What are the limits of tolerance?

Can we reconcile “live and let live” with “drawing a line in the sand”?

 

Thor May
Adelaide, 2015

 

 

This page is an initial starter list for discussing the "Tolerance " topic. The page makes no special claim to quality, and additions are welcome. 

 

 

Basic contact links:

 

meetup group: http://www.meetup.com/Adelaide-Active-Thinking-Meetup/

 

topic suggestions: thormay@yahoo.com 

 

 

topics already discussed: http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/DiscussionTopics/DiscussionIndex.htm

 

comments: Thor May - thormay@yahoo.com ;

 

 

Thor's own websites:

1. articles at http://independent.academia.edu/ThorMay  ;

2. personal site: http://thormay.net [an ancient site with many byeways]

 


=>Reading list: go to the end of these notes

 

Comments on the topic by Thor:

 

Don't Make An Enemy Carelessly

by Aesop (c. 620-564 BC)

 

A boy was hunting for locusts.

He caught many locusts, but then almost picked up a scorpion by mistake.

The scorpion showed his sting, and warned the boy.

"If you picked me up," said the scorpion, "you would lose everything."

 

1. Introduction

Comfortable in every way, well-fed, secure, safe from fools and cheered by an amusing companion, I am a wonderfully tolerant person. I can even imagine tolerating someone like you, bobbing in an ocean of electronic friendship. The trouble is, things never work according to plan. My equanimity turns out to be less than perfect when confronted with bastardry in the wide world. Undermined by inept incompetents, double-crossed by predators who get all the luck, blocked at every turn by narcissists and garrotted by psychopaths, I struggle to raise a smile when the girl on the checkout chirps “have a nice day”.  OK, it’s not as bad as all that, is it, not most of the time. Or not unless your house in Damascus has suddenly become a bomb testing site.  Mostly we tolerate what we have to, or what we are paid to tolerate, and reserve the luxury of rudely drawing lines in the sand to warn off invading vermin only when we can get away with it.

 

2. Beyond personal habits of (in)tolerance

 

Tolerance3.jpg The wry complaints of the preceding paragraph are personal, self-indulgent and a pretty common outcome from learning to survive on Planet Earth. However, for those who are foolhardy enough to think about managing more than their own ill-humour, who find themselves planning and directing the lives of others, then it becomes necessary to think about larger patterns of behaviour in wider circles of people – work places, communities, cultures, countries – to see what might be tolerated, and where there are lines of prejudice or custom which even the best innovations cannot navigate easily. It is even necessary to think of what was gifted by biology, and what has been shaped by common social habits or institutional proscription.

 

3. Biological potentials for destructive intolerance

 

Biology is not a bad place to start thinking about tolerance since, although the mandates of physiological chemistry can be redirected sometimes, they can’t usually be ignored or eliminated. Tolerance is often an early casualty of poor physical or mental health amongst individuals and those around them. A large part of welfare and legal system budgets have to be directed to dealing with such chemically sourced breakdowns of tolerance and self-management.

There are other aspects of physiology which affect everyone at different stages of their lives, so not surprisingly customs, laws and institutions emerge to deal with the behaviour which arises from our life cycle. Take hormones for example. Hormones in young adults play a large part in setting boundaries on tolerance, especially when their carriers lack the kind of more cautious judgement which comes with experience. Following is something I wrote in 1995, while immersed in the gritty world of industrial training where I had some modest role in offering guidance to trades apprentices. Fashionable ideas about (untested) tolerance for this or that among the well-paid professional chattering classes was hard to find in this environment. I sensed a more elemental threat, a looming threat of cultural redundancy (e.g. from automation) to the futures of these young men, and knew in my bones that they could react in anarchic and destructive ways when denied a clear and respected pathway to adult security. This has happened throughout history, and a version of just such a demographic is now wreaking havoc in the Middle East and Central Africa. Anyway, here is what I wrote then:

Who Works? What Young Men Must Have 
12 March 1995 

 

