There’s a lengthy piece in today’s New York Times on the nature of tolerance. It’s worth a look, not least for these two quotes, the first from John Locke, the second from Thomas Jefferson.
John Locke: “every church is orthodox to itself: to others, erroneous or heretical.”
Thomas Jefferson: “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”
Such refreshingly honest talk would, of course, be unacceptable in these days of enforced – and bogus – sensitivity. Tolerance used to mean tolerating the rights of those with whom we disagree. Now, our intellectual establishment refuses to accept that there are any real disagreements between faiths. True tolerance is replaced by the imposition of meaningless ecumenical pap and debate becomes a stifled and insincere silence.
Jefferson and Locke would not be impressed.