Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"As a political precept, tolerance has unimpeachably anti-democratic credentials, dividing society into persons entitled to claim respect as a right and persons obliged to beg tolerance as a favor. The curricular fad for 'teaching tolerance' underlines the anti-democratic implications. A teacher identifies for the children's benefit characteristics (ancestry, appearance, sexual orientation, and the like) that count as disqualifications from full and equal membership in human society. These, the children learn, they may overlook, in an act of generous condescension - or refuse to overlook, in an act of ungenerous condescension. Tolerance thus bases equal rights on benevolent patronization rather than democratic first principles, much as a parent's misguided plea that Jason 'share' the swing or seesaw on a public playground teaches Jason that his gracious consent, rather than another child's equal claim, determines the other child's access." - Barbara J. Fields, "Of Rogues and Geldings"

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