Jobs have to be found for young men; the rest of us will get by. The first priority of every human society must be to engage the full time energies of its young males between the ages of fifteen and thirty, and in ways that will give them competitive sexual status, ways that don't turn pathological (as rites of passage are apt to do). This requirement for planned activity is not essentially economic, and is not ideological. It is an irreducible social fact driven by biological imperatives. A society which ignores the needs of men in the fifteen to thirty age group will be physically destroyed by these same men, and no sanction on earth will be able to contain them. Large fractions of American, trans-Caucasian, African and other culture-paradigms have already been eroded by just such a condition. The potential for creative power to turn destructive is not even fractionally as potent in any other social group, including young women of the same age. We ignore it at our peril. The getting of manhood is not a sufficient condition for a stable human society, but it is a biologically necessary condition.

 

4.  Intolerance as a cultural legacy

 

Another part of my chequered career as a TAFE teacher in the 1990s involved dealing with more mature immigrants, thrown onto the industrial scrap heap by the changing profile of the Australian economy, and cynically offered “retraining”.  Here is an extract from my diary about teaching just one such small group. It speaks volumes about barriers to adaptation and cultural tolerance.

Marrying Out - The New World Order? 
6 June 1997 

 

The scene is a small classroom in a run down city TAFE college, two Greek Cypriot ladies of about forty, a Chinese lady of reserved character and a Malaysian Chinese mechanic's apprentice who has joined the group for English practice. Oh, and a middle-aged Afghani lady with a degree in economics but rather limited English skills. 

The teacher opens by chatting to the Afghani lady about the strategic dilemma of the Taliban in Mazar-i-Sharif. She responds in animated detail. He quickly sketches a map, and they try to involve the others with some background information. There is stony indifference. They haven't a clue where Afghanistan is, and don't want to know. The Cypriots will talk about Cyprus as a village experience, the Chinese a little about a city in China. Their worlds are doggedly domestic. 

It is time to follow up the analysis of a newspaper article from the last lesson on mixed marriages. From an old news clipping we see that in 1988 about 75% of second generation immigrant marriages in Australia were across cultures. The teacher is interested to probe opinion on this matter. Feeling is rock solid that mixed marriages are a "bad thing". The class is genuinely surprised when the teacher demurs. Arguments for gradual cultural integration, the danger of ghettos and pogroms, the possibility of emerging new values as immigrant children live in a new environment, fall on deaf ears. They are vehemently opposed to their children marrying out. "Religion is the important thing", someone sums up. Puzzled, the teacher wonders aloud that six thousand years of this religion or that have not made any group better or worse than their fellows, but that religion has been the sword arm for any amount of persecution, including where they came from. Why should it be a barrier to new families in a new culture? "We don't want to talk about this", comes the firm reply. 

Apartheid is alive and well in the suburbs. Multiculturalism for these folk is not about sharing new experience, and growing. It is about encrusting the fossilized experience of old peasant cultures with armour plating, for survival in tiny enclaves in a foreign city. It is about deploying the old weapons of religious prejudice to fend off anything that might threaten a small, frightened self-image of what a "traditional" person should be. Pauline Hanson would understand immediately.

 

5. Reactions to intolerance

 

The ideal default attitude of a balanced individual, or a community at peace with itself might be “live and let live”. Some people, and some cultures, are better at this “live and let live” approach than others. When the cost of intolerance is low (say a parent bullying a child) then some kind of conflict may be more common. Also, familiarity breeds contempt. After all, the harder we look at anyone, the easier it is, usually, to notice their faults and quarrel with them. If the other guy has a gun you might take more care to be nice to him (this seems to be a popular American philosophy).

Faced with little green creatures from Mars bent on our destruction however, we might decide to put up with our unpleasant neighbour, Fred, and make a common cause against a more radical enemy. There is actually a very long tradition of both families and cultural  groups fighting like cats and dogs at home, but uniting when faced with a common enemy. At an international level this seems to be exactly what is happening among leaders in the United States, the European Union and Russia, at least for the moment, as they face off against Daesh in the Middle East (Kremlin Press Service, November 17 2015).

