How many cars enter London every day, competing for a limited number of parking spaces? Despite the congestion charge. Resigned to suffer diabolical traffic wardens and their fines? Why do I tolerate such unsocial, immoral behaviour in my street? Should I not get a sledgehammer and start working those cars over? Smashing up their windscreens? Letting down their tires? Splashing paint over the bodywork? Why not? Why am I not a little less tolerant?
And the tobacco industry? Why is that tolerated? I recall a cartoon showing President G.W. Bush on TV swearing with passion: ‘We shall pursue those criminals, those mass murderers! We shall track them down, arrest them and bring them to justice!’ Two tobacco industry bosses are watching. One looks worried but the other reassures him: ‘Relax. He is talking about Islamist terrorists, not about us!’ A joke that told the truth.
The tobacco industry…those who grow, prepare for sale, ship and actually sell the death sticks. Tobacco manufacturers are global operators, they have 44 cigarette factories in 39 countries – I cull that from their own website. I spare you info about the dire effects of smoking – you know them already. And that lot don’t call themselves merchants of death. Funny that.
Why not a bit more intolerance towards those gentlemen? The poor priest cannot afford to be sued so I won’t say anything more but…you get my drift. And the arms trade? Huh! A deadly business – literally. Especially when it sells arms to tyrannical and oppressive regimes. Such the despotic ruler of the tiny Gulf state of Bahrain. Despite a current popular uprising, the British government supports the cabal in power. Small arms exports to the tune of £ 4.6 million exported to Bahrain in 2012. Don’t need super imagination to figure out what those arms have been used for. CAAT, the campaigns against arms trade, agitates against the intolerable, dirty business but…is that enough? Intolerance to the intolerable should go further, surely.
OK, these seem all impeccable PC, leftish causes but…. what about abortion? The left really loathes talking about it. It is ‘right wing’. Yet, methinks it is still morally right to oppose abortion. Something morally intolerable. Maybe a little less tolerance is required about killing innocent babies in the womb, too?
Why isn’t there a tad less tolerance of the intolerable? I surmise the answer is because doing anything ‘muscular’ might involve taking risks. Breaking the law of the land, for instance. With painful consequences for the activists. To put it plainly: it is down to personal timidity. Lack of courage. Pusillanimity, that’s it. Having the courage not to tolerate the intolerable is not for everybody. That is why righteous, brave militants are always a minority. But a minority if well-guided can quickly become a vanguard. And carry masses ahead with it, towards the goal, like Lenin did in 1917. You don’t like this example? It is the method that I am praising, not the cause, folks!
But…Disregarding the law? Violence? Isn’t that wrong? It depends. When slavery was legal, don’t people admire the slave who rose up and rebelled? Progressive-minded persons never cease to invoke the suffragettes. Women who threw bombs and caused public affrays because they no longer wished to tolerate what they saw as intolerable. Even when the majority of women way back did not give two hoots about voting. The vanguard carried them with it to victory, nevertheless.Therefore, could intolerance in some cases be a virtue? Be praiseworthy? Or be indeed morally imperative? The priest thinks so.