Sunday, September 23, 2007

Tolerance at Columbia

I am often amused, and sometimes frustrated, at how the word “tolerance” rarely actually means tolerance to those who call for others to be more tolerant. The loudest advocates of tolerance are some of the most closed minded members of our society. Disagreement is an essential attribute of tolerance, yet the staunchest advocates of tolerance demand that others agree with them.

For example, a heterosexual who believes there is no moral difference between homosexuality and heterosexuality is not capable of being tolerant because this person does not have a disagreement with the homosexuals who feel the same way. The only heterosexuals who are capable of being tolerant to homosexuals are the heterosexuals who believe there is a moral difference between the two lifestyles, yet chooses to treat homosexuals the same as they treat heterosexuals.

Self government and democracy are most often credited for the greatness of America. As I observe the world, I’m not so sure. I see a lot of democratic organizations and democratic governments that aren’t so great. Majorities can be just as tyrannical as a single tyrant. I believe America became great because early on in our history the leaders decided that Americans had a right to be left alone. Diversity and true tolerance are a part of our historical fiber.

Many American Universities claim to support and allow tolerance, but few actually allow disagreement or divergence from political correctness in state schools or orthodoxy in private schools. Opponents of human caused global warming, evolution, or affirmative action are labeled ignorant or hateful and are never tolerated.

By inviting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, to speak at Columbia University, President Lee Bollinger is practicing tolerance if President Bollinger does not agree with the views of the Iranian President. I would like to believe we are witnessing tolerance at the University level, but I suspect we are witnessing a University and a University President who are intolerant of those of us who want to defeat radical Islam.