It’s important to be respectful of other people’s beliefs, but how can you be respectful while still sticking to your priniciples.
Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Brittany: Hi, Ronnie.
Ronnie: Hi, Brittany.
Brittany: So I wanna talk about tolerance today. So we are living in an extremely divided world right now, and I think it’s funny we say that ’cause we’ve probably always lived in a really divided world. But I think that because of social media and just constant quick connection with everybody, it’s gotten really just so much worse because we can talk about how angry we are or disagree with someone, and it doesn’t take any effort, right? You don’t have to walk over to the town square during a town meeting like you used to back in the day. And you don’t have to walk over to a neighbor’s house to tell them something you disagreed with that you know, you heard somewhere. All you have to do is lay on your couch or lay in your bed and get on your Twitter app or get on your Facebook app. And I really hope that our, I hope our listeners aren’t on Twitter because they’re young and delicate and I don’t want them to be subjected to that world yet. But it’s just really easy to disagree with people now. But disagreeing with someone doesn’t mean we have to hate them. And I think this is a lesson that can be really hard to learn. Especially I know when I first became a libertarian, I was so passionate about what I believed that I didn’t really hear anybody else. So if they said something I didn’t agree with and I was just like, wow, like libertarian talking points, like, yeah, but you’re wrong. ’cause of liberty and blah, blah, blah. And even though I think, I still think I was probably right, not listening to them or shutting them off, I don’t think is a good thing either. And I lost a lot of friends. A lot of it was ’cause I was like, I don’t wanna be friends with people that don’t agree with me. And I probably missed out on a lot of really good friendships with good people. So, you know, disagreeing with someone doesn’t mean we don’t have to be to be friends with them. But, so the word, what does tolerance mean? The word means to allow for something, you know, I always think of it like I can tolerate cauliflower, but I cannot tolerate broccoli when it comes to vegetables. I have very, very strong views on this, right? So I’ll allow for cauliflower, I prefer, I have a sweet tooth, so I prefer to eat cake for every meal. But, you know, need to be a healthy adult so I can tolerate eating things like cauliflower. But you know, I can’t do that with broccoli. So you can tolerate like a certain, you know, thing like maybe you don’t like it, but you’ll eat it. Like I said, on the other hand, someone who is the word lactose intolerant, if you’ve ever heard that, like that’s somebody who literally cannot handle milk. Their body just can’t handle the dairy, so they can’t even stand a little bit or they will get sick. So tolerance is when people, you know, it’s when what we’re willing to put up with and what we’re willing to respect, even if we don’t agree with their opinion. So the reason I wanted to bring this up is because we’re told a lot by, you know, social justice warriors that we need to practice tolerance and we need to all, you know, what’s the word I’m looking for? It’s not, we need to all respect each other and our journeys. And what does it say like someone’s truth. Emma and I used to always laugh at that statement. I hate that ’cause it’s like, okay, but there’s one truth. Yeah, Okay. There are opinions, but there’s one truth. So I wanna talk about what the line is, right? What does the line between being tolerant of someone’s belief and standing on principle? So, Ronnie, what does tolerance mean to you? What does this concept mean to you? I’d be curious to know.
Ronnie: Well, I think in the way, not talking about lactose tolerance, like you said.
Brittany: It’s with political views, I should have said that. Or opinions. Yes.
Ronnie: But it means understanding that we’re all humans and we do all have different perspectives. And those different perspectives came from different places. And someone’s perspective could be incorrect or it could be, not well reasoned. And so perhaps your perspective is more correct. However, it’s, I think tolerance means understanding that another person does have a different perspective and being willing to try to listen and understand where it is that they’re coming from. Even if you still believe that they’re wrong, that’s okay. But trying to see them as a person and also on the same journey of life of figuring things out.
Brittany: I really like that. I think that’s a really good point. And I think that’s something, especially in the last two years that we’ve forgotten. And again, I think disagreements have always happened, but especially when we were all home during COVID, I feel like it got really easy to just, we want like to be angry, right? You can’t really be angry at COVID. It’s not a person, right? But it was really easy to get angry at each other. And then we had the George Floyd protests and riots and we saw that. And that really scared me. And that’s actually what gave me the idea for this episode because it seemed that we got to a point where if you didn’t agree with certain people, then they absolutely would not listen to you. Not only that, you became a bad person.
Ronnie: We came, it became, the word I learned was, tribalism, which was not a word I had heard before, but, that really describes, yeah, we became so tribalistic. We were our side, the other side. And that was the only way people saw it.
Brittany: That’s exactly right. And it’s funny, I’m glad you said that, ’cause Connor and I are, our next episode that we’re gonna record is what’s the difference between community and tribalism? Because I think that’s a big one, right? ’cause I think people hear tribalism and they think, oh, we can’t be part of any group, but there’s some groups, you know, like, working with our neighbors are good. So I’m glad you brought up that word. Yeah. I think that’s the problem, right? And then I also think it became, you know, I was really sad to see during those protests that people were burning down and destroying private businesses that really just hurt my soul to see. ’cause a lot of them were people who immigrants or who came to this country and set up shop, and then they had their buildings burned when they didn’t even do anything. And then it became if you questioned that, then it was, oh, you’re not tolerant of what this protest is about. You know, you don’t agree with this on this and this and that. And instead of saying, well, no, I, you know, I empathize with you. I understand why you’re frustrated. I just don’t believe that we should be burning private businesses. You couldn’t have that dialogue, right? That to me it seemed anyway that we couldn’t really have that discussion. So that’s why I, you know, I’m kind of asking myself this, as I’m saying it is, what is the line between tolerance and standing on principle? Does it get to a point where you’re trying to tolerate somebody so much that you forget what you believe in? And I’m curious what you think about that. And again, you don’t have to have an opinion on, I’m just, I’m throwing you, hard ones right now.
