It occurred to me that things have a tendency to engender their opposites. I'm no anthropologist / sociologist; surely there is a buzzword or catchphrase to describe the phenomenon where prominence given to any one particular human virtue ends up bringing about its opposite, either by necessity filling a void, or by stimulating an equal and opposite reaction.
This preamble, being a roundabout way of introducing a rather neat assertion that I have assembled relating to the nature of tolerance in societies founded on Christian and Islamic systems. In a nutshell:
I) Tolerance is a virtue intrinsic to societies built on a Christian foundation, often taken to grotesque ends by members not possessed of its corresponding virtues of modesty/humility who prefer to exploit it to flatter their moral vanity.
II) Tolerance is a necessary coping mechanism in structurally hypocritical cultures subject to endless strictures on every form of activity, as is often found in Islamic cultures, where it accordingly finds more natural limits.
To many, the first statement will sound baffling. The second outright offensive. Allow me to explain. Firstly, it is worth clarifying that the ability to express intolerance of certain actions and behaviours is probably as essential as the capacity to tolerate individual differences is to the moral health of any given culture. Which brings me to a second point of clarity relating to terms. It merits a brief iteration of the six possible attitudes one may adopt toward any given point of principle:
Rejection = disbelief + opposition
Tolerance = disbelief + passivity
Submission = disbelief + support
Denialism = belief + opposition
Acceptance = belief + passivity
Celebration = belief + support
It is surely a sign of how progressive we have all become that we can move so nimbly between Rejection and Celebration these days, no? (Perhaps another category is needed to describe criminalising people for failing to celebrate things that were illegal less than five decades ago...?)
On the surface, celebration and rejection would appear to be the most principled stances to take on any given subject, which is no doubt why those who have an existential need to think well of themselves avail themselves of their use with such frequency.
The foundations of conservatism rest on tolerance and acceptance. An understanding of one's own sinful/hypocritical nature and humble acceptance that one's own beliefs may not always be sufficiently well grounded in truth to impose them on all peoples for all times limits the desire to codify positive rights. Respect for time honoured received wisdom and tradition corresponds with an urge to defend negative rights in the hope that they might conserve us from the Universal Law of Unintended Consequences. Negative rights which, largely already codified, rarely need tinkering with anyway. Hence Conservatism's famous maxim to never change the law "except with a trembling hand".
Submission and denialism would appear to be the least principled stances, but it is worth remembering that we are, after all, only fragile humans - lest we also fall into the ever popular trap of judging others too harshly. Further, in addition to the social fury and scorn that can be heaped upon a person for insufficient celebration or rejection of the latest causes du jour, extrication from the tax system is no simple matter. In the absence of being able to do so, a person has little power to withdraw their subsidy for the various public programmes to abort babies, inseminate lesbians, euthanise grannies, supply drugs/vaccines to children, etc.
The preamble done, justification for the two assertions follow: