Tolerance is a good thing indeed. Tolerance means respecting the right of other people to hold to opinions or practices with which you might disagree. Tolerance, if practiced, would defuse much of the hate and violence in the world. Tolerance in matters of religion is particularly important. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints I have personally experienced physical violence from others who disagreed with my religious opinions.

A meta-meme which confers resistance to a wide variety of memes (and their sociotypes), without conferring meme-allergies. In its purest form, tolerance allows its host to be repeatedly exposed to rival memes, even intolerant rivals, without active infection or meme-allergic reaction. Tolerance is a central co-meme in a wide variety of schemes, particularly "liberalism", and "democracy". Without it, a scheme will often become exo-toxic and confer meme-allergies on its hosts.

Since schemes compete for finite belief-space, tolerance is not necessarily a virtue, but it has co-evolved in the ideosphere in much the same way as co-operation has evolved in biological ecosystems.

Although I agree that tolerance is better than bigotry, we must acknowledge the arrogance implied within the concept. Tolerance implies that the thing/person/idea that one tolerates is somehow less than oneself, a thing to be endured. Ultimately, we need to love and accept others, not tolerate them.

Tolerance is an term also examined in political science. There, the term is usually referred to as political tolernace

Political tolerance is usually a scale composed of four items. The items are queried of people by asking the following questions: "There are people who are viewed by society as /hateful/dangerous/troubling. Do tou think that these kinds of people should be allowed to : 1) vote, 2) campaign for political office, 3) make speeches on t.v./radio."

People with higher levels of political tolerance are usually found to be more likely to engage in political behavior, and to be more interested in politics than those who are less politically tolerant.

Tolerance. Tolerance is a really neat word. I read a series of books by a man who survived the bombing of Hiroshima, the series of books being comic books. "Barefoot Gen: a Cartoon Story of Life Before/During/After the Bomb." Funny, I read all these with a low grade horror sunk deep in my abdomen... like I was somehow pregnant with the repulsion for war, and human tyranny in general. I made it through these graphic books, and I thought it taught me a lesson. It did, but I wonder if it was enough.

I am a slender girl. No arguments there. My ex-boyfriend and I used to joke often about each other being fat, it's a condition we were both rather disgusted by... and kind of scared of. Maintaining a reasonable degree of control over one's body is important... most people would agree.

So what does this have to do with tolerance?

One time while Scott & I were walking into Meijer's to pick up photos, we saw an obese woman in a red shirt. I leaned over and snicker whispered to Scott, "Would you still love me if I looked like that?" He replied that he would. Then he nodded toward an obese woman in a green shirt. "You can't look like that, though." I looked up, and the woman's face and arms were absolutely covered in thick scars that were obviously the product of severe burns. We were both fell silent as we walked into the store. Half of me wanted to scream at him for being so callous, how could he be so mean... and then I realized that I was just as much of a jerk. I don't think he'd seen her face when he made the remark.

(I asked him later, and he hadn't.)

That's what stopped me. That and the realization that I was a huge jerk.

I guess that's what this has to do with tolerance. People (like me) can look at news stories and feel terrible for people afflicted with the horror of burns, or leprosy, or homelessness... but on the street, are you the same person as when you sit at and gasp at the evils of society? Or are you the jerk who walks by like it's not affecting you? I guess I discovered who I was, and for the past 4 years now, I've been trying to change that. Some things should not be tolerated.

It is generally accepted that it is A Good Thing to be tolerant, liberal, and generally nice. But as I was thinking about this recently, some strange, irritating ideas crept into my head. Behold the results:

I would think of my self as a tolerant liberal kind of soul. For example, when faced with the question of, for example, the morality of Homosexuality, I would say, "There is nothing wrong with homosexuality." There. How tolerant of me.

But wait!

There is another way I can be a tolerant liberal. Now, I do not take drugs myself, and hence consider myself to be fairly responsible. When faced with, for example, the morality of recreational drug-taking, I say, "I support and would defend your right to take drugs, but I disapprove of you doing so." There, how liberal and tolerant of me.

But what if my response to homosexuality had been, "I support and would defend your right to be homosexual, but I disapprove of you being one"? Most liberal, tolerant, people (myself included) would disagree rather strongly with that statement. But how is it particularly more unreasonable than my opinion regarding taking drugs? This perplexes me.

The answer to this contradiction may be that as liberal tolerant people, we still have to have an arbitrary, but extremely robust, system of morals constantly informing all our opinions, going round and round in our heads all the time. This does seem like a rather inelegant solution though.

Tol"er*ance (?), n. [L. tolerantia: cf. F. tolérance.]


The power or capacity of enduring; the act of enduring; endurance.

Diogenes, one frosty morning, came into the market place, shaking, to show his tolerance.


The endurance of the presence or actions of objectionable persons, or of the expression of offensive opinions; toleration.

3. (Med.)

The power possessed or acquired by some persons of bearing doses of medicine which in ordinary cases would prove injurious or fatal.

Tolerance of the mint. (Coinage) Same as Remedy of the mint. See under Remedy.


© Webster 1913

Tol"er*ance, n.

1. (Forestry)

Capability of growth in more or less shade.


Allowed amount of variation from the standard or from exact conformity to the specified dimensions, weight, etc., as in various mechanical operations; specif.: (Coinage)

The amount which coins, either singly or in lots, are legally allowed to vary above or below the standard of weight or fineness.


© Webster 1913

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