Recent events, occurring thousands of miles apart, but inextricably linked in my mind have got me to thinking.
Proposition: That tolerance, when exercised without due regard to rational restraint, will lead to the ultimate failure of that tolerance to effect any outcome on the tolerating party, other than an undesired result.
The corollary to the Intolerable Proposition: That intolerance, when exercised without due regard to restraint, will lead to the ultimate failure of that intolerance to effect any outcome on the tolerating party, other than an undesired result.
A classic illustration of the Intolerable Proposition can be illustrated by the seeming total disregard, both by the Jewish community as a whole, and the rest of the free world during the years leading up to, and through the early years of the Holocaust. An illustration of the corollary might be made of the current events in Lebanon and northern Israel, where despite the massive military response by the state of Israel, the situation seems to have, once again, stalemated. This at the cost of loss of life on both sides of the border, and catastrophic destruction wreaked by a people who have vowed to never again be the victims of a blindly, tolerant society.
Of course, the only way that humanity will survive in the long term, is if some reasonable middle ground can be found and accepted by everyone. This can be applied to all conflicts between geographic, political, ethnic and religious groups on the planet. How do we reach any kind of middle ground in any conflict? Maybe the answer lies in both the Intolerable Proposition and its corollary, with all parties understanding and accepting the fact that they must each strike a balance between tolerance and intolerance. That in order to survive, let alone thrive, in a potentially hostile environment, there must be some toleration exercised by all sides, with an understanding that toleration, when abused to the extreme, leads to intolerable results.
Human beings, the world over, must learn to peacefully co-exist, if we have any hope for long term survival of the human race. Peacefully co-existing means that there can be differences in beliefs, and it also means that everyone understands that every human on this planet has the right to exist and propogate his own beliefs, but no human being has the right to impose his own beliefs on any other human being, against their will.
There has got to be room for the differences among men, and there has got to be a way for humanity to strike a balance.