Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Tolerance; The Canadian Ideal

Roughneck Philosophy

Recently I spent a night locked up in a Grande Prairie motel. The rig was landed and the boys were off to get drunk. So there I was alone, watching TV and drinking warm beer. But enough about me, the television is where this story starts. The channel eventually wound up on a CBC documentary that sought to define Canadian culture. The usual elites were rounded up and sat down to give their feedback on this controversial topic: the Atwoods, Suzukis, Ardens, Mansbridges, and Izzy Asper journalists, combined with a consortium of “democratic” opinions – these are coffee shop sitters, social activists and bus drivers. It was a Canadian spectacle! Everyone sat calmly in oversized Victorian chairs with warm light shining downward from outside the camera, lighting the speakers face, giving them credibility and wisdom. And true to form they spoke eloquently about Canada and it people. Our culture was anything but vague to our intellectual elites. We were defined by our tolerance, a sentiment repeated over and over again by every intellectual questioned. “Canada is recognized for its tolerance” or “our commitment to the virtue of tolerance is what separates us morally from the United States”.
The intellectuals and cultural elite sung a Trudeaupia’n gospel proclaiming tolerance as a defining Canadian value. What made Canadians Canadian was our common aspiration for increasing tolerance. First, let us examine other virtues that people claim or aspire too. If a country was defined culturally by its honesty, it would be a place where citizens would be consistently honest, regardless of the consequences. Spouses would tell wives when there dresses were unflattering and employees would have an uncommon knack for always being brutally frank with their employers. It would be considered a cultural atmosphere of frankness and honesty. For Canadians this defining virtue is tolerance, which equally means that we make our most sincere commitment to tolerance. Tolerance as defined by the Canadian Oxford dictionary: a willingness or ability to accept or allow without protest or irritation.
Before I argue against tolerance being declared our national identity, I want to discuss the opposite of tolerance; discrimination. Discrimination is the end result of an active process known as discerning. To discern means to judge the worth between competing values, and this is achieved through the mental process of comparison and value ascribing. For example, every individual must decide between career choices, education opportunities and even mating partners. At one point in history, through the innovation of fire, man chose to cook his food over eating it raw. This was achieved by weighing the pros and cons of the two competing values; eating raw food as compared to cooked food. Raw food was more efficient to eat, but caused more sickness compared to food prepared with fire, which tasted better and was safer to eat, but took more time, energy and labor resources to prepare. Though fire building was troublesome, most eventually chose to cook their meat, or said differently discriminate against uncooked food. The ability to discern between abstract values is what separates man from the lower animals and to the extent we properly discriminate is what separates successful humans from not successful humans.
Claiming tolerance as Canada’s defining virtue says what makes Canadians distinctively Canadian is our refusal to discriminate or judge. Claiming the refusal to discern as a virtue is in effect an attack against the practice of holding values in the first place. It makes holding values naïve and foolish when your moral base is biased against ascribing higher conviction or more significance to certain values over others. Tolerance seeks to dismiss the human practice of using our minds to judge and quantify. Tolerance, as a virtue, says there’s no difference between good and evil, that there’s no such thing as right or wrong. It seeks to destroy the importance of the individual mind. It says the mind is incapable of making rational objective judgments, that people are unable to use reason and debate to cooperatively fix human problems, so we must equally tolerate all ideas and things. Making tolerance our moral base makes being Canadian synonymous with believing in nothing; a docile complacent beaver.
Now I know the liberals and activists out there are mired in a huff and I’ve probably been labeled as a racist, bigot and reactionary, due to my insistence at promoting discrimination. Their perceptually wired brains are awash giving examples of how discrimination affects people personally. They are saying “racists are in the business of discriminating, that discrimination only divides society, that discrimination was the catalyst for nationalism.” They say “the mandate for a progressive society is to rid itself of discrimination”. But this is untrue. A civilized man instead seeks to refine and sharpen his ability to discriminate. To discriminate better and more articulately, for instance I refuse to discriminate on racial basis, but in refusing to discriminate on the basis of race recognize that I’m still discriminating against racist values and the people that hold them. People that preach unabashed tolerance are only discriminating against values and the people that hold them.
And now the neophytes have circled their wagons and admitted that everyone discriminates sometimes, but that I’m taking the virtue out of context and confusing its real meaning, but I want to leave you with one final example of our cultivated tolerance manifesting itself practically. Liberals, during Trudeaumania created the philosophical bankrupt hippy doctrine of absolute tolerance, and yet just last election Liberals routinely called conservatives un-Canadian when they presented any alternative solutions to Canadian problems. Harper was scandalized as being un-Canadian without the merit of the issue even being tackled. Their tolerance, like all other values is in effect a preference, and that preference is for statist liberal values over conservative individualist values. Citizens, through the liberal propaganda of tolerance, have admitted the faulty in discernment, and consequently given the government responsibility over our powers of assessment. We’re a country which lets liberals think for us, and the liberals, so intellectually diverse, are a group that evaluates ideas on their origin instead of their merit. Liberal tolerance is an intellectually and morally bankrupt ideology based upon the inclusion of faithful members and the exclusion of outside ideas. Our institutionalized tolerance has left citizens without confidence in values, and our entrenched absolute faith and reliance on government paternalism is more than enough proof in that.


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