The Intolerance Irony

by N. M. GUARIGLIA April 27, 2017

Why does the American Left see an enemy in their countrymen?

Over the course of the last year, a dear friend of mine - let's call him Friend A - has completely changed his disposition toward another mutual acquaintance (Friend B).  Friend A and Friend B used to be very close, going all the way back to high school.  But now, Friend A no longer reaches out to Friend B.  He barely responds to his text messages and avoids hanging out. 

I consider myself something of a peacemaker, so naturally I inquired what the problem was.  "I can't associate with a bigot," Friend A stated curtly. 

You see, Friend B openly voted for and supports Donald Trump.  He even went to the inauguration.  Before 2016, Friend B wasn't a politically active person.  But the "outsiderness" of the Trump campaign appealed to him.  Like many blue-collar Americans, he wanted a "human Molotov cocktail" to rock the Washington, D.C. establishment.  He wanted a "virus in the system."  And to his pleasant surprise on November 8, he got it. 

Friend A, however, equates such an opinion with outright racism and sexism; with misogyny and bigotry; with xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and all the rest of it.  In short, Friend A has concluded that to be pro-Trump is to be immoral and intolerant of others.  For him, it is a bridge too far.  Thomas Jefferson once observed that he "never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend."  Friend A clearly disagrees with this.

Such a conclusion is now widespread throughout the American Left.  Being nice to Trump supporters is a very unpopular idea among those who claim the mantle of open-mindedness.  Anti-Trump boycotts are everywhere.  Even in the sports world, Stephen Curry is unsure if he can remain business partners with a man that supports Trump. 

When and why did we become like this?  I understand why people didn't vote for Trump.  What I don't understand is how people who didn't vote for Trump cannot understand why people did.  Isn't that a form of close-mindedness?  Isn't that a form of intolerance?

The Left is adamantly consistent in its opposition toward "normalizing" (they love that word) Trump and his supporters.  Friend A, the liberal, genuinely believes - he has said this with a straight face - that we are witnessing nothing less than an actual "Nazi takeover of America."

Goodness grief.  The American Left - particularly the Social Justice Warrior (SJW) Left - seems psychologically dependent upon intentionalistic ethics (vice consequentialistic ethics), and the belief that, as liberal progressives, they are ethically superior by their very virtue of being "progressive."  Anyone that dares to disagree with their enlightened worldview is by default an emissary of hatred.  And so therefore, in their mind, it is both just and righteous to effectively hate the haters.

Hating the haters.  Six months since the election, the irony of this position is still lost on the majority of those who hold it. 

Don't get me wrong; there is validity to the idea that genuine intolerance should not be tolerated.  But there's the rub: the origin of the intolerance must be substantively demonstrated and proven.  That is to say, those on the SJW Left who have chosen to "hate the haters" in the name of "tolerance" - as anti-Trump Friend A has done with pro-Trump Friend B - should acknowledge the fact that it is incumbent upon them to explain why.  Especially if it involves friends or family!

But this is an intellectual and ethical standard with which a majority of the American Left appears to feel exonerated from holding itself to.

And therein lies the second irony lost on the American Left: it is often the much-maligned "racist and sexist" Trump supporters who are, in fact, meeting that intellectual and ethical standard by substantively demonstrating the moral basis of their opposition to genuine intolerance, i.e. international Islamism.

The intolerance irony goes something like this...

Step 1: Islamists commit acts of genuine intolerance, such as 1,500 acid attacks since 2011 in London alone, or subjecting a half-million girls to female genital mutilation in America, for example.  (There are many other such examples.)

Step 2: Conservatives and Trump supporters reject this anti-women, anti-LGBT intolerance.  This forms the basis of their immigration views.

Step 3: The SJW Left then equates those immigration views with intolerance of migrants - not intolerance of intolerance - and claims the right to be intolerant of them!

The SJW Left refuses to see past their "domestic enemies."  They refuse to go one step further.  They are acting intolerant... toward people who are intolerant of intolerance.  Ipso facto, they are not only perpetuating intolerance of their own accord, but they are inoculating Islamist intolerance - the original intolerance that threatens women, homosexuals, and religious minorities - from much-needed criticism and ethical analysis.  

If you're being intolerant of those who are intolerant of intolerance, you're being tolerant of intolerance.  Which is to say: you're being intolerant.

Precisely zero liberal progressives have addressed this irony in an intellectually stimulating or challenging manner, despite my continued pursuit of an answer or adequate counterargument.  It's quite humorous.  And pathetic.

This is why Ann Coulter or Milo Yiannopoulos can't speak at UC Berkeley free from the threat of violence.  This is why Gavin McInnes can't speak at New York University free from the threat of violence.  This is why Charles Murray can't speak at Middlebury College free from the threat of violence.

The preponderance of the intolerance in America today comes from those on the Left who consider their conservative countrymen beneath the dignity of dialogue.  The specifics of Friend B's views are immaterial.  It is obligatory of Friend A and those likeminded to palpably discredit the details of views they consider wrong. 

Some friendly advice for the SJW Left: don't just say "racist."  Why is it racist?  Let's get into the weeds, shall we?  Ad hominem arguments, strawman arguments, the "silent treatment," and outright violence will not translate into political success in this country.  What do you think this is?  The Islamic Middle East?

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Contributing Editor N.M. Guariglia is an essayist who writes on Islam and Middle Eastern geopolitics.


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