or bombed buses into their heads. I think that I’d rather have to deal with the most deeply orthodox Muslims around as they deal with me, a deeply orthodox Christian. I think we’d probably get along better than modern, Enlightened folks. Even if we ended up fighting each other, it wouldn’t be a contest to see who could be the most merciless.

Anyways, this is where my thoughts are leading me these days. A sort of Endarkenment…where being a lunatic gets you a padded room rather than a tenured position or a promotion to Dear Leader.

Is Tolerance an End, or a Means?

Lots of continuing commentary going on in the blogosphere, especially the Catholic part of it, regarding the Accepting Abundance “public morality” post we discussed here yesterday.  Over at Little Catholic Bubble, Leila posted an interesting quote:

We need to remember that tolerance is not a Christian virtue. Charity, justice, mercy, prudence, honesty — these are Christian virtues. And obviously, in a diverse community, tolerance is an important working principle. But it’s never an end itself. In fact, tolerating grave evil within a society is itself a form of serious evil. – Archbishop Chaput

The left long ago learned the trick of using a nice-sounding word to cover a wicked agenda.  The key is to find a word that is hard to argue against, claim that the word covers some desired, liberal goal and then say anyone who opposes this goal is opposed to the nice-sounding word.  “Tolerance” is one of those words being misused – like using “choice” for abortion; if you are opposed to abortion you are not opposed to murdering babies, you are opposed to people choosing, you see?  These days, the left uses the word “tolerance” as the nice-sounding word to cover the concept of homosexuality being morally the same as heterosexuality.

Just as the left would never get anywhere advocating for baby killing, so they wouldn’t get anywhere trying to convince common-sense people that gay and straight sex are morally the same…so, “choice” instead of “baby killing” and “tolerance” instead of “gay same as straight”.  And if you oppose the concept of homosexuality being morally the same as heterosexuality, then you are being intolerant…even though you’ve never said anything against gay people and, indeed, strongly advocate that every sign of unjust discrimination against them be removed (as all believing Catholics, for instance, hold).

We need to scrape away the lies which have grown up in our society -the various words and phrases the left has twisted to cover the bad and unpopular things they wish to impose on us.  Tolerance is a means, not an end – it is something we do because we wish to live in a peaceful, civil society…but it must not and cannot mean approval.  I am not being intolerant when I say that homosexual sex is inherently disordered…I am merely stating the truth as I understand it.  If the left wants to persist in using that word, then we have to force them to use it properly…and right now, if “tolerance” is the goal, then they’ve won…gay people are broadly tolerated in the American populace and none but a few kooks would dream of putting the slightest legal disability upon homosexuals (good to keep in mind, liberals, that I and plenty of other conservative Christians are, for instance, not opposed to openly gay people serving in the military…and until you went and tried to judicially impose gay marriage, most of us were in favor of some sort of civil union legislation). But that is as far as we can go – to go beyond that, especially for a Christian, is impossible.  We can’t say that what is wrong is right – we are, indeed, supposed to die rather than do any such thing.

Let us start having debates without lies – no more code words, twisted phrases or rhetorical misdirection.  Words mean what they mean, and we should use them as they were intended.  Truth is not subjective – what is right is not dependent upon the ideological viewpoint of the individual.  There is a truth to adhere to – to discover as best we can and then attempt to apply it as best we can in our lives.  To do otherwise is to sink in to a morass of dishonesty where reason cannot exist…and to play the liberals game of undermining us by the clever tricks of the propagandist.