Tolerance and Common Ground

Morning visionaries!

Steven identified my subtle and nuanced discourse as a “nice rambling response” and pointed out that I did not answer his question directly, which is true enough. So here is my direct answer. People who would not choose one another for fishing buddies can nonetheless tolerate one another and live in blissful co-existence. I affirm this heartily, and without mental reservation, yea and amen. Having made this affirmation, I will now begin counting all the posts from the progressive sector that identify me as the “tolerant Douglas Wilson.” You see, if this is tolerance, then we are all equally tolerant. If it is not tolerance, then your question was a red herring designed to keep the progressives from having to define what their tolerance really is. But I know what it is–it is them trying to get away with “Nice People United.” Progressives, for all their sweet and inclusive rhetoric, are really out to demonize any substantive opposition to their agenda.

Tony returned to his question about a “lowest common denominator” approach to a shared human ethic. My answer is that, on the basis of a common Creator, we are in fact living in the same universe. But because of human sin and rebellion, we find regular, systematic, and ongoing attempts on the part of mankind to create various hellish alternative ethical systems, attempts to create other universes than the one God actually gave to us. I do not want to boil these rebellions down to the bone in an attempt to find out whether petty larceny laws in Nazi Germany were very similar to ours. That may well be, but it would be to miss the central point.

The lowest common denominator approach will not work because of: 1. Nazi hatred of Jews; 2. Muslim hatred of women; 3. Aztec hatred of prisoners of war; 4. American hatred of the unborn; 5. Dutch hatred of the elderly; 6. Palestinian hatred of Jews; 7. Israeli hatred of Palestinians; 8. Muslim hatred of New Yorkers; 9. IRA hatred of the English; 10. English hatred of the Irish; 11. Ad nauseam.

Common ground can be found between all these groups. But I don’t care that individuals in all these groups brush their teeth, thus emphasizing the importance of dental hygiene. Who is against dental hygiene? Not me! But that is hardly the point. The so-called common ground ethic of liberal progressives is based on a myth that is extremely quaint and entirely insular. The central problem with it is that it is so damned provincial. Some people need to get out more. The Saudi hijackers did not derive their ethical marching orders from the Cosby show.


Douglas Wilson


“Apologetics in the Void” are repostings from an on-going electronic discussion and debate I had some time ago with members of our local community, whose names I have changed. The list serve is called Vision 20/20, and hence the name “visionaries.” Reading just these posts probably feels like listening to one half of a phone conversation, but I don’t feel at liberty to publish what others have written. But I have been editing these posts (lightly) with intelligibility in mind.


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