In an earlier post, I argued that what is often called “tolerance” is actually tyranny. In this post, I would like to look at how that is so. It is a good thing to think about for our natural instinct is to see things the other way around and to equate tolerance with freedom. Let me start with the following observation: no one (no sane person) tolerates everything. Take for instance the political liberal. It is a safe bet that he or she will not tolerate much that a man like Ronald Regan might stand for.

The real question is by what standard we judge what is to be tolerated, and what is not. In the West, and for that matter in much of the East, the question of an ethical or moral standard was really more of an assumption than a real question. It was because for the first 1800 years or so of our history everyone assumed Christian values. Things, ideas, behavior etc. were judged tolerable or not based on The Word of God. In other words, there was one basic standard for morality.

So far so good, but then comes the rise of the enlightenment and rationalism followed by the hangover we call postmodernism. Suddenly skepticism came into vogue and almost overnight, the idea of objective truth (that is truth tied to some sort of a standard) became (almost) outdated. As one wise man put it, “Everyman did what was right in his own eyes”.

However, how does that sort of toleration lead to tyranny?

The reason is that when man replaces the objective truth of God’s word for another standard (whatever it may be) he has in fact recapitulating the age-old sin of the first Adam, who tried to be like God. Theologian RJ Rushdoony put it (roughly) like this: “when you reach the level of no further appeal, you have reached the god of the system” and it’s commonly understood that one sort of god does not tolerate any other sort of god very well. Therefore, the struggle for power begins.

I really like the movie Gangs of New York. It is a movie with some very graphic scenes but like many of Scorsese’s movies; it is making a good point by asking a good question. The question is “who is the biggest and toughest gang in New York?” and the answer is of course the US government. This brings us back to the question of tyranny. For, as I have pointed out, at the end of the day gods (and governments) will only tolerate themselves, and those that view themselves in terms of it. Like the gangs of New York, there may be room for slight variations but only very slight. The state becomes a monistic tyrant that will only allow reflections of its own image. Tolerance becomes tyranny and the only cure for that is The Trinity. How that is so is a question I will attempt to take up in my next post.

Published by Fr. Rogers Meredith

I am an Anglican Priest Canonically Resident in the Episcopal Diocese of Ft. Worth , Anglican Church of North America. .

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