Diversity and Tolerance Properly Understood and Pursued
Be you! Just do it! But not at my expense or with my coerced blessing. To require those is to pursue tyranny and injustice. Tweet
The American Mind is very divided—with it, our politics and culture.
We have forgotten there is not just one way to pursue happiness.
It is our right to choose the ends we pursue.
We are entitled to be left alone if we are not harming others.
Equality is not homogeneous.
Equality, properly understood, is the unum that allows for and directs the pursuit of a genuine pluribus. Our inalienable rights—of life, of liberty and the pursuit of happiness—demand multiple expressions. My mind is incapable of learning the new language of gender and the ever-growing list of gender-fluid pronouns, but it all speaks to the pluribus of the human family.
We are launching this effort during turbulent times. The American mind is very divided—and with it, our politics and culture. We lack a shared sense of self, and it’s proving difficult to live privately and publicly without one.
The American mind is very divided—with it, our politics and culture.
Different strokes, folks. A large part of the problem is we have forgotten there is not just one way to pursue happiness. Sadly, the tendency toward intolerance is very natural to the human species. We are not simply happy with following our muses, going to the beat of our drums; we want others to join us—even when they are not identically disposed.
The nickel quote. Thomas Jefferson has captured pretty bluntly the nature of toleration PM stands for and seeks:
“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”
Jefferson’s larger liberal point is what we must return to if we want to go forward
We choose. First, our nature, as free and equal human beings, does not require the permission of private and public authorities. It is our right to choose the ends we pursue.
Tolerance, up to a point. The second, qualifying part makes it clear that toleration has some real conditions for those who want to let their inner-freak flag fly. Openness and toleration of the ends of human longing is up to you—20 or none—but it’s followed by two thou-shalt-not curtailments on the means we employ in our pursuits: “Don’t pick my pocket” and “Don’t break my bones”—two standard forms of coercion as old as time.
Common pursuits do have claim to our wallets and our lives, but the claims are limited. When it comes time to follow our individual, guiding lights—our property, ourselves, our thoughts, our values, our bodies—we are entitled to be left alone if we are not harming others. It’s the American way.
Be you—but not at my expense and not through my coerced blessing.
To require otherwise are hallmarks of tyranny and injustice. We should not be surprised at those who call for coercion; they do so in the name of our highest values—God, Equality, Justice, Choice and Fairness.
Irony is a bitch.