So, You Think You're Tolerant?

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Jul 9, 2018

Are you tolerant? You probably think so. But who is tolerant in America today? Is it those on the left, or those on the right? In this video, Dave Rubin of The Rubin Report analyzes this question and shares his experience.

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The left preaches “tolerance” but rejects its core principle: tolerating “opinions or behavior one dislikes or disagrees with.”

  • Tolerance as defined by the Oxford dictionary as "the ability or willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions or behavior that one dislikes or disagrees with."View Source
  • Tolerating others’ opinions, especially when there is disagreement, is a prerequisite to a functioning and free society.View Source
  • Leftist leaders and activists have repeatedly demonstrated that they do not believe in tolerance as a principle. They use a twisted definition of the word as a means to gain power over their opponents.View Source
  • WATCH: “Why I Left the Left” – Dave RubinView Source

If the left really embraces “tolerance,” why do leftist activists continue to shut down speakers whose opinions they don’t like? 

  • The left’s increasingly overt intolerance begins in the academy, where most professors are liberal, and spreads through media, into politics.View Source
  • How tolerant are the Antifa "protesters" who sparked $600,000 on security spending at UC Berkeley when mainstream conservative Ben Shapiro showed up for a talk?View Source
  • When libertarian political scientist Charles Murray spoke at Middlebury College, leftist students attacked the professor who invited him, a liberal who intended to challenge his ideas.View Source
  • In another example of liberal intolerance, the Chicago Dyke March stopped lesbian participants from marching with the Star of David.View Source
  • WATCH: “Does Free Speech Offend You?” – Greg LukianoffView Source

America was built on a foundation of tolerance, including of different opinions. The left has largely abandoned this tradition.

  • The Declaration of Independence guarantees us “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,” which implicitly requires that each of us be tolerant of somebody else's life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.View Source
  • America has thrived in part because of the idea that people can openly disagree without demonizing each other.View Source
  • The left has increasingly abandoned tolerance in favor of enforcing uniform thought.View Source
  • WATCH: “Religious Tolerance: Made in America” - Larry SchweikartView Source

The foundation of tolerance in America is breaking down. The liberal media, leftist politicians and academics are leading the charge.

  • The left’s intolerance begins in the academy, where most professors are liberal, and spreads through media, into politics.View Source
  • The silencing of dissenting voices reveals that leftist leaders and activists do not truly embrace the principle of tolerance, but only use it as a convenient political tool.View Source
  • Members of the gay community, minorities, and immigrants who are not in lockstep with current leftist orthodoxy are shunned and excluded by the left.View Source
  • Even moderate Muslims critical of extreme forms of Islam are marginalized by the left and portrayed as puppets for the right wing.View Source

Who’s more tolerant, the right or left? Conservatives embrace tolerance as a principle while leftists use “tolerance” as a political weapon.

  • Conservative speakers are willing to engage with liberals in a debate, but leftist college students have repeatedly met their attempts not with arguments but with violence.View Source
  • Conservatives more fully embrace tolerance because they treat tolerance as a principle, not a tool to be arbitrarily used against one’s enemies.View Source
  • Related reading: “Why Liberals Aren’t As Tolerant As They Think” – Matthew Hutson, PoliticoView Source
  • WATCH: Dave Rubin on the regressive left and his political awakening.View Source

The left preaches tolerance, but only tolerates those they agree with or who aren’t actually tolerant. 

  • The leaders of the 2017 Women's March had to apologize for the “hurt and confusion” they caused when they invited a man, leftist icon Bernie Sanders, to speak at their convention.View Source
  • In another example of liberal intolerance, the Chicago Dyke March stopped lesbian participants from marching with the Star of David.View Source
  • While expressing hatred for traditional Judeo-Christian values, the left supports Islamists and immigration from countries in which radical and fundamentalist views are rampant.View Source
  • WATCH: “Why Don't Feminists Fight for Muslim Women?” – Ayaan Hirsi AliView Source

The right, much more than the left, believes in the notion of “live and let live.” That is the true definition of tolerance.

