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08-25-21 – Intolerance in Modern America Download

00:57 Download August 25th, 2021

“What is the root of intolerance?”

From a neuroscience perspective, intolerance is driven by a primal fear response. This fear originates in a part of the brain called the limbic system. That’s where the amygdala (which handles the fight, flight or freeze response) is situated.

Intolerance in one form or another helps fuel many major conflicts – such as in Northern Ireland, the Middle East and many other countries and organizations as well as an uncountable number of inter-personal disputes.

“This gives these citizens a broad range of groups, perhaps covering a considerable expanse of ideological territory. Also noted is that the Theory of a Democratic Republic includes EQUAL justice for all.”

Intolerance breeds separation, misunderstanding, and hostility between groups. When groups have no opportunity to settle their disagreements by discussion, they are apt to resort to fighting. Intolerance therefore can play a leading part in fostering civic disorders, and especially in fostering revolution

What are some of the underlying causes of intolerance? Fear is a main source of intolerance, fear of the unknown. People are ignorant and are prejudiced against another group of people based upon one incident. People are not accepting and lazy enough to not learn about others.

It is focused intolerance that is dangerous and pernicious

Nearly all agree that some sort of closed-mindedness or psychological rigidity contributes to intolerance, even if the precise label attached to the concept varies across researchers

Whether intolerance is principled (bound up within an ideology), focused, “empowered”

And even where intolerance does not directly produce political violence, the failure of democratizing regimes to embrace political freedom for all, even those in the opposition, has become one of the most important impediments to the consolidation of democratic reform throughout the world (as in the so-called illiberal democracies—see Zakaria 2003)

Perhaps most common throughout the world today, governments that have become accustomed to political power often seek to prohibit opposition groups from participating in the marketplace of ideas.6 Without a willingness to put up with all ideologies seeking to compete for the hearts and minds of the citizenry the market is likely to fail.

Whenever the definition of tolerance is considered, critics question whether certain types of “extreme” speech must be protected.

A second constraint on freedom is more subtle: It originates in the political culture of a polity—the beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviors of ordinary citizens. Restraints on freedom can certainly emanate from public policy; but they can also be found in subtle demands for conformity within a society’s culture.

mass political intolerance can be a useful form of political capital for those who would in turn enact repressive legislation. To the extent that a political culture emphasizes conformity and penalizes those with contrarian ideas, little tolerance exists, and the likelihood of political repression is high.

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