As stated in the preceding post, we have taken upon ourselves the exercise of a felt responsibility to closely analyze and evaluate, frequently used, but possibly misapprehended, words. In post 270, we sought to resurrect the downplayed and unappreciated noun “repetition” and its adjectival cousin, “repetitive”; the latter customarily summoning up the image of an unprepared, or boring speaker, but in contrast, representing a universal, vital, even existential, phenomenon. As stated, the inspiration for the previous post, having been the experience of being at the seaside and again observing the reiterative movement of the ocean.

In the present note, in keeping with our chosen responsibility, we seek to explore and closely analyze the popularly used, and much lauded, word “tolerance.” The innocent and well -intended perception  the word, ordinarily signifies the commendable quality of understanding and even- handed attitude towards  “others”. For this reason, prior to the expression of our unorthodox remarks regarding such popularly laudable term, we would ask the reader to kindly withhold his reaction to what may be perceived as an injudicious or unorthodox evaluation of the word.

To get immediately to the point, we feel that the only word in the American-English lexicon worse than the word, “tolerant,” is the word, “intolerant.”

A summary consensus of consulted sources, describes the meaning of “tolerant,” as amounting to the fair, objective and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, beliefs, practices, race*and ethnos are different from one’s own. Sounds acceptable, but it is not nearly acceptable enough.

We most strenuously object to the use of the language which signifies forbearance, and the unabashed presumption expressed the basic concept. A necessary corollary to the definition (and use) of the word, is the implied assumption, that such a “tolerant” person has the (social or political) standing, or implicit  authority, to discretionarily grant or withhold, such permission or forbearance, but, in fact, refrains from denial of such grace because he is virtuous. At the very best, it can have a modicum of value if seen as a preliminary step toward the goal, which is acceptance, albeit clumsy and presumptuous.

The word encompasses unjustified and undeserved self-praise, earned by such forbearance; it is inarguably arrogant, unattractively self-satisfying and clearly bigoted. Put in simple terms. The word is understood to denote right thinking but does not. We may well need another vocabulary word.

There are no set standards for being or thinking, and no existing authority for their creation; therefore, there is no “other way.” Such a conception is at best, ignorant and ethnocentric, at worst, prejudiced. The term “tolerant” which necessarily encompasses the award or personal impression of self-praise for the withholding of action or criticism is arrogant and hubris, and amounts to implicit prejudice; in fact, it is worse than the despicable word “bigot,” which, at least, carries no undeserved illusion of self-praise.

The rational and hopefully attainable goal, is universal sincere and unhesitating mutual acceptance, if not firm friendship. Until the arrival of that remarkable day in the march towards mankind’s moral evolution, it would seem appropriate to extol those who practice right thinking, above those who exult in repressed bigotry.

*We have excised the word “race” from the plinyblog vocabulary; it is scientifically flawed, and is consistently used for unacceptable purposes.



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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

2 thoughts on “Post # 271    TOLERANCE, BADGE OF REPRESSED BIGOTRY”

  1. According to Donatien, Marquis de Sade : “tolerance is the virtue of the weaks”. Well well well, not sure sure, Monsieur le Marquis !
    Tolerance features two opposites attitudes: acceptance AND condemnation.
    – if what is tolerated is legitimate, then it shall not be tolerated but simply accepted, otherwise it is a denial of one’s rights
    – if what is tolerated is condemnable, then it should be fought not be tolerated

    Tolerance is the result of two opposites, the result of a moral elevation of the individual to overcome contradictory principles. Tolerance might just be the result of a higher level of self conscience. Do you Mister Pliny call that bigotery ?

    With much love from Paris


    1. The concept of tolerance is a self-serving personal reward for not disapproving. The pliny point is, ” By what authority are we vested with the power to approve or not? Tolerance presumes a moral choice, or authority to accept another different personor not. We have the right to be brothers, or not; but we should not maintain the arrogant potential choice of not approving, withold the claimed right of disapproval, and think that we are to be given credit


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