The Meaning of “Tolerance”

Each of two recent articles on the troubles in the Netherlands contained interesting quotes on the long-term impact of multiculturism. There is a warning for America in these words as they highlight the ongoing confusion over the meaning of “tolerance.”
A quote in the first article said:

…tolerance became a pretext for not addressing problems…

A quote in the second article said:

We have been so tolerant of others’ culture and religion, we are losing our own…Europe is losing itself…One day we will wake up, and it will be too late…

I looked up the definition of the word “tolerance” and it said:

sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own…the allowable deviation from a standard…

The definition of tolerance clearly states there are pre-existing standards, without which the very concept of tolerance has no significance. But multiculturism has led us into a world of relativism where there are no standards. And that means there is no way to define allowable deviations.
In a free and democratic society, we owe it to ourselves to openly debate what will be the appropriate standards and the allowable deviations from them that we will tolerate in our American society.
I hope we can conduct that debate in a context that keeps sight of the standards given to us through our Founding in the Declaration of Independence, the lessons learned over the entire history of America, and the natural law principles that have guided Western Civilization for centuries.
We owe it to our children and the future of America not to let the relativism of multiculturism result in any further dumbing down of our society based on the misguided thinking and ahistorical practices of the last forty years or so.
ADDENDUM:
Power Line has highlighted Mark Steyn’s new comments on the “tolerance” debate with some updated stories, one of which is a tall tale. However, one of them is quite true and involves a now well-publicized story from our own state of Rhode Island, which Justin has written on here.

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Anchor Rising
16 years ago

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