Quick Comment: Redefining Tolerance

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Flickr / Agent Provocateur

Nicholas Tyler
Staff Writer

Whenever someone complains about free speech and how Anti-fascist demonstrators shout down KKK or mace Neo-Nazis, consider whether extreme dedication to tolerance is really such a vice. If a group grounds its rhetoric in threats and violence, they have forfeited their rights to expression. They have declared themselves hostile to the very culture that defends such rights. Jelani Cobb for The New Yorker made the fair point that “Some of Trump’s opponents have said that they are waiting for a Reichstag fire—a false crisis that will be used to justify the Administration’s worst instincts. We have not yet encountered such a moment, but… no one should be in the business of providing this President with matches.” But that’s just the problem: a false crisis won’t need any scapegoats that weren’t already available. Resistance matters. If people want to stand up to blatant evil in public, and throw a few punches in the process, let’s not waste tears on the poor Nazis whose free speech has suffered.



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