Ronnie: No, I think it is such a good question, especially for the past few years and as we’ve gotten so divided, and the way I describe tolerance, which is trying to understand other people’s perspectives, just because we’re trying to understand and other person’s perspective doesn’t mean that we have to give into whatever they think that we should believe. So tolerance, I think it’s not just tolerating another person’s opinion or perspective, but it’s also realizing that you have to respect yourself and that they need to tolerate your opinion. And if they won’t tolerate your perspective, and they are just demanding that you know, bend the knee as that saying is, as you give in to whatever they say, yeah. That’s not good either. I think that’s exactly what you’re talking about. Like where is that line?
Yeah. And I think the other thing, and we’re seeing this in public schools a lot, is can you be tolerant of stances that you think might not be morally correct to you? Or things you don’t think the government, you know, morals, you don’t think the government should be placing on you? And there’s been a lot of problems with what people are teaching in public schools, right? And when parents strike back and they say, oh, I’m not comfortable with my child learning that people will be like, why are you so hateful? You know, why aren’t you tolerant of this person’s belief? And then you have to wonder like, okay, but why aren’t you tolerant of me? So I think you brought up a good point. You know, we, tolerance goes both ways. It’s not just, you need to be tolerant of people who disagree with you. That means that people also need to be tolerant of you. And that’s where I think we’ve gone astray a little bit where we expect everybody to respect us and be kind to us, but we’re not giving that back. And I think we’re all guilty of that. I think I’ve been guilty about that, especially when it comes to the social justice stuff that has been going on. You know? And I hate that they’ve kind of hijacked the term social justice because of course we want justice, right? Especially as people who believe in liberty. I think we believe in justice so much, but I think that’s become a big thing where if you don’t agree with something, then you’re all of a sudden, you know, you are a bad person. And I also wanna talk about, ’cause I think the tolerance and the non-aggression principle, which we’ve talked about a lot, and that is in, Tuttle twins and you know, the golden rule and we’ve talked about that, but, so tolerance and the NAP and the reason I put these two together is I wanted to kind of switch it a little bit and to make it more of a how much can you tolerate, right? So at one point are you, can you no longer tolerate something? And I think the non-aggression principle is a perfect guideline for that, right? You should try your best to be tolerant and respect other people’s opinions, but the second they aggress upon you, right? The second that they start trying to be violent or violating you your life, liberty, or property, then I think you don’t have to be so kind. Not kind, I don’t wanna say not be kind, but you don’t have to be, you know, tolerant anymore. What do you think about that, Ronnie?
Ronnie: Well it actually reminds me, of a couple of issues back in the magazine, we had an article that talked about some of these things because I think this is a really important topic for kids nowadays, especially when we talk about things like tolerance or anti-bullying. And everyone I think wants to be kind, we want to give others the benefit of the doubt, but at what point does that, are you being too kind and letting other people take advantage of you? So at what point do you have to stand up for yourself so that you’re not being bullied? And so I think the non-aggression principle is so great in this because it teaches don’t aggress on others, but also recognize if someone is aggressing upon you and you don’t have to let other people aggress upon you either.
Brittany: No, I think that’s perfect, right? It’s the don’t tread on me, kind of thing with, the snake. Even though I feel like we’ve, we’ve let people tread on us. The founders had a great idea with that. Unfortunately, we haven’t really stuck to it. But yeah, no, I think that’s so important. And, again, part of the reason I wanted to talk about this particularly now is ’cause I do want people to know that it is okay to be pe to be friends with people you don’t agree with. Like, tolerance is great. It’s great to tolerate people’s beliefs that you don’t, you know, agree with. And then have them do the same. You know, I’ve actually recently become friends with somebody who’s like a pretty left-wing, like a socialist. But the reason I know her is because she worked with all my friends in college who were libertarians because they believed in similar things, right? Like t s a and privacy. Like, they came together on those issues. And it reminded me, I’m like, I don’t even, it’s not even just that I have to tolerate her because I like her. We actually have a lot of things we agree on and how cool is that, that we can be so disconnected on some issues? And yet, you know, we agree on things so much. So I think tolerance is really important, but I do also think it is very important that, that we stand up for that. You know, I can tolerate somebody saying that they believe in taxes, but the second they try to aggress upon me to raise my taxes even, you know, I would have a little bit of an argument with them on that. So, there’s a way to be I like that you said as people, you know, we want to be kind. ’cause I think that that is accurate. I don’t think anyone’s default though. I think we’ve all had days where we wake up on the wrong side of the bed, as they say, and we’re just grumpy. I know I have, maybe you haven’t Ronnie, but I know I have.
Ronnie: Yes, of course.
Brittany: But no, I think that’s a really important lesson. And so I’d love our listeners to even think about times in their life when they have to be tolerant. And I know when I was growing up, a lot of that was with my little sister ’cause she just bugged the heck out of me so much. But keeping the peace and being a good older sister was more important. So, Ronnie, do you have any closing thoughts before I wrap up?
Ronnie: No. But I do really do think this is such an important topic. Topic and it is, a topic that it does sometimes get difficult to know. Yeah, how far to be tolerant and how to, yeah. How to not let others take advantage of you, but also still be able to stand up for yourself. So I think it’s a great topic.
Brittany: Absolutely. And not even just political views, right? This could be in everything. Well you guys, we’ll wrap it up there. Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast, share with your friends, and don’t forget to even, you know, contact us and ask us questions or ideas for episodes we wanna connect with you guys. So we will end it there and we will talk to you next time.