Daesh (the so-called Islamic State) is an extreme example of a group defining its identity on the basis of intolerance for all others, to the point of exterminating all others (see Wood 2015, Moghul 2015). By self-declaration, this groups wants to be viewed as a mortal threat to the rest of the human species. Their official philosophy is that the end of humanity is pending and they alone, Daesh, will be offered an eternal home in the heaven provided by their god; (what they will do when they get to this heaven, for never ending billions of years, is anybody’s guess). Anyway for the rest of us, tolerating such a formulation by Daesh would be foolish.

Back on earth though, the human reality is that recruits to Daesh, or something like it, cannot be simply vapourized with a few bombs. They will keep on coming, generation by generation, while the social and political conditions which give rise to them continue to exist. We have been down this track before. It is the long, long history of pogroms, wars, dispossession, genocide and millenarian movements (for example see the reading list Wikipedia entries on the Taiping Rebellion, and the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge). All religions themselves, as well as ideologies, by followers distinct from non-followers, automatically foster some level of intolerance. It is a matter of degree. Some recent research by Jean Decety et al (2015) claims to have shown that children inducted into religious belief become less and less altruistic, compared to children brought up with no religious belief. No doubt this will be hotly contested.

 

6. The withdrawal of tolerance

 

There is a distinction between deploying intolerance as a weapon (as Daesh and countless politicians have done) and withdrawing tolerance as a matter of self-preservation when faced with the intolerance of particular actors.

Withdrawing tolerance can take countless forms. It may be simply ending a friendship or a relationship. It may mean leaving a job. It may mean physical retaliation driven by disgust or fear or an urgent need to eliminate a source of intolerant hostility. The hard part of withdrawing tolerance is how to calibrate the response. Sometimes a brief flash of anger does the job. Yet anger can spiral out of control and result in damaging cycles of payback revenge, or in the case of nations, war. Between retaliatory violence and withdrawal, we can find a whole pantheon of responses. This is the human story, the stuff of novels and cinema tales. The judgements we make about these actions and reactions say much about what a culture, at some particular time in history, finds acceptable.

 

7. Racial and Cultural Tolerance

 

Human tribal groups and clans, even roaming bands, have always defined their identities by marking themselves off from competing groups. The same thing is found in other animal species. Originally it was usually about a dominant male claiming sexual privilege (and often still is), but as groups stabilized and cultural patterns became more elaborate, all kinds of in group / out groups rituals, procedures and beliefs came to arbitrate what was tolerated and what was not.

Most nation states are rather artificial and modern creations. Some, like Japan, are almost ethnically homogeneous and may strongly resist immigration from other cultural groupings.

Others states like Malaysia and Fiji are predominantly composed of only two or several distinctively separate, non-intermarrying ethnic groupings. This paradigm has a high potential for conflict if inflamed by populist politicians.

Some countries have a long history of “limited tolerance” where a majority has lived alongside certain minority groups for generations, where the minority for religious or other reasons confines itself to certain narrow roles and occupations, and does not intermarry. This was common to the Jewish European experience for example, and has historically resulted in violent pogroms when the larger society becomes stressed.

Some countries like Australia, the United States, Canada, and now many European states, have become nations of large scale immigration from many ethnic sources. My own country, Australia, is now home to over 200 ethnicities by origin. When I was born in 1945 the Australian population was over 97% Anglo-Celtic, with a 1-2% near-invisible remainder of culturally denigrated Australian Aborigines. The near-death experience of attempted Japanese invasion in World War II prompted a change in attitude from unexamined white racism to a “populate or perish” approach to cultural difference. The change was not instant. In 1947 the Australian Foreign Minister said in parliament that “I can promise the Australian people that we will never have a chocolate coloured Australia”. He was simply a man of his time who believed that what we now call “multiculturalism” was simply impractical. There are plenty of people who still think that way (not least amongst immigrants themselves), but in fact assisted by a generation of economic prosperity, the multicultural process has worked pretty well.

