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Liberals Suffer from Selective Tolerance Disorder

  • Liberals Suffer from Selective Tolerance Disorder

  • 3 June 2007 by 0 Comments

Liberals Suffer from Selective Tolerance Disorder
By Richard Larsen
Published – Idaho State Journal, 06/03/07

When losing an argument, simply make an accusation. This seems to be the modus operandi of many in today’s political environment. When presenting the concerns about the current immigration legislation before Congress, for example, all the arguer has to do is charge the opponent of the current open-borders policy with being a bigot, racist, or xenophobe. And regrettably, it frequently works. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have, after all, made careers of doing just that.
There was a time when liberals were recognized as being tolerant, open-minded, and logical.

Indeed, most definitions of liberal include references to tolerance and broad-mindedness. That time apparently is long gone. The same advocates of political correctness in the name of tolerance are among those who have absolutely no tolerance for people of faith, especially Christians, or anyone of a different mind-set on political issues. Yet these are they who claim to be more enlightened and more tolerant than the rest of us. If they are so enlightened, why is it that they cannot engage in debate without calling names, casting aspersions, or labeling their conservative opponent in pejorative terms? Perhaps they’re not that enlightened after all.

I think most of us on the right don’t expect those of opposing views to agree with us, or necessarily even respect our positions. But in the realm of ideas, emotion is the least desirable element to be invoked into the public discourse. Debating someone over the technical merits of legislation while they’re invoking emotional arguments is like arguing over potatoes and bananas. They have little in common and no clarity is achieved through a debate over their respective attributes. What we on the right strive for more than consensus is clarity; however that is impossible when the emotion card is played.

You’d never guess this based on my columns, but I’m slightly opinionated. I don’t expect everyone to agree with my perspective, though I believe they’re in alignment with most Idahoans, but I would hope others would be open-minded to my rationale. Do I hate those who don’t concur with me? Absolutely not. Those who are intellectually honest deserve my respect, even absent my agreement. But to hear the acrimonious diatribes launched against conservatives by those on the left, I think it’s pretty safe to say that not only do they not tolerate us, but they hate us.

I’m convinced that many on the left are smitten with a mental defect, something like selective tolerance disorder. Terrorists, criminals, law breakers, conspiracy theorist nuts, and sexual deviants are deserving of tolerance, but heaven forbid that tolerance be extended to anyone with a conservative ideology who argue a position based on logic rather than emotion.

The vituperation, intolerance, and abject hatred are painfully obvious. Illustrative examples abound. Ward Churchill, the mendacious Colorado professor travels around the country spewing his anti-American venom on college campuses to standing ovations. Yet the Minutemen, a group of vigilante-like citizens dedicated to assist in the protection of our borders get physically assaulted on college campuses. Vice President Cheney can’t even deliver a commencement address at BYU without drawing protestors. Jean Kirkpatrick, the brilliant former U.N Ambassador quit visiting university campuses years before she passed away because she couldn’t even deliver a speech without being heckled and verbally assaulted.
Even here locally, conservative bloggers on the Idaho State Journal websites are called virtually every name in the book because of their opposing views. By advancing a logical and cogent position on the illegal migration problem, we earn the scorn of leftists who think the issue should be approached emotionally instead of logically. They implement an untenable process of extrapolating racism and bigotry from rational arguments opposing open borders and amnesty.

This lack of tolerance is most obvious in the language utilized to describe opponents. I could have created a very nice stock portfolio if I just had a dollar for every time I’ve heard President Bush or Vice President Cheney referred to as “Nazis” over the past six years, or a dollar for the virtual quiver full of demeaning and hateful adjectives used to describe the administration or conservatives in general. Yet they claim conservatives are the ones who use “hate speech.” You’d think they’d realize a little culpability on their part. I think they suffer from the “I see the mote in your eye but I can’t see the beam in mine” syndrome. If we advance a cogent position which they oppose, we are the ones using hate speech because there may be perceived victims of our proposals. Yet they liberally use literal hate speech, and they are not culpable. Explain that one for me. If you really want to see how far the hate speech and intolerance of the left goes, check out any of the liberal “blogs” after Rev. Jerry Falwell died. Absolutely disgusting!

Even Christopher Hitchens, the secularist and author of “God is not Great” said in a New York Post interview, “More and more I find that those people are the real enemy intellectually. There’s no dishonesty like liberal dishonesty, just like there’s no intolerance like liberal intolerance. There’s nothing they won’t excuse and no excuse they won’t deploy. Their piety is a big aspect of that.”

It is obvious that the left has its own set of “values,” thought by them to be superior to any value system espoused by the right. And the highest value of all is emotion. Emotion trumps all others as the penultimate trait. One of the local bloggers is fond of quoting scripture for validation of his argument which is proper if we are genuinely seeking counsel on how to direct our personal lives. It is not, however, the canon for government operations. Christ taught us how to live our lives, and he showed us the way through his compassionate service. However, he did not use his doctrine of charity to take over the Sanhedrin and impose charity as the ruling doctrine for the small Roman vassal state. Largesse and magnanimity are admirable, even requisite, traits for individuals, but not for the government at the expense of taxpayers in a “rob Peter to pay Paul” redistribution scheme.

Despite all the platitudinous talk of being “tolerant” of peoples’ differences, “open-mindedness” has been rendered nothing more than empty rhetoric by liberals’ tendency to label all things conservative as “ignorant, racist, xenophobic, homophobic and extremist.” A little more actual tolerance and abandonment of the churlish politics of the left would go a long way in narrowing this ideological chasm the country is experiencing right now .

Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at

About the

More than anything, I want my readers to think. We're told what to think by the education establishment, which is then parroted by politicians from the left, and then reinforced by the mainstream media. Steeped in classical liberalism, my ideological roots are based in the Constitution and our founding documents. Armed with facts, data, and correct principles, today's conservatives can see through the liberal haze and bring clarity to any political discussion.

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