I confronted someone recently. I spoke honestly. I was candid.
Maybe I was even a bit harsh. I didn’t pull punches. My goal was not to comfort but to challenge. Frankly, tolerance wasn’t on my mind; truth was. And, what was my friend’s response? “I don’t feel loved.”
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of decades, it’s hard to deny that the basic values that once served as the foundation of our republic have vanished like dust in the wind. The essential virtues that, just yesterday, formed the bedrock of our free society have crumbled. The relentless attack of the culture warriors has not left one stone unturned. We now live in a house built upon the shifting sands of emotional subjectivity rather than the solid rock of what is factual and true.
Ours is a “Twilight Zone” where everything is defined by the way we “feel” rather than the way things actually “are.”
One of the casualties of this disregard for objectivity is the virtue of Christian charity, otherwise known as love.
Today it’s assumed that love is a “feeling” rather than a fact. In the progressive mind, love is, as Tina Turner told us some 35 years ago, “nothing but a second-hand emotion.” The millennial definition of love is watered down to the ebbs and flows of the way one feels. Our culture’s present understanding of love has suffered the arrogance of the original sin: the relentless quest to supplant God and redefine everything in our own image.
Love, in our post-modern times, is now synonymous with tolerance and tolerance with love. Today, the two words essentially mean the same thing. They are interchangeable. If you love me, you will tolerate me because I can’t possibly be wrong. If you don’t tolerate me — if you don’t make me feel good about myself — then you don’t love me.
But any cursory review of the terms love and tolerance proves they are not the same. In fact, they are antithetical to one another. They are antonyms. They are exact opposites.
In my new book, “Grow Up! Life Isn’t Safe but It’s Good” (due for release on April 13), I offer the following:
“To tolerate someone does not mean you even care about them, let alone love them. I didn’t send my wife an ‘I tolerate you’ card on Valentine’s Day, and there’s a reason. It wouldn’t have ended well. Tolerance is an inferior virtue. Tolerance says, ‘Not only do I not love you, I really don’t care about you. Do what you want.” Love, on the other hand, is a superior virtue. It says, ‘I care deeply about you, enough to tell you to stop.’ Whereas tolerance couldn’t care less, love cares a great deal. We don’t send ‘I tolerate you’ cards to those we love.”
I go on to add,
“Furthermore, tolerance, as it is currently practiced, is self-refuting. Not only is it the opposite of love, but it’s also a lie. Progressive tolerance is, frankly, little more than a self-congratulating, virtue-signaling, one-way street. It is extended only to those that the woke and the righteous deem tolerable. The leaders of the Left are so ‘tolerant’ that they feel compelled to dismiss, if not completely shut down, any ideas that challenge their own.
“Their ‘tolerance’ is on full display as they shamelessly tell conservative Christians and observant Jews that they will not be tolerated. These cultural high priests of ‘tolerance’ are so intolerant that they literally cancel the likes of Ben Shapiro, Dennis Prager, Candace Owens, and anyone else, like Tucker Carlson and Greg Gutfeld, who just want to engage in a healthy debate.”
Today’s tolerance movement is a joke. Its fixation on feelings means it must endlessly redefine itself by adding to its list of acceptable and unacceptable words, attitudes and beliefs. It also must constantly change the definition of its very words to fit the newest emotional fad. Every day brings new rules and restrictions regarding what you are allowed to think and say. Every day brings a new definition of something that just yesterday was assumed to be an objective fact.
At its core, progressive tolerance is about authority and control. It is little more than a thinly veiled exercise in emotional power. Like something out of Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” any free thought is viewed as a threat to the accepted narrative and the rule of the gang.
So, the word for the day is tolerance, and the charge for our time is this — Please stop it! Stop tolerating people and start loving them. Christian charity demands it. Someone who truly loves another cares enough to say they disagree, especially if they are convinced the other party is wrong. Love doesn’t just tolerate bad ideas and behaviors. Love confronts them. Love understands that the facts don’t care about your feelings.
• Everett Piper (dreverettpiper.com, @dreverettpiper), a columnist for The Washington Times, is a former university president and radio host. He is the author of “Not a Daycare: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth” (Regnery). His new book, “Grow Up: Life Isn’t Safe, But It’s Good,” is due for release on April 13, 2021.