Offensive tolerance

Dennis Prager says one of the distinguishing characteristics of liberals is that they are so easily offended.

With the acknowledgment that there are many individual exceptions, a major defining characteristic of modern-day liberalism is the ease with which liberals take offense personally and/or on behalf of others.

Liberals regularly portray as offended women, African Americans, Jews, American Indians, gays and every other group liberals declare a minority, i.e., any group that votes Democrat — no group that votes Republican, such as Mormons, Cuban Americans and Vietnamese Americans, is considered a “minority.” All other groups are constantly warned that almost anything they say that is not patronizing of those groups is offensive (and therefore subject to litigation).

[C]onservatives are so used to being labeled as stupid, bigoted, ignorant, racist, homophobic, sexist, insensitive and intolerant that it is almost impossible to offend them. Moreover, the culture does not allow them to feel offended, since they are not an officially designated minority.

Yep, exactly.

Perhaps the key virtue espoused by the Left today is tolerance. A few weeks ago, while lazily flipping television channels, I came across a liberal speaker on CSPAN who found it incredible that Bill Bennett managed to assemble his entire “Book of Virtues” without including a chapter on tolerance. To liberals, she said, this was simply unthinkable.

The problem is that what the Left practices isn’t tolerance at all; it is intolerance in the name of tolerance. The Boy Scouts’ use of a public park that they spent millions of dollars improving is not to be tolerated on the grounds that the Scouts are so “intolerant” as to expect their members to actually embrace the principles upon which the Scouts were founded.

Christmastime must be referred to as “the holidays,” to show “tolerance” to those with minority beliefs. But it’s somehow unacceptable to ask those minorities to show a little tolerance in allowing the vast majority who celebrate the holiday to actually call it by its name. Speaking as a non-Christian, I find the Left’s rendering of “tolerance” highly intolerant and—well–offensive.

Tolerance is a two-way street. It is the duty of the majority to protect the rights of minorities to differ. But minorities have a duty also–a duty to recognize that they live in the majority culture. By definition, their right to swim against the current requires them to accept that their swim will be more difficult. And so their need to exercise tolerance of the customs of the majority is greater still.

More: John Leo has a column on the subject [via Betsy]

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