The social intolerance of the Left has been a frequent theme at this website. Examples are numerous. It is only because of a very selective vision in any human society--endemic in the media & academia--that the phenomenon is not more generally understood.
Not all issues resolve neatly into a Left/Right dichotomy. Conservatives are human, not always objective, often emotionally driven, usually by positive feelings for heritage--what has been, yet appeals;--but sometimes by negative reactions to the impact, conduct or ideas of others. Yet those negative reactions are not comparable to what we mean by "intolerance."
Intolerance--captured so well in the classic D. W. Griffith film--goes far beyond mere dislike. It involves outright denial; denial of a right to the personal expression of what is important in one's own life, even to a right to coexist in a lifestyle embracing a value system unacceptable to the intolerant subject. To the Leftist, whether Communist, Socialist (Nazi or Democratic) or "Mipip" (Marxist influenced pseudo-intellectual poseur), any ideological eccentricity, characterized by either or both material success or spiritual strength, which renders an individual or group able, or inclined, to resist an ever greater dependence or subservience to an intended collectivization, is intolerable.
This intolerance takes many forms, some obviously more overt than others. Yet the more subtle may actually be more easily recognized by a public conditioned by a multi-generational assault on traditional values. The driving intolerance behind the use of excessive taxation to tear down the successful, often coupled with extravagant outlays to subsidize improvident conduct, is among the subtler forms of intolerance which, though not immediately recognized as such, become more readily grasped when one considers the huge body of evidence, the world over, to demonstrate the failure of redistribution of wealth schemes to actually benefit poor families for longer than a very brief period. On the other hand, hatred of the superior deviant--deviant from the less materially successful norms in a particular society--has been a common phenomenon, where there is any additional characteristic on which those demonstrating such intolerance can rationalize its manifestations. [See "Compulsion For Uniformity," below.]
The most obvious form of Leftist intolerance, though not always recognized in a population bombarded with the insane notion that it is unjust for any community of persons to actually prefer the association or society of their own community over others of a diverse nature, has taken such absurd forms as a pursuit for "diversity": for forced ethnic mixing & suppression of traditional community wide religious observances. The fallacy in the pursuit of "diversity" is easily seen in the studied elimination of actual diversity that has flowed from the pursuit. (The one solution to intergroup interaction, which the Left has promoted via the "Civil Rights" movement; via an immigration policy which actually subsidizes the inflow of those without any ties to the American past, while restricting the inflow of those from lands & stocks most closely reflected in the achievement of our unique institutions; and via suppression of the continued use of public facilities for traditional religious observance; hardly preserves actual diversity, either within or without the United States.)
The intolerance, driving such pursuits, may be more readily recognized when one understands that there have always been communities of freely associating members, where those who desired to associate closely with people, varied socially, culturally, ethnically, theologically or however, could freely do so. But there were also communities for those who desired a more parochial society. Such, indeed, was the motivation for many of the settlements in pre-revolutionary America. The right of such free association, as the right to be free from Federal interference with local values & social preferences, was clearly recognized in both the First Article of Amendments to the Constitution & in the Constitutional absence of any delegation of Federal authority to alter the differing social values, ethical & religious precepts, found in the very different communities. The prohibitions in the First Amendment are clearly directed against Federal, not State, interaction with the public on questions of religion.
It is not necessary to suppress the freedom of those, who desire a more parochial society, to allow those, who seek the most eclectic social patterns, to do so. There is no need to suppress anyone's freedom, if true toleration for true diversity is a goal. But that is not, and clearly has not been, a goal of the American Left. To recognize the actual degree of intolerance involved, you have to look at the extent to which traditional liberties, preferences & attitudes, have been suppressed.
The forced breakdown of parochial, or tightly focused, communities--often originally settled to be parochial communities--has not just involved Court decisions mandating new school assignments, nor legislation to protect minorities from actual persecution. Rather, the attack has been on the most basic personal property rights, once obvious rights of social privacy & free association; the once fundamental right of established communities to continue to worship God as their forefathers did in the same communities. What are included in such basic rights? The right to determine to whom one will sell or lease one's own property--sacred in the English speaking world since Magna Carta. The right to determine whom one will hire, in a relationship where the one hired may, by his actions, both bind & compromise the financial future of an employer. The right of a local community to continue to practice the Faith of their fathers, even if it means continuing to use public buildings, those fathers built, in part as a fulfillment of that Faith.
None of this deliberate, forced, reorganization of American society, has been promoted as an intended attack on the fundamental rights involved. Rather it has been cloaked in the verbiage--the "newspeak," if you prefer--of pretended enlightenment--of make believe toleration. The implied premise is that each of us has a right to deny the right of others to not prefer our association, if that right is to be exercised in a manner premised on some observable group preference. In the 'Alice In Wonderland' view of the Left, not being preferred, under such circumstances, is a grievance that must override every other consideration.
