Letters: The left does not need to be more tolerant

Guest Author

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Dear Editor,

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This letter is a response to Arisson Stanfield’s column “Leftist intolerance at CSU needs to be addressed” that ran August 20th, 2018.

The notion that “Leftist intolerance” needs to be curtailed is the very reason far-right radicalism has a stranglehold on the entire right-wing of politics in the United States. The paradox of tolerance, as developed by Karl Popper, is playing out right before our very eyes. The paradox is that society cannot ever be tolerant to everything, otherwise the society itself will be hijacked by the intolerant though means of scare tactics and blame.

The far-right has been associated with intolerance and hatred in every form. From the Holocaust and lynchings to homophobia and immigrant targeting, it does not matter who they target, it is the fact that they will target any group if it means convincing the population and rising to power. The far-right has used these very tactics, coupled with the demand for their free speech, to seize the reins on right wing ideology.

The road from legitimate suspicion to rampant paranoia is very much shorter than we think” – Jean-Luc Picard, “Star Trek: The next generation”

The very notion that the left needs to be “more tolerant” is exactly how we got into this historic disaster.

Far-right ideologies, such as Breitbart and the Traditionalist Workers Party, forced their way into the Republican mainstream. The same thing has happened time and time again in nations throughout history, has happened here to the Republican party. Russia in the 1990’s, Libya with Gaddafi, Egypt with Mubarak, Syria with Al-Assad, Iraq with Hussein, Mexico in the Mexican Revolution, countless dictatorships, and Germany in 1932. The same thing is happening in the United States right now., and we’re falling for it.

We’re falling for the fear, the paranoia, the conspiracies and the blind patriotism. The mistake is that we think we are immune.

We think we are immune because we are the top of the world and we have this unique history with a unique culture.

The fact is our uniqueness means nothing, the power means nothing. We are just as vulnerable as every other nation in history and we will always be just as vulnerable. The only way to prevent the far-right is to never give it a chance to take root.

The only reason far-right atrocities have been successful throughout history is because people are complacent and tolerant.

The Holocaust museum in Washington D.C. is a truly incredible place but it has a focus like no other museum; how was such a thing committed? The common thought is that average, every day people would not fall for such ideas. The museum clearly warns that this is the single fallacy that makes hatred and intolerance possible.

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The fact is that everyday people, your neighbors, friends, family, loved ones and most importantly you, are all vulnerable to their rhetoric.

Many will say I am jumping to conclusions and drawing clear lines to extremism that “are not there”. Let me stress once again, “The road from legitimate suspicion to rampant paranoia is very much shorter than we think.” The fact is that history is repeating itself, the things that we were taught as the worst atrocities of human kind are at our doorstep.

We see headlines about “children in cages” and “separating families.” This is just the beginning. We are living the beginning of far-right extremism. If the left tolerates even a small portion of the far-right’s current actions, we will all loose. If you still think I am “extreme,” don’t say you were not warned when it comes.

One last point to complete this response, let us not equate left-wing and right-wing extremism. Right-wing extremism gave us the Holocaust. Left-wing extremism gave us the weekend.

Connor Cheadle, Junior

Political science, history, & anthropology

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