 

8. Personal transitions to tolerance and intolerance

 

Big picture descriptions of cultural or racial intolerance in particular countries really conceal very wide individual differences. The legislative and political permission given to public attitudes of tolerance or intolerance does have important effects. Nevertheless in even the most racially hostile jurisdictions there are lots of individuals who think and act in very tolerant ways, sometimes under duress. In the most open of societies, there will always be bigots who sometimes express themselves violently. This is one reason that the “countries of the imagination” which we assemble from news media typically have little to do with the real experience of living in a country. The modern phenomenon of mass tourism creates a counter-image to the news cycle since tourists believe they have seen a “real” country. What they have mostly seen is a constructed experience, weighted towards the positive, where host populations are paid for their tolerance and smiles.

The experience of invaders, immigrants, refugees, expatriate workers, and sometimes students is a more severe test of coming to terms with radically different cultures and peoples. The blend of direct personal experience and official policy creates many different outcomes. When host populations are naïve about cultural outsiders then their first experience of extended encounters can play a disproportionate role in shaping prejudices which are much harder to displace later. This is one reason that those groups who have been subject to colonial rule or subjugation, whether from European powers, or American, or Japanese or North African, and so on, … carry racial memories which affect behaviour generations after the original historical situations have dissipated. In these cases it can become difficult for direct personal experience to entirely displace either inherited intolerance or submissiveness.

Skin colour is a very superficial feature, but highly visible. It therefore becomes a mnemonic for cuing prejudice in all kinds of cross-cultural encounters. Black skin in the United States of America is a cultural mnemonic for master-slave relationships. The psychological compensation in the slave paradigm is that a slave is rationalised to be genetically inferior so that the master can justify his own role while still seeming decent in self-imagination. This sets up feedback loops of negative behaviour which become culturally embedded and institutionalized.

China has no such cultural memory of black-white relationships, but a long held sexual preference for pale skinned girls who were/are assumed to be more refined than poor sunburnt peasant girls. When I worked in central China a few black West African English teachers had begun to appear on campuses. On my first day in one place I called the central office with an enquiry. A voice came back over the phone: “black or white?” Thus the initial prejudice was negative, but these black teachers are educated and apt to win respect in each campus for their demonstrated skills. Black traders are now so common in the southern city of Guangzhou that they have become part of the local fabric.

Sometimes it is even hard to perceive the onset of an individual’s struggle with intolerance or the survival of tolerance, especially if staring across cultures or social classes. I’ll intrude a personal example to make the point. My father walked out of school at 13 years of age, drifted through some unskilled jobs in the Great Depression years of the 1930s, survived World War II in several roles including becoming a marine commando, and got free trade training as a carpenter after the war. He was a small man, physically tough, impulsive, a street scrapper with none of the niceties of language or manners expected in polite company.

My father was also fair minded. Historically he straddled Australia’s transition from white racism to multicultural haven. I recall as a child his rude general remarks about ‘dagoes’ and ‘wops’ and ‘boongs’ (blacks), yet on building jobs he had no hesitation in befriending any of them, depending upon their individual characters. In the early 1950s he accepted contract work in Papua New Guinea in the hope of saving some money. At the time PNG was under Australian colonial administration, a territory of 800 languages which had never really been a country. The crude racism of his fellow white Australians in their segregated clubs quickly alienated my father. He much preferred to go hunting with the “black boys”. For this he was ostracized. Things became pretty poisonous. One day in complete disgust he walked to a grassy hill above the settlement, lay down with his Lee Enfield .303 calibre hunting rifle, and filled the roof of the supervisor’s house with hot lead. They shipped him back to Australia (though I didn’t learn the true story until years later). Now just imagine this scenario in the feverish atmosphere of today’s terrorism panics – the circling helicopters, the police sharp shooters, the hysterical media coverage … He would probably be a dead man.  The rush to judgement in an age of instant communication creates its own consequences which may be worse than first causes.

