Understanding what tolerance means in a highly polarized America | Sarah Ruger

Understanding what tolerance means in a highly polarized America | Sarah Ruger

One of the most important things we need to
focus on with respect to free expression is figuring out what constitutes a culture that
values it. We’re pretty fortunate in the U.S. to have
relatively robust free expression rights. I mean, there’s certainly a need to start
defining and grappling with what those rights mean in a digital age as the public square
moves online as opposed to in the physical arena, and certainly philanthropy has a role
to play in that convening those discussions and grappling with those sticky issues. But more than anything we’re concerned with
the degree to which support for free expression rights has been on the decline. Seemingly the only thing people agree upon
these days as we’ve become more and more polarized is that someone needs to be silenced — we
just disagree with who should have the right to speak and who shouldn’t. I saw a Cato Institute poll on free expression
and tolerance this past year that really quantified the degree to which folks from the self-identified
Right and the self-identified Left want to censor each other, the folks on the left tend
to want to censor more on the basis of identity groups and focus on the right tend to censor
what they view to be obscenity or lack of patriotism. One of the things that concerns me is when
people see tolerance in the acceptance sense as the goal, the goal being to arrive at agreement
or consensus as opposed to learning how to coexist peacefully through difference or to
harness the power of difference towards positive social ends like innovation and social progress
and the defense of equal rights. So what we would like to imagine is a world
where you view toleration as a starting point for something better. We’ve struggled with the term toleration because
it sounds kind of negative, it sounds kind of ‘I’m holding my nose and my putting up
with that view that you have but I’m not really recognizing your dignity, your value as a
human and the value that we can experience together by coming together in dialogue.’ But if we view toleration as a starting point
and start to talk about the positive things that we can accomplish together, if we start
to talk about how and why individuals have more opportunity to become self-actualized
when they engage with people who are different, how they find a more fulfilling enriched life
when they are curious and open to new experiences. If we talk about the powerful good that diversity
drives, talk about stories like — and it’s a bit apocryphal — but I heard a story recently
about how the life-transforming camera pill that you take to diagnose various illnesses,
as a concept, came together coincidentally because a gastroenterologist sat down to lunch
with a guided missile expert and came up with this idea. And whether it’s true or not, I think it is,
but whether it’s true or not it’s representative of the kinds of amazing things that can come
from unexpected conversations, unexpected explorations. Having a conversation about what it is we
want to accomplish together and having a conversation about how best to get there.

21 thoughts on “Understanding what tolerance means in a highly polarized America | Sarah Ruger

  1. Give over, these right-wing corporate think tanks are not tolerant and interested in self-expression. Pure propaganda. A corporation is a highly authoritarian structure where you take orders from the top and pass it down to the bottom, pure obedience to the bottom line and hierarchical power. Private tyrannies seek to monopolize the means of communication and information, to shape discourse for private gain, they are not interested in peace and harmony.
    Free speech for corporations means purchasing public opinion to create public policy.

  2. Conservatives value Free Speech much more. The Left wants to silence anyone they disagree with. Let's be real, this is a problem with the Left.

  3. I've learned to always question the "why" in any debate to find the premise. Land of the free to who? Censorship towards who? The more we ask those questions, the easier it is to evaluate the objective. Many times in history, censorship been to negate people from the truth and used as propaganda for hate. Manipulation through censorship is very common.

  4. I was distracted by the shoulder spikes. Made me think of a maroon pteranodon…but that's an idea: we should send the damn Republican agenda back to the Cretaceous!

  5. It means being tolerant of my intolerance, but being intolerant of my intolerance, that's really intolerant, right? 😉

  6. Everyone should have the right to 'freedom of speech', just be prepared to have your ideas or views questioned or even mocked when they are stupid or dangerous without claiming your rights are being violated.

  7. I'm beyond tired of words like diversity and inclusion, or phrases like denying existence or humanity. As a musician/machinist I fail to see how what's holding me back is a lack of wildly diverse and often incompatible opinions surrounding me. For the trivial things like our tastes and interests there is a seemingly infinite amount of appropriate options, the important things like economics and ethics have very few legitimately effective options as I see it.

  8. Americans don't agree on what kind of country we want to live in much less how to achieve the result. We don't agree on the role of government. We don't agree on how to balance the rights of the individual with the needs of the community. We have the freedom to say almost anything without incarceration but we don't agree on how we should use that freedom. I don't see this situation changing any time soon.

  9. "Toleration" is archaic. Please use the more common, accepted term "tolerance." …and those glasses are doing nothing for your looks.

  10. The censirship ofbthe internet is coming from other places, too. This is important!

  11. Being tolerant is fine, but I do think that you're technically allowed to dislike people (short of mandating that everyone hold hands) and being weirded out by how some people live is probably pretty normal (if not being necessarily an objective measure of morality). So tolerance is likely more realistic than expecting people to self flagellate for having an established ideological position or to be obsequiously, falsely celebratory. For me the basic concept of multiculturalism was "I think x. You think y. I need to allow a society that affords either of us the assumption of being right". Now, anything short of being a cheerleader for difference and disavowing any historical position is framed as an act of aggression. I'm okay with postmodern marxist critiques of power. I agree with them, but as critiques, not complete ideologies, and certainly not as things a paternalist government or styled aristocratic class wants to force in all environments. An attainable compromise might be preferable to a utopia that requires control or assumes humans are clay to be shaped by the masters.

  12. Makes you wonder if the person who actually came up with the cure to cancer, just happened to be a racist. Would the left refuse the cure on the grounds that it supported racism?

  13. The Right doesn't want tolerance or diversity. They want minorities to be maligned or destroyed completely.

  14. Ouch! Only 2400 views? That's 1/1000th of your alleged subscribers. How did this train wreck happen?

    It's almost like people don't want some Youtube channel funded by the democracy-hating Koch brothers telling them what they should think about every subject and how to behave. Maybe you could try another angle, such as understanding that we are adults who see through your low-rent social programming and fascist mind control tactics, and keeping your half-witted ideas to yourself.

    Also, almost all of your 2.6 million subscribers must be fake; either that or they've realized that this is just more fake news and awkward feelings, and were too lazy to even unsubscribe. Maybe you could order up some fake views from your fellow censorship-happy fanatics at Minitrue.. er, Youtube, so it looks a bit less absurd and unbelievable.

  15. Tolerance is bullshit! Patrotism?? Do you think, that your destiny is to die for the peace of damp dirt. that girl, who who represent the world, that kills literally 100 times more people than radical muslims do, while wearing glasses, smiling and speaking on human rights. See the hypocricy? Not the certain speaker of course, i mean there is the only law, which sweeps away all the differences between us – there is no god but Allah, the creator of me and you – whatever you are, we're brothers if you accept it and following His laws.

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