Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tolerance and Newspeak

The concept of newspeak is introduced by George Orwell in his book 1984. The book tells the story of a totalitarian state that attempts to control its citizens by (among other things) changing the meaning of words. The idea is to make the government's programs more palatable and make it harder to express meaningful opposition to them. Unfortunately, there is a danger, even in our culture, of groups trying to change the meaning of words to push their agenda. One glaring instance of this is the modern use of the word tolerance.

Tolerance in the old sense meant people who disagreed with each other doing so in a peaceful manner. A good example would be the historical feud between Roman Catholics and Protestants. At the beginning of their battle both groups, to a degree, tried to use governmental authority to enforce their position. However, while there are exceptionsit can advocate tolerance (at least within certain boundaries). But it cannot accept the modern idea of tolerance because it conflicts in certain areas with Biblical morality.  The question is, will the advocates of tolerance in the modern sense tolerate this? Or will we be forced to once more go through the cycle of them trying to impose their views by force? Until in the end they will, hopefully, finally learn to agree to embrace tolerance.

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