In the growing politics of censorship, “tolerance” and “intolerance” are two popular keywords. As many keywords, they are vague, applied to people and and views one dislikes, or, forgive me, is intolerant against. The frequent relativity and dishonesty in the use of “/in/tolerance” are quite often seen counteracted with Popper’s Paradox of Intolerance, which has even sort of turned into an Internet meme. I recently learnt of the poem The Angry Man by Phyllis McGinley, which is more poetic(!), witty and even sarcastic than Popper. Laughing is healthy, too 🙂
I would like to show it here but I am not sure that is allowed (is it quoting or republishing?), but it can be found readily on the web, e.g. here.
It is most fitting for today, except that “liberty” is not the call of the “tolerant”, but “values”, which fits better with the crony capitalism. Anti-values are “intolerance” and “hate”, another rubber band (and emotional strings pulling) concept. Funny how the calls for values (at least here in Sweden) is so relativistic. But that’s what vague and flexible concepts are good for.
Now, Popper I have only seen used as an argument against naive and/or relativistic tolerance of criminal, totalitarian and other truly extreme world views and actions. But I wouldn’t be surprised if someone twisted it into support for the current trends of censorship and anti-free-speech.