Authentic Tolerance is a Must
The notion of tolerance has always been a highly controversial concept in the modern society
On the one hand, the human and civil rights guarantee the freedom to express any views and to behave in any ways as long as these do not infringe the rights of others. The history is abundant with the examples of people struggling to get their rights, although not always the outcome has benefited the societies. On the other hand, it can be extremely difficult to tell the intolerance from the situation when someone’s rights are really violated. This paper explores the tolerance issue from the standpoint of an impartial observer, who just happens to come across the interesting social phenomenon.
The fundamental reason for the intolerance is that the human beings generally tend to care more for themselves than for anybody else in their social environments. It is the manifestation of the weak human nature, and the logic is quite simple: others are different – what if they are better and stronger? – it makes me vulnerable – let them all be like me so I could feel safe. Other intolerance reasons can be more complicated and originate from the cultural or religious worldviews. All the aggression comes from fear; therefore, it takes a really strong personality to accept others with all their differences. As with any type of social interactions, there is always an opposite side to the intolerance. Someone who shows the resentment toward other people cannot expect them to remain calm and friendly. As a result, the individuals with similar worldviews congregate against their real or imaginary opponents to enforce the “right” type of behavior. The sad truth about this approach is that such groups are more like animal packs than the human society. Packs unite individuals on the basis of the outward appearance while societies are created based on the common ideas.
It is obvious that the extremism phenomena, such as Nazism or child pornography, should be left behind the scope of the tolerance. These atrocities cannot be tolerated in any form and for any reason because some human values are of the ultimate power. With this regard, the tolerance popularization may be even dangerous as the neo-Nazis and racists will take it as an opportunity to press their advantages. However, such extremist groups are relatively rare and their harmful nature is well known from the history. Therefore, it would be safe to assume that the tolerance ideology will not benefit the criminals if applied sensibly.
Another consideration is important with regard to the religious feelings of many believers
Unfortunately, some religions encourage people to express the intolerance. The Christianity perceives everyone sinful from the very outset, let alone being in the minority. Some Muslim groups openly call for the infidels’ destruction. The believer is hard put to decide about the right course of action when the weight of the whole religion influences his or her judgment. However, recent developments in many confessions bring hope that the things are changing there as well. Religious institutions started to realize that they will continue losing the popularity if the intolerance will remain so pronounced in their attitude toward different people’s categories.
There are numerous ways in which people differ due to their nationalities, cultural backgrounds, beliefs, and health conditions. As a matter of fact, people are born different, but it should not prevent them from living a full and happy life. One of the greatest society achievements is the human rights policy. As Cohen-Almagor puts it, “Rights keep authoritarian police officers from targeting innocent suspects, they keep corrupt politicians from implementing policies for private financial gain, they keep power-hungry ideologues from imposing their views and they morals on others, they keep policymakers from enacting policies designed only to entrench the personal power of the policymakers, and they keep those in power from discriminating on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and the like for no reason other than a dislike of those who are different from themselves” (30). However, the human and civil rights alone are not enough to make an individual happy in a hostile environment. If the mere existence of a person who happens to differ from others produces the fear and disapproval, this person would feel inferior even in the absence of any direct actions toward him.
Apparently, the tolerance cannot be simply enforced upon the society
It is the matter of culture and the way of thinking, both of which result from the whole life course. However, as everybody is liable to the potential intolerance of one type or another, people might start feeling a bit more relaxed toward others’ imperfectness. The real, authentic tolerance is of a much greater value than any artificially adopted ideology that does not tally with someone’s beliefs. The authentic tolerance is flexible and genuine, not demanding too much from the person who decided that other people may have the right to exist. “Authentic tolerance permits conflict and criticism of others’ beliefs and practices, but it limits the ways in which this conflict can be pursued based on respect for the person” (Von Bergenm et. al 114). The authentic tolerance, in fact, makes the life easier in many ways. It creates some kind of confidence that others would also feel really tolerant rather than indulgent. After all, it may be the first real way to decrease the amount of hatred in the world, uniting different people who share the same values.