Tolerance

At What Price?
By Steven J. Grisafi, PhD.

The pernicious lack of editing throughout the Internet causes numerous arguments to be put forth half-baked. This includes opinion editorials in what remain of our newspapers. It is rare to find an informed and well articulated opinion founded in objectivity. Despite its attention grabbing title, the article Americans Hate Each Other is most worthy of reading.

We have all heard the argument that increasing diversity within a community increases tolerance. As explained by Dr. Moench, the research of Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam has shown that increasing diversity within a neighborhood causes neighbors to withdraw into their homes and into more isolated lives. I see no contradiction between the two observations. Knowledge of different peoples acquired through contact within the community can lead to greater understanding of one another and tolerance. Yet it can also lead to withdrawal of neighbors into the comfort zone of their isolated lives. This, I believe, is precisely what has happened in America. We are aware of the differences between ourselves and our neighbors. This affords us a certain amount of tolerance to one another. But that level of tolerance is only sufficient to enable us to co-exist with one another. It does not extend to familiar associations with those whom we view as “different” from ourselves. As a result, we become more isolated by turning to social media on the Internet.

Dr. Moench believes separation into Red and Blue peoples is inevitable. I cannot envision such a division as ever taking place. America must fracture along more than the single fissure between Red and Blue because those coalitions do not really exist. Those coalitions are the result of people voting against those whom they hate rather than voting for those whom they support.

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