 

9. Don't Make An Enemy Carelessly

 

Many of the ideas and judgements we are faced with are pretty new to the 21st Century. For example, how can we manage the multiplying complexity of our lives? When it comes to tolerance though, the core dilemmas are mostly very old, and have been discussed by generation upon generation of wannabe wise men. That is, not the actual issues, but the management of human emotions has always been with us. A citizen of anywhere two thousand years ago would have been nonplussed by the problem of malicious trolls on Internet forums. Yet he or she would have been entirely familiar with the problem of scandalous slander, which has much of the same qualities as the troll issue. 600 years BC, Aesop in ancient Greece was wise enough to suggest “don’t make an enemy carelessly”. His advice still holds. Applying it to the salving power of tolerance may require some imagination in modern contexts however.

When it comes to tolerance, there seem to be several flavours:

a) The passive tolerance which exists among socially, culturally or religiously separated groups living in proximity, such as the ghettoes of old Europe or the castes of India. This kind of tolerance is conditional and usually comes with strong boundaries. For example if a boy and a girl from two of these bounded groups elope together, they will probably be punished, even by death. Some immigrants may bring an assumption of this kind of bounded tolerance to new environments like Australia, assuming that the “multicultural” rhetoric they hear is to be interpreted in the old way.

b) The strategic tolerance exercised by those just trying to survive without friction, or perhaps seeking a longer term advantage. For example, probably only a minority of individuals actually like their work and the people around them at work. They tolerate the work and the people because they need a job and have responsibilities to others they do care about. If they are ambitious they might even cultivate relationships with more senior personnel they despise privately, but who have the power to promote them. The bounds of strategic tolerance are therefore conscious, and there can come a point when the wage slave is pushed too far and revolts. His line in the sand has been crossed.

c) Money is probably the most potent tool for tolerance ever devised. Yes, money can incite passions up to and including violence when it is misallocated. However it is inconceivable that modern industrial societies could survive the laziness, ill-will and sheer dislike that tens of millions of people bring to their daily routines if they were not bribed into participation and mutual tolerance by sufficient amounts of money. Even marriages and other kinds of gender relationships are so often made tolerable for the parties by transactions based on money (though depending upon the ethnic group, it may be culturally unacceptable to define these relationships in financial terms).

d) Tolerance freely given with a patient and generous heart. This is what we all wish for of course, and might pretend to ourselves that it is what we are offering the world. Sometimes it is so. There are saints out there somewhere. A few are able to extend their non-judgemental beneficence to the entire human species, some only to a nation or a tribe or a community or a family. For most of us such unencumbered tolerance comes and goes, depending upon how we manage provocations. Our daily tolerance often requires an effort of will. Intolerance though is infectious, its mere expression a kind of permission to be a bad guy, and picked up with mischievous delight by anyone chafing at the bonds of their own conscience.

In those dull places where no demagogue offers permission to hate the neighbours, we might do our best not to draw lines in the sand, not to warn off intruders with a threat. Sooner or later though some threshold, hidden even to our conscious selves, will surely be crossed. We lose our temper, act impulsively, do something we regret in cooler moments, but it is already too late.

 

__________________________________________________________

 

 

Reading List*  (other suggestions welcome)

 

 

AAP (November 14, 2015) "Police attacked, three girls arrested after Woodridge brawl involving over 50". Brisbane Times online @  http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/police-attacked-three-girls-arrested-after-woodbridge-brawl-involving-over-50-20151114-gkz382.html#ixzz3rSAL9raX

AAP (November 14, 2015) "Up to 100 cars hold illegal 'speed trial' race on Pacific Motorway". Brisbane Times online @ http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/up-to-100-cars-hold-illegal-speed-trial-race-on-pacific-motorway-20151114-gkz3nh.html#ixzz3rSBN0eso

Achenbach, Joel (July 15, 2014) "Research: Human friendships based on genetic similarities". Sydney Morning Herald online @ http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life/research-human-friendships-based-on-genetic-similarities-20140715-zt7po.html#ixzz37XwqlAmF

