A lack of tolerance in a democratic society is extremely dangerous

Robert Green Ingersoll was a Civil War veteran and famed orator during the Golden Age of Freethought – a time in history when people questioned the traditional ideas and thinking of the society they lived in. When narrow-mindedness was challenged and replaced with a more impartial way of looking at things – tolerance.

Yet Ingersoll is rarely remembered for such powerful statements such as, “Tolerance is giving to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself.”

Tolerance is “a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one’s own.” It’s a characteristic of the very democracy we all celebrate and appreciate on a day which has become more about barbecues and fireworks than our independence – The 4th of July.

Though decades have passed since Ingersoll’s statement on tolerance, it doesn’t appear society has really learned anything. We still harbor so much hatred for those that are different than we are. We hold intense biases towards others for their religious beliefs, sexual orientation and even the color of their skin. This archaic way of thinking continues to trickle down through the generations and continues to destroy the lives of decent human beings simply going through life as we are.

It’s easy I suppose for men and women to think they’re omnipotent, but the reality is that we’re basically all the same – made of bones and flesh; organs and appendages. Just because someone likes red instead of blue, boys instead of girls or any of the other endless comparisons I could come up with, doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them. It just means as a civilization we’re all unique. How could anyone with an average intelligence find anything wrong with that?