26 Mar 2017

Philosophy Professor Writes: “Tolerance Is Not the Goal”

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Alan Levinovitz is (God help America!) an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at James Madison University.

Rod Dreher was appalled.

that a Stanford and University of Chicago-trained philosophy and religion professor (who holds an M.Div) believes that the proper way to address Charles Murray’s arguments is by shouting them down. Let the record show that a Stanford-and-Chicago-trained philosophy and religion professor believes that we should not allow the arguments of C.S. Lewis — C.S. Lewis! — to be heard, because people might come to believe them. And let the record show that this did not appear in a magazine of the radical left, but in a center-left publication owned by Jeff Bezos, one of the richest and most powerful men in the world.

Alan Levinovitz declared in Slate that Tolerance is not the goal, “the truth” of which he personally happens to be in possession of is.

Progress today depends, as it always has, on the refusal to tolerate falsehood and immorality. In certain circumstances proper intolerance will demand reasoned discourse; in others it will demand shouting and breaking the law. We may disagree about how to fight for what’s right, but that disagreement should come in the context of recognizing our proud participation in a long, necessary history of virtuous intolerance. Only then can we hope to defend truth unfettered by hypocrisy and self-contradiction.

Back in the 1950s, when supporting Totalitarianism was looked upon as reprehensible by normal ordinary Americans, the Left cried out for Tolerance. We still hear constantly about the horrors of McCarthyism and the national reign of terror in which a small number of disloyal radicals faced social and professional disapproval for supporting an aggressive alien ideology that 37,000 Americans had recently laid down their lives to oppose in Korea. In those days, the University of California at Berkeley prohibited the on-campus distribution of Communist propaganda and used the laws of trespass to exclude outside agitators.

The Left responded with the so-called Free Speech Movement of 1964-1965 demanding Tolerance. The Left got its tolerance for political agitation, propagandizing, and on-campus organization and recruiting, and a half century later the Left owns all the campuses. Now, the necessity and desirability of Tolerance is over. All of which proves that the fainting liberals of the 1950s and ’60s who were moved by the Left’s hypocritical please for tolerance were simply suckers.

4 Feedbacks on "Philosophy Professor Writes: “Tolerance Is Not the Goal”"


It is exactly because they cannot prove Murray’s arguments wrong that they must shout him down. Just as it is exactly because they cannot prove AGW that they must shout down any dissent on that as well.

Soren Kierkaagard

At a certain level, I have to agree. If you possess Truth, one does not water it down with obvious falsehood. The issue at hand isn’t tolerance, but what is Truth. Many a good holy war has been unleashed along these lines.

Seattle Sam

The same people who mock “truth by edict” from the Church, support it from guys like this?

JK Brown

Sounds familiar

“The Social Democrats were democratic only so long as they were not the ruling party; that is, so long as they still felt themselves not strong enough to suppress their opponents by force. The moment they thought themselves the strongest, they declared themselves— as their writers had always asserted was advisable at this point— for dictatorship. Only when the armed bands of the Rightist parties had inflicted bloody defeats on them did they again become democratic “until further notice.” Their party writers express this by saying: “In the councils of the social democratic parties, the wing which declared for democracy triumphed over the one which championed dictatorship.” ”

“Of course, the only party that may properly be described as democratic is one that under all circumstances— even when it is the strongest and in control— champions democratic institutions.”

Mises, Ludwig von (1927). Liberalism


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