  • Tolerance is not about all beliefs being equal; it is about letting all people have the freedom to follow their conscience.View Source
  • “Whether it’s a conservative invited to speak on a college campus or a new columnist hired by The New York Times sparking outrage and controversy, the illiberal left has become increasingly intolerant of diverse viewpoints,” writes Matt Lewis in an op-ed for The Daily Beast. Tolerance, once a trademark of liberalism, he argues, has been largely abandoned by leftwing leaders and activists.View Source
  • The angry mob at Middlebury College could not “live and let live.” They had to have what they saw as justice, even if that meant attacking a liberal professor.View Source

Liberal “tolerance” is only given to whatever group happens to be considered “victimized”—and politically useful—at the moment.

  • Liberal “tolerance” is only given to whatever group happens to be considered “victimized” at the moment — as long as the members of those groups don’t question liberal ideology.View Source
  • Liberals once believed in real tolerance, but many who now describe themselves as liberal do not anymore. The left is no longer satisfied with disagreeing with opposing views; leftist activists increasingly seek to shut them down.View Source
  • WATCH: “The Left is No Longer Liberal” – Dave RubinView Source

Tolerance. 

It’s a word we hear a lot these days. So, let’s define it. 

Tolerance is “the ability to live with people whose opinions and behavior you don’t agree with.” That’s essentially how Oxford defines it, how Merriam-Webster defines it, and how we, as a society, have always defined it.

You might be for the death penalty, and your cousin might be against it. You might be against a $15 minimum wage, and your coworker might be for it. Your dad might have voted for Trump, your mom might have voted for Clinton, and your brother may not have voted at all.

Whatever differences we have, tolerating others’ opinions is a prerequisite to a functioning and free society.

America itself was built on a foundation of tolerance. The Declaration of Independence guarantees us life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But there’s an implicit contract there: To have your life, your liberty, and your pursuit of happiness, you have to be tolerant of somebody else’s life, their liberty, and their pursuit of happiness. 

This contract, though, seems to be breaking down.

If you listen to the mainstream media, only one side is living up to this deal: the left. The right, according to the media, is intolerant of everyone...except those darned white, heterosexual, Christian males.

There’s only one problem. It’s just not true. Incredibly, the left isn’t even tolerant of the very people they say they’re tolerant of!

If you’re gay, or black, or an immigrant, and you’re not in lockstep with current leftist orthodoxy, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

If you believe we should judge people on the content of their character and not the color of their skin, the left calls you “racist.” If you believe that America is a nation of immigrants, but that our country should also protect its borders, the left calls you a “xenophobe.” If you believe that men and women are equal but fundamentally different, the left calls you “sexist.”

Here’s the thing: those who only tolerate people they agree with or like…aren’t actually tolerant.

So, who is tolerant? 

Is it the organizers of the Women's March, who had to apologize for the “hurt and confusion” they caused when they invited a man—leftist icon Bernie Sanders—to speak at their convention? Is it the Antifa thugs, who caused UC Berkeley to spend $600,000 on security when mainstream conservative Ben Shapiro showed up to give a talk? Or is it democratic congresswoman Maxine Waters, who scolded Kanye West for “talking out of turn” when he dared suggest that blacks should think for themselves?

These aren’t isolated examples. I’m guessing that you—person watching this right now—have silenced yourself because you don’t want to suffer the wrath of the outrage mob.

So, let me ask the question again: Who is tolerant?

Well, here’s the surprise: It’s actually those “scary” right-wingers that the media and the universities demonize every day.

I speak from personal experience.

Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment here, but I still consider myself a liberal. And it’s my duty as a liberal to say what I think.

I would rather stand for what I believe and be hated than bow down and be loved.

The left, sadly, has become utterly intolerant of anyone with whom they disagree. Why? Because they believe that they know how you should live and how you should think. Any deviation, any non-conformity, is dangerous to that goal.

Believe it or not, the right, these days, actually welcomes diversity of thought.

I can tell you that in the last few years of my political evolution, I’ve consistently found conservatives to be tolerant and open-minded. Don’t take my word for it, though. Test it out for yourself. Go talk to some. They do exist, and they do things like watch movies, travel, and eat ethnic food—you know, regular people things.

You know what I found out?

The right, much more than the left, believes in the notion of “live and let live.” And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the true definition of tolerance.

I'm Dave Rubin, of The Rubin Report, for Prager University.

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