Acland, Olivia (November 22, 2015) "Indian doctor sues husband over pressure to abort girl twins". Brisbane Times online @ http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/world/indian-doctor-sues-husband-over-pressure-to-abort-girl-twins-20151122-gl4ulg.html#ixzz3sGz2up6N

Birmingham, John (November 17, 2015) "Beating ISIL takes hard work and thought, not mindless revenge". Brisbane Times online @ http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/comment/blunt-instrument/beating-isil-takes-hard-work-and-thought-not-mindless-revenge-20151116-gl0h2x.html

Fish, Jefferson M (n.d.) "Tolerance, acceptance, and understanding differ in everyday life and in research". Psychology Today online @ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/looking-in-the-cultural-mirror/201402/tolerance-acceptance-understanding  

Frosch, Dan and Tamara Audi (Nov. 13, 2015) "Tolerance, Free Speech Collide on Campus". Wall Street Journal online @ http://www.wsj.com/articles/tolerance-free-speech-collide-on-campus-1447375073

Fujii, George (September 8, 2015) "H-Diplo Essay 132 on Letters to Australia: The Radio Broadcasts (1942-1972)". [A review of wartime & post-war radio broadcasts by Professor Julius Stone. A case study in sustaining tolerance under extreme conditions]. H-diplo review forum, online @ https://networks.h-net.org/node/GROUP_NID/discussions/82065/h-diplo-essay-132-h-diplo-review-essay-forum-letters-australia

Hartcher, Peter (November 16, 2015) "Paris attacks: five things the world must do in response". Brisbane Times online @ http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/comment/paris-attacks-five-things-the-world-must-do-in-response-20151115-gkzjfp.html

Kremlin Press Service (Nov. 17 2015) "Russia to Cooperate With West and Syrian Opposition Groups — Putin". The Moscow Times online @ http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/russia-to-cooperate-with-west-and-syrian-opposition-groups--putin/549846.html

Maurin, Herve (November 16, 2015) "Paris attacks: France's home-grown terrorists product of poverty and prejudice". Brisbane Times online @ http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/world/paris-attacks-frances-homegrown-terrorists-product-of-poverty-and-prejudice-20151115-gkzm8s.html#ixzz3rbpXNIfC

May, Thor (July 1997) “Personal Declaration of Membership in the Human Community”. Passionate Skeptic website, online @ http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/skeptic/philos10.html#declaration

May, Thor (2003) “Korean, American & Other Strange Habits”. Academia.edu online @ Academia.edu online @ https://www.academia.edu/2044672/Korean_American_and_Other_Strange_Habits_-_You_Do_It_Your_Way_-_two_books_reviewed

May, Thor (2014a) “ Fakes, liars, cheats, deceivers, animals in the forest”. Academia.edu online @ https://www.academia.edu/8480396/Fakes_liars_cheats_deceivers_animals_in_the_forest

May, Thor (2014b) “ Crime without Punishment – the journey from means to ends”. Academia.edu online @ https://www.academia.edu/6807011/Crime_without_Punishment_the_journey_from_means_to_ends

May, Thor (2014c) "What will be the dominant ideologies of the 21st Century?". Academia.edu online @ https://www.academia.edu/5681348/What_will_be_the_dominant_ideologies_of_the_21st_Century  

May, Thor (2014d) “The Problem of Work and the Rise of the Precariat”. Academia.edu online @ https://www.academia.edu/8682789/The_Problem_of_Work_and_the_Rise_of_the_Precariat

May, Thor (2014e) “Multicultures – communities of familiar strangers”. Academia.edu online @ https://www.academia.edu/8293417/Multicultures_communities_of_familiar_strangers

May, Thor (2015a) “ So You Love Humanity But Can’t Stand People?” Academia.edu online @ https://www.academia.edu/17289592/So_You_Love_Humanity_But_Can_t_Stand_People

May, Thor (2015b) “ Fuzzy Degrees of Freedom – When is the Law a Burden?”. Academia.edu online @ https://www.academia.edu/15291548/Fuzzy_Degrees_of_Freedom_When_is_the_Law_a_Burden

