Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Mumon's Introduction to Tolerance (Part I)

Jordan Scopa asks:

If we truly believe in our truest hearts that our way of life is morally superior to the way of life of other people, then do we not have the right or duty to suppress their way of life in favor of our own?

Well, first of all, how do you distinguish your truest heart from your more false ones?

Secondly, I'm not sure that my "way of life" is morally superior to others, and regardless of whether or not it is, if they adopted my way of life, it wouldn't be my way of life. And if I adopted Scopa's way of life, it wouldn't be Scopa's way of life- nor my life. In fact, my way of life cannot be imposed. As for others' ways of life? We might be able to suppress another's way of life, but I don't think we can actually encourage successful imposition of another's way of life. Look how well doing this has worked in Africa, India, Ireland, ... If you want to promote insincerity and "bad faith" in the existential sense, Scopa's hit on the perfect plan for that.

I'm reminded of Rilke's remark about why he didn't want to be psychoanalyzed: He said if his demons were to leave him, his angels might, too. Given the history the attempts in this regard, usually the angels leave and the demons stay. Best to leave people to themselves to own their way of life. You'd think that would be a "conservative" position. It actually is in some places. But it's increasingly a "liberal" position today. Regardless, we should stand for tolerance because we know what happens when we don't: buckets of blood are involved.

Joe Carter shills for intolerance, too, here.

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