From the archives


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‘Yep, I’m intolerant’

I'm coming out of the politically correct closet and announcing to the world, "Yep! I'm intolerant!"

For instance, do you really want to go to an "open-minded" doctor with signs in the waiting room that read: "I Brake for Bacteria." "Save the Salmonella." "Take a Stand for Polio!" I want a doctor who is narrow-minded and completely intolerant to disease and physical afflictions when I'm told, "Turn your head and cough."

And I'm not getting on a plane with a pilot who comes over the intercom with, "Welcome aboard Lame Duck Airlines. We'll be traveling at whatever speed and altitude feels good at the time and should be arriving at our destination in time for "happy hour." So, put your seat in recline position, hold on tight to your carry-ons, and we'll be ready for take-off as soon as we cut off that 747 on our way to the runaway." (Where did he say the emergency exits were?!)

How about a tolerant mechanic at the brake shop? "I don't like to use the words 'safe' or 'unsafe' when it comes to brake shoes. I prefer to think of them having mechanical diversity."

Or a tolerant math teacher? "Well, Johnny if 2 + 2 is 5 for you, then I'm not going to put any moral judgments on your mathematical world view."

I don't even want to think about tolerant parachute packers, nuclear power plant operators, or driver's ed. teachers ("Stop signs are arbitrary restrictions on our personal freedom.")

Most of all, I'm down right intolerant when it comes to my kids. If I really love them, I'm going to be narrow-minded toward anything that is harmful to their physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being. That's why I'm judgmental toward plaque build up, kiddy porn, gangs, strep throat, "put-downs," under-cooked hamburgers, spaced-out cults, illegal drugs, and nicotine (tobacco execs are simply serial killers in suits).

You're welcomed to be tolerant of this column. You can tape it to your refrigerator or use it to housebreak your new puppy. Somehow civilization will manage to continue despite your judgment of my writing.

But I'm not so sure that our society will continue if "Thou shalt not be intolerant" becomes the eleventh commandment. Perhaps we could be a bit more narrow-minded in observing the first ten.

Copyright (c) 1997 James N. Watkins


In the world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called Despair, the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die. Dorothy Sayers

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