As observed in the past two essays, the fact that millions of Americans are uninsured against medical contingencies is not the crisis, claimed by the Obama Administration. Medical practitioners have never refused to treat those who could not afford to pay. Federal subsidies to increase the paperwork or computer data, resulting from going through insurance carriers for health procedures, meet no real problem. The thrust is against the free society; the aim to level & control, not actually improve the health of any people. The Leftists are upset, not over medical needs, but with the inequality of what individuals can afford. The intolerance, here, is based on a nasty, mean spirited but still ancient, resentment among the envious against the fruits of individual achievement.
Stated bluntly, the real issues in health care are the same that motivate steeply graduated income taxes; that motivated the Bolsheviks to force affluent middle-class Russians to turn their private homes into tenements by taking in the lowest level of people from the streets; that motivated the expulsion of the Huguenots from France. There is no reason to expect hate driven intolerants to stop at Health Care. The Constitution does not authorize any conceivable Federal role in civilian health care; nor any in clothing, housing or educating the poor. Those who cannot tolerate the idea that those who succeed should be able to afford better health services than those who do not, are not likely to be satisfied simply with leveling the health services field. It will only whet their appetite for a still greater taking of the fruits of other men's labor.
Perhaps the most bizarre example of an intolerant mania to suppress traditional human preferences, patterns of association & the benefits of their achievements, was displayed in the international lynch mob, directed at the former government of South Africa. The verbalized rationalizations of the anti-Apartheid movement had nothing to do with real issues. Far from being an onerous policy from a Colonial era, which student Leftists, the world over, were given to believe, the actual policy of the South African Government was to remove the effects of Colonial rule. In place of an ongoing subjugation of any of the widely differing peoples, found within the borders of the old Imperial map of South Africa, each ethnic group was offered control over their own destiny, in their own lands. The principle opposition to the plan, other than from Marxist influenced collectivists, who seek to consolidate the earth's peoples, came from industrialists desiring a continuous supply of cheap labor.
It was never proposed, nor even suggested by the former South African government, that there would be an imposed ceiling on the progress of any of the constituent peoples, nor any restriction on the direction of their cultural development. Indeed, South African policies to promote economic development in the various homelands, were later copied by American "Liberals," who adopted programs to subsidize economic development in the inner cities of America--although, of course, neither credit nor recognition was accorded to the South African origins of the concept.
The intolerance demonstrated in vicious misrepresentations of South African intentions, was not confined to those White Leftists, who only hate traditional White societies. The Black Ibo tribesmen in Nigeria faced the same intolerance to true diversity, within the imperial boundaries of that former Colonial creation, actually comprising many distinct nations. So, too, did Moise Tshombe's people in the Katanga Province of what had been the Belgian Congo. There, American planes, provided by the Dean Rusk State Department to fly in UN forces to suppress Katanga's pursuit of independence from an arbitrary entity--with no historic relevance, other than to another Colonial administrator's map--even bombed hospitals in the process. (To the American Leftist, pursuing an amalgamation of the world's peoples, anything is fair. True movements for ethnic independence can not be tolerated.)
As American Leftist assaults on traditional values & social freedom achieved many of their objectives in eliminating situations that flowed from preferences the Left found intolerable, manifestations of that intolerance evolved into forms that only conversely & indirectly reflected the underlying intolerance--much as a sunlit face may be reflected but yet distorted in a soap bubble. Some forms may even appear as a happy emotion--a celebration of the result of previous intolerant assaults on traditional society. Thus it is easy to overlook the continued, ongoing, intolerance towards any preference based upon traditional patterns of human association or identity. An interesting recent example was when the President of the United States went to Copenhagen, to urge the International Olympic Committee to select Chicago as site for the 2016 Summer Games.
The President based his appeal, not on positive things which Chicago might actually have to offer, but on the fact, as he explained, that Chicago had changed; that Chicago now looked like all of them--referring to the actual diversity of the Olympic Committee, representing the varied nations of the earth. Imbued with an intolerance, born in inverted values, Mr. Obama failed to appreciate the implied insult. While it is, certainly, true that the Olympic Committee is ethnically diversified, comprised of men & women seeking to promote a spirit of good-will & fair competition among the world's varied peoples--peaceful competition & good sportsmanship;--it is certainly not true that most of those peoples seek to confuse their own identity, seek to obliterate their traditional cultures, appearance or the internal congruity of their communities. The essential point: Tolerance accepts--even celebrates--true diversity--the vast variation in the human type--not its breakdown under the intolerant assault of Egalitarian fanatics.
We happened to witness the Obama presentation; watched his speech on live television; watched the European desk of CNN--who may well share Obama's prejudice against traditional human patterns--announce that, based upon the Obama appearance, Chicago must be considered the favorite among the four competing cities. Believing that the Committee would not share the implicit intolerance for their respective heritages--now so transparent on the American Left-- we made it a point to watch the live announcement of the result, a few hours later--as well as the stunned faces of the delusional CNN crew, as Chicago was, as expected, the first city to be eliminated!
Did an International Leftist answer to Obama's humiliation come a few days later from the Nobel Prize Committee on Peace? What other conclusion can one draw? In 2008, Obama ran for President. He did not contribute to World Peace. On the other hand, there are many on the Scandinavian Left, who share the Leftist American hatred & intolerance for true diversity. Remember the Swedish Marxist, Gunnar Karl Myrdal? His spirit, unfortunately, lives on.