A Plea For Less Tolerance.
Tolerance annoys me. The word, I mean. It annoys me when politicians claim Britain to be the most ‘tolerant’ nation in the world. Or when they appeal for more ‘tolerance’ of other cultures, other beliefs.
It’s just that I don’t think ‘tolerant’ is the right word. Because it’s synonymous with ‘putting up with’. Pretending not to mind something when you do. After all, to tolerate means to endure.
I mean, I’d say I’m quite tolerant towards people playing their music too loud on their headphones. It irritates the hell out of me and the only consolation is that they are doing irreparable damage to their ears – which I will no doubt have to pay to have treated on the NHS out of my taxes – but I can put up with it. Just as I might tolerate someone smoking or believing in astrology.
It’s the implication that things which are ‘tolerated’ are somehow negative or abnormal which gets me. We don’t ‘tolerate’ people having blue eyes. If someone likes toast, you don’t say they’re ‘tolerant’ towards heated bread.
I wouldn’t say I am tolerant towards homosexyness, or race, colour or creed. I am completely indifferent. I wouldn’t say I was disinterested but only because people might confuse that with being uninterested. It’s all the same to me. Colour, sexual preference, gender, not something I have to ‘endure’ or ‘put up with’. Something I couldn’t frankly give a shit about either way, to be honest. And I find the whole idea of racism a ridiculously laughable nonsense.
Oh, I suppose ‘tolerance’ is a step in the right direction. Better people pretend not to mind things if they do mind them. Because then, only then, can Britain hope to become the most indifferent nation in the world.