Moghul, Haroon (Feb 20, 2015) "About ISIS - Trolling the Internet with stories dressed up as sober, centrist scholarship -- it's what the Atlantic does best". [Rebutting the Wood (2015) interpretation of ISIS] Salon online @ http://www.salon.com/2015/02/19/the_atlantics_big_islam_lie_what_muslims_really_believe_about_isis/

Pilkington, Ed (20 November 2015) "Life as a drone operator: 'Ever step on ants and never give it another thought?' - In a secluded room at an airbase in Nevada, young men hold the power of life and death over people thousands of miles away. Former servicemen tell their story". http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/18/life-as-a-drone-pilot-creech-air-force-base-nevada

Rafi, Salman (November 9, 2015) "IS militarily weak, but economically strong". Asia Times online @ http://atimes.com/2015/11/is-militarily-weak-but-economically-strong/

Robinson, B.A. (editor) (2004) Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance website [world religions described] online @ http://www.religioustolerance.org/

Southern Poverty Law Centre (n.d.) Teaching Tolerance Project [American focus on racism] online @ http://www.tolerance.org

Sparrow, Jeff (20 November 2015) "Conservatives' yearning for Islam is the love that dare not speak its name". The Guardian online @ http://www.theguardian.com/world/commentisfree/2015/nov/19/conservatives-yearning-for-islam-is-the-love-that-dare-not-speak-its-name

The Guardian (19 November 2015) "Racist, sexist, rude and crude : the worst of 20th century advertising – in pictures - - Beyond Belief, a new book by Charles Saatchi". The Guardian online @ http://www.theguardian.com/media/gallery/2015/nov/18/racist-sexist-rude-crude-worst-20th-century-advertising-in-pictures

United Nations (2015) International Day for Tolerance. online @ http://www.un.org/en/events/toleranceday/resources.shtml

Wikipedia (2015) “Paradox of Tolerance”. Wikipedia online @ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance

Wikipedia (2015) “ Reinhold Niebuhr ”. Wikipedia online @ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinhold_Niebuhr

Wikipedia (2015) “Taiping Rebellion”. [A millenarian movement (think of ISIS) which became a Chinese civil war, 1850-1860, and killed an estimated 20-70 million people. When tolerance failed completely ..]. Wikipedia online @ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiping_Rebellion

Wikipedia(2015) “Khmer Rouge”. [A millenarian movement which arose following America’s undeclared carpet bombing of Cambodia. Khmer Rouge control lead to the death of up to 25% of Cambodia’s population, yet the movement held a UN seat with recognition from both China and the United States]. Wikipedia online @ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khmer_Rouge

Wilson, Jason (November 16, 2015) "Why does Pauline Hanson wind up progressives like no other rightwing figure?". The Guardian online @ http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/16/why-does-pauline-hanson-wind-up-progressives-like-no-other-right-wing-figure

Wood, Graeme (March 2015) "What ISIS Really Wants - The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it". [The dilemma of confronting minds dedicated to total intolerance] The Atlantic, online @ http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/03/what-isis-really-wants/384980/

 

 


Professional bio: Thor May has a core professional interest in cognitive linguistics, at which he has rarely succeeded in making a living. He has also, perhaps fatally in a career sense, cultivated an interest in how things work – people, brains, systems, countries, machines, whatever… In the world of daily employment he has mostly taught English as a foreign language, a stimulating activity though rarely regarded as a profession by the world at large. His PhD dissertation, Language Tangle, dealt with language teaching productivity. Thor has been teaching English to non-native speakers, training teachers and lecturing linguistics, since 1976. This work has taken him to seven countries in Oceania and East Asia, mostly with tertiary students, but with a couple of detours to teach secondary students and young children. He has trained teachers in Australia, Fiji and South Korea. In an earlier life, prior to becoming a teacher, he had a decade of finding his way out of working class origins, through unskilled jobs in Australia, New Zealand and finally England (after backpacking across Asia to England in 1972).

 


What are the limits of tolerance? ŠThor May Noevember 2015

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