Promoting intolerance

This morning’s treat: an inbox full of extremely obvious “phishing” try-ons, from something falsely describing itself as the “Gmail Team.” …

I am hardly the first to observe, that if people behaved on the street the way they behave on the Internet, they would be punched — even in Canada, I think, where tolerance for fiendish behaviour has replaced watching hockey on television as our national sport. For Canadians, I have observed, are like Cambodians. And Cameroonians, I might add; to say nothing of Cape Verdeans. You can push us only so far. This is indeed true of the people of all countries beginning with the letter C, right down to Cypriots and Czechs.

Well, it is amazing how far you can push us, before we snap. Every day, in my walks around the Greater Parkdale Area, I acquire new anecdotes. Perhaps my countrymen have forgotten that civilization depends far more on intolerance, than tolerance. Perhaps, now that I think of it, civilization depends entirely on intolerance: on what people are unwilling to put up with. Discomfort, if you will: with the small, the sleazy, the crooked, the cheap, the noisome. A certain willingness to eliminate hucksters. Unwillingness to take “the easy way out.”

Do the good, speak the true, make the beautiful.

Stop tolerating the bad, the false, and the ugly: starting with yourself, and perhaps continuing discreetly with your neighbours. (Eventually, they will stop tolerating you.)

Another item in my inbox this morning is an article by Francis Fukuyama, the dime-store Hegelian. He writes in the Wall Street Journal, as the subhead neatly summarizes, “Twenty-five years after Tiananmen Square and the Berlin Wall’s fall, liberal democracy still has no real competitors.”

It is a quarter century now this gentleman has been backpedalling on his End of History “thesis.” One may make a good living on backpedalling, I have observed. First make your name with an absolutely ridiculous claim; then devote the rest of your adult life to qualifying it. Yet all along, the premiss of the argument could be confuted with the words, “Oh, please.”

Or let me put this another way: “We have enough quantity now. We need more quality.”

And quality does not depend on liberal democracy. It depends on intolerance.