Saturday, December 17, 2016

Tolerance, Inclusion, Diversity Mean Nothing Without Clear Principles

Three terms are turning into the basis for political discourse and legitimacy in our times.

1. Tolerance.

2. Inclusion

3. Diversity

Yet these terms are losing their theme and value precisely because they have turned into pre-eminent virtues, ends in themselves, goals which everyone must abide by or be rejected. This approach, however, ignores the unintended consequences of political force attached to them. What does it mean to be tolerant, if those who do not agree with  you lose their jobs or lose opportunities to speak out on issues?

Let's look at Tolerance:

Pastor Jim Marguerite of Faith Community Church (West Covina) taught me an important principle about "tolerance."

"You have to believe in something, you have to have real backbone and stand for what you believe in, in order to be tolerant."

My father explained a similar distinction on this issue. "Tolerance" does not mean acceptance, nor does it mean that I have to welcome or promote a set of values or ideas in order to be tolerant. Even Jacques Derrida, the left-leaning Deconstruction philosopher, readily pointed out that tolerance does not create a radical equality of any kind in our society.

Tolerance cannot be a virtue without other virtues. Certain ideologies do not recognize tolerance of any kind. Islam stands out as a key example. What are essential values which apply to everyone? When those issues are determined, then tolerance is possible. As long as the natural rights of all individuals remains protected, then there is nothing to fear for those whose views are not dominant or mainstream in any society.

Tolerance is a Christian virtue. For tolerance to flourish, a respectful adherence to Christian principles is essential. Every human being has eternal value, is designed to bear the image of God. Individual have a right to freedom of speech, the press, to self-preservation, and to determine their own courses of success and/or destiny.

These values all fall within the Judeo-Christian ethic.

Now, individuals who do not share these views are entitled to them, but they must respect that everyone has these rights, and that they cannot be infringed or violated.

So ... tolerance as a value cannot exist without a comprehensive embrace of Judeo-Christian ones. Otherwise, tolerance becomes a masquerade in the public sphere, and a mask to persecute those who do not agree. In fact, tolerance is turning into a cudgel of intolerance.

All to justify "inclusion".

The name of this game--inclusion--is to ensure that no one is "excluded", marginalized, or made to feel like an "other."

Yet ironically, the more power and force applied to ensure inclusion, the greater the divides, the more pronounced the sense of exclusion. Consider the transgenderism agenda. Stores and some states have enacted a policy allowing biological men to enter women's bathrooms, even though such a measure puts women at risk. Women at a Washington State swimming pool objected to a male entering into their locker area to change, but the law which had just passed by the state legislature permitted this to happen!

The Target Corporation announced a transgender policy to allow customers to use the dressing rooms and bathrooms which conform with their gender identity rather than their biology. Instead of creating a more inclusive environment, however, these policies have de facto excluded the vast majority of people who are now threatened, placed at risk because of these dangerous policies. Ignoring distinctions in the name of inclusion has sharpened distinctions terribly, and at great cost to the individual integrity of young men and women.

The secular war on Christmas is another push for inclusion, based on the idea that people are easily offended and feel left out because they do not celebrate the holiday. So now it's a point of shame to wish someone a Merry Christmas? The rigid resistance to saying "Merry Christmas" to anyone creates a sense of exclusion. Why should anyone refrain from speaking what they feel for fear of someone else's feelings? Besides, saying "Merry Christmas" is not an intrusion.

Inclusion based on fantasy or fraud is a determined path to more exclusion and destruction. Inclusion based on shame and dishonor creates more exclusion. That is also wrong.

Then the last value, preempting a destruction of values: diversity.

Diversity of what kind? Why does requiring a recognition of everything make a different? Why does it matter? Differences of opinion do exist, but to demand that every opinion be recognized, with no final determinant for truth ... that is useless as well as abusive.

Points of view, ideological distinctions, anything which posits a final set of "intangible verities" is now roundly condemned. How can anyone distinguish one set of ideas from another without any clear distinctions of right and wrong, good and bad, poor and rich? The cultural Marxism of the university, bridled with the term "openness" has led to a less open, less diverse community. If there is no pursuit or reverence for truth, then diversity cannot hold.

Now let's get specific about the clear principles that matter.

1. Western Civilization is true repository of learning, depth, truth, expansion of liberty and wealth.
2. Freedoms of speech, self-preservation, and national sovereignty surpass the limited and even destructive customs of other cultures.
3. The Gospel, the foundation of Judeo-Christian values, form the backbone and foundation of Western Civilization and culture.
4. Learning means a dedication to a designed order, one which can be discerned and understood.
5. Understanding and growth are based on a voluntary association and transaction of ideas, not the threat of force, coercion, or death.

Diversity, Tolerance, and Inclusion are turning into meaningless, Orwellian tropes to create the opposite of what the words intend.

There can be no diversity without liberty to think.

There can be no inclusion--which matters--without a commitment to the values which prize key aspects of every human being, and reject the values and agendas which harm everyone while benefiting a few.

Tolerance--this is the most abuse word. A restive intolerance has become the norm, specifically in more liberal circles, which claim to embrace all three ideas enumerated above.

The implications of this argument will follow.


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