Beyond tolerance?

John Derbyshire has written an important piece about the culture war in this country or, more precisely, how conservatives are losing it. The piece was prompted by a Peggy Noonan op-ed in the Opinion Journal in which she took the self-contratulatory position that “we have gone beyond tolerance in America; we have arrived at affection and sympathy and mutual respect. It has been beautiful to see, and I have seen it in my lifetime.” Noonan is referring of course to the admirable progress America has made in the area of civil rights. But, as Derbyshire shows, she is ignoring the fact that “only some of us have ‘gone beyond tolerance’ to ‘sympathy and mutual respect.'” In fact, the new “tolerance” runs in only one direction — in favor of designated victim groups and their members. Such tolerance is a zero-sum game, in which the toleration of some means lack of toleration for others. As Derbyshire explains:
“If I were a black American, I could go around calling my white fellow-citizens ‘devils’ and my Jewish fellow-citizens ‘bloodsuckers,’ and no-one would give it a moment


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