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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Words and Meaning

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The photo-op/media event that is our southern border at the moment seems to be a perfect illustration of how misunderstood certain words have become.

“Tolerance” is trumpeted as a value without regard to what it is being tolerated.  There have to be limits.  Are we to tolerate, say, murder?  I don’t think so.  “Tolerance” is not a value – tolerance is a characteristic. Tolerance is exhibited when practicing the virtue of patience.  Patience implies someone is learning or becoming something else.  Tolerance for tolerance sake is a recipe for chaos.  Likewise, “diversity” is trumpeted as a value.  But the problem is diversity assumes different viewpoints all headed in the same direction.  Think of it this way – Fords, Chevys, Toyotas and Nissans all headed down the street in the same direction – that’s diversity.  But all those different cars headed in any random direction, well that is chaos.

Tolerance and diversity are not values unto themselves, they are goods, but they are not fundamental values.  That becomes even more apparent when we begin to examine “compassion.”  Because we have come to view tolerance and diversity as fundamental values, it has perverted our view of compassion.  We now think it compassionate to tolerate, for the sake of diversity, an influx of aggressive scofflaws, if not invaders.  I have seen article after article making this case in the last 48 hours.  The same thing applies to so many laws, customs and simple decencies that have defined our nation and our culture since its inception.  We are rapidly becoming all those diverse makes of cars headed not in a single direction, but careening randomly about the streets in any direction.  That is going to result in countless collisions and hence countless injuries and property loss – where’s the compassion now?

So much have we come to misunderstand things like tolerance, diversity and compassion that we cannot recognize this entire “caravan” and border storming for what it is.  We let our desire for our wrongful understanding of these things overwhelm the common sense notion that people trying to illegally cross any international border are not spontaneously that well organized.  Someone with an agenda is organizing this.  I could speculate for hours who and what agenda, but it would be pure speculation.  The point to walk away with right now is that we are failing to see it for the sake of misunderstood ideas.

Our political system is not designed to teach people what these words mean.  In point of fact in order to have a light touch, our government is designed precisely to let other institutions do the teaching of such things.  Maybe it is time to focus somewhere besides the government.  Media friends out there – consider that a hint.


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