Most people appear to have understood that my last column was an acceptance of Glenn Beck’s ultimatum. So that’s great and I appreciate it. But some people didn’t understand it. Some even made remarks accusing the column of being too black-and-white in its approach or even outright intolerant of differing beliefs. Yet the fact is those who have beliefs similar to mine are quite tolerant. In fact, we are tolerant to a fault.
Glenn Greenwald is a perfect example of this.
Greenwald, a sodomite and anti-American, has become a hero to the left and right because of how he is helping Edward Snowden attack the NSA.
Yet, Greenwald has been a leading figure in demonizing U.S. and Western troops. He wrote, “WikiLeaks releases video of slaughter in Iraq – Every American should watch the reality of what we do when we invade and occupy other countries,” in Salon during 2010. And then he wrote the following in, “Was the London Killing of a British Soldier ‘Terrorism’?” in The Guardian in May 2013:
In the Guardian today, former British soldier Joe Glenton, who served in the war in Afghanistan, writes under the headline “Woolwich attack: of course British foreign policy had a role”. He explains:
“While nothing can justify the savage killing in Woolwich yesterday of a man since confirmed to have been a serving British soldier, it should not be hard to explain why the murder happened. . . . It should by now be self-evident that by attacking Muslims overseas, you will occasionally spawn twisted and, as we saw yesterday, even murderous hatred at home. We need to recognise that, given the continued role our government has chosen to play in the US imperial project in the Middle East, we are lucky that these attacks are so few and far between.”
This is one of those points so glaringly obvious that it is difficult to believe that it has to be repeated.
I previously served in the Army Reserve and deployed to Iraq. I was in one of the safest, easiest places to be and did nothing out of the ordinary. But I could have been killed nonetheless. And perhaps Greenwald or like-minded people would have rationalized that like they have done with other troops. That offends me. Yet America as a whole, while not necessarily agreeing with Greenwald, holds his beliefs as socially acceptable. I tolerate that differing belief.
Other examples of us tolerating differing beliefs even when they threaten us are easy to find.
According to a 2007 “FOX News Poll: Nearly 1 in 5 Democrats Say World Will Be Better Off if U.S. Loses War” in Iraq. And yet the Democratic Party remains perfectly acceptable to Americans. Both the left and right tell us to find common ground with its supporters and learn to be civil with them. I disagree with that since their anti-war efforts ran directly against my physical well-being yet I still tolerate them. And I continue tolerating other people even as their beliefs run counter to my own well-being:
— Louis Farrakhan has disparaged U.S. troops and rationalized terrorists. (“Establishment Liberals: Terry Jones Is Worse Than Louis Farrakhan” – Breitbart, September 2011)
— Code Pink might have actively assisted terrorists (with possible help from members of Congress). (“Boxer, Waxman under fire for approving radical