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Why Tolerance Alone Will Never Build A Just Society

Why Tolerance Alone Will Never Build A Just Society

Why do we need tolerance? The glib answer is that it is necessary in a society where conflict, racism, sexism, and ageism make life miserable for many people.

Let us look first at what tolerance means. It means putting up with something that you do not agree with or are not comfortable with.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, tolerance is:

“The disposition to be patient with or indulgent to the opinions or practices of others; freedom from bigotry or undue severity in judging the conduct of others; forbearance.”

When we tolerate something like pain, noisy neighbors, insects, or awful weather, then those things are almost despised. Is that how we want to treat our human brothers and sisters too?

When people say they are tolerant, watch out — this is not the whole story!

“I learned that very often the most intolerant and narrow-minded people are the ones who congratulate themselves on their tolerance and open-mindedness.” — Christopher Hitchins

Tolerance is needed more than ever before

We all know that violence and persecution have resulted in a massive humanitarian problem, creating an unprecedented number of refugees. One in every 122 human beings on planet earth is now a refugee thanks to upheavals and wars in many countries throughout the Middle East and Africa. Again, tolerance is not enough, it must go deeper and be much more active, as Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary General, has so rightly stated.

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“Our practice of tolerance must mean more than peaceful co-existence, crucial as that is. It must be an active understanding fostered through dialogue and positive engagement with others.” — Ban Ki-Moon.

This must be the answer as we witness the onslaught of intolerance, hatred, and violence against immigrants. Donald Trump exploits ignorance and fear to gain votes in his electoral campaign. He never uses the word “tolerance.” Tolerance can also mean that poor people should stay in their ghettos and not get too close to the rich!

Tolerance is not enough — we also need acceptance and mutual understanding.

Tolerance is not enough — it must include acceptance. It also means learning about and understanding other people who may be different in race, faith, or sexual orientation. All too often, under the guise of multiculturalism, we are merely saying that we will tolerate people who are different provided they pretend to be just like us.

“Our tolerance is part of what makes Britain Britain. So conform to it, or don’t come here.” — Tony Blair, UK Prime Minister (1997-2007)

Now, wouldn’t it have been much better if the British Prime Minister had urged us to celebrate the differences of others, co-operate, and collaborate with each other to build a better society?

Tolerance is not enough — we need to build an equal society

The world-famous philosopher Slavoj Zizek is well known for his controversial views on life and society. He has been nominated as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy Journal, and the International Journal Of Zizek Studies is dedicated to his scholarly work and writing.

Zizek often points out that Martin Luther King never used the word tolerance.

 “For him (and he was right) it would have been an obscenity to say white people should learn to tolerate us more.” — Slavoj Zizek

There was no request for people to get along or be tolerant. The Civil Rights Movement was demanding economic equity. It was no accident King finished his speech with the words, “We’re here to cash a check.”

“Why are so many problems today perceived as problems of intolerance, rather than as problems of inequality, exploitation, or injustice? Why is the proposed remedy tolerance, rather than emancipation, political struggle, or even armed struggle?” — Slavoj Zizek, Living in the End Times

Understanding is not enough. Multiculturalism is not the easy solution either. No society has really solved how different cultures can co-exist and what rules they can share if this is to be a successful model. Mere tolerance is not enough; we have to build an emancipated society where equal rights are really practiced and respected. We can start by showing how we accept and love others in our everyday lives. As humans, we innately crave love.

“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.” — Mother Teresa

Featured photo credit: Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial — Washington (DC) March 2012/ Ron Cogswell via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Freelance writer

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Last Updated on October 18, 2018

50+ Best Motivational Quotes To Prepare You For Any Challenges In Life

50+ Best Motivational Quotes To Prepare You For Any Challenges In Life

Life is filled with highs and lows —happiness and struggles that will test your resilience and integrity, push you to overcome challenges and leave you with lessons that will make you even stronger on your way up.

It’s the way you feel and think about yourself, including your expectations and beliefs about what is possible to you, greatly determines everything that happens to you.

It all starts with your thoughts. When you change your thoughts, you transform the quality of your life. (Right, Nancy’s story is a typical example!)

Below is a list of the best motivational quotes to inspire you to start your day with a blast:

Quotes for self-assurance

1. Don’t downgrade your dream just to fit your reality, upgrade your conviction to match your destiny.

    2. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.

      3. You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.

        4. The man who has confidence in himself gains the confidence of others

          5. You attract what you are, not what you want. If you want great, then be great.

            6. It’s not who you are that holds you behind, it’s who you think your are not.

              Quotes about positivity

              7. Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and think of what could go right.

                8. You should never regret anything in life. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it is experience.

                  9. Falling down is an accident, staying down is a choice.

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                    10. If you have the power to make someone happy, do it. The world needs more of that.

                      11. Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.

                        12. Don’t be afraid to give up the good and go for great.

                          13. Remember that life’s greatest lessons are usually learned from worst times and from the worst mistakes.

                            Quotes for work and success

                            14. Don’t talk, just act. Don’t say, just show. Don’t promise, just prove.

                              15. Never stop doing great just because someone doesn’t give you credit.

                                16. Discipline is doing what needs to be done, even if you don’t want to.

                                  17. Work while they sleep. Learn while they party. Save while they spend. Live like they dream.

                                    18. The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire, not things we fear.

                                      19. Never apologize for having high standards, people who really want to be in your life will rise to meet them.

                                        20. If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.

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                                          21. Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it, time will pass anyway.

                                            22. Don’t fear failure. Fear being in the exact same place next year as you are today.

                                              23. A hill is just another opportunity to leave your competition behind.

                                                24. Don’t quit. You’re already in pain. You’re already hurt. Get a reward from it.

                                                  25. Hustle until you no longer need to introduce yourself.

                                                    26. You didn’t come this far only to come this far.

                                                      27. Be selective in your battles for sometimes peace is better than being right.

                                                        28 If we keep doing what we are doing, we’re going to keep getting what we’re getting.

                                                          29. You will never know your limits until you push yourself to them.

                                                            30. Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.

                                                              31. The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.

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                                                                32. If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough.

                                                                  33. If you can’t handle stress, you won’t manage success.

                                                                    34. Don’t be pushed by your problems, be led by your dreams.

                                                                      35. Don’t mistake silence for weakness. Smart people don’t plan big moves out loud.

                                                                        36. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

                                                                          37. Obsessed is the word the lazy use to describe dedicated.

                                                                            38. You become who you spend your time with.

                                                                              39. Be stubborn about your goals and flexible about your methods.

                                                                                40. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

                                                                                  41. If you don’t build your dreams, someone else will hire you to build theirs.

                                                                                    42. Between stimulus and response is our greatest power –the freedom to choose.

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                                                                                      43. What comes easy won’t last, what lasts won’t come easy.

                                                                                        44. Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits.

                                                                                          45. Work until your idols become your rivals.

                                                                                            Quotes about money

                                                                                            46. Formal education will make you a living. Self-education will make you a fortune.

                                                                                              47. I create new enemies every day, it’s called business.

                                                                                                48. When you have a Million Dollar vision, don’t surround yourself with 1 cent minds.

                                                                                                  49. You can’t get rich thinking poor.

                                                                                                    50. Doing what is comfortable is rarely profitable.

                                                                                                      51. If you can count your money, work harder.

                                                                                                        If you find yourself feeling lost and frustrated, it’s never too late to change things up. Check out this guide:

                                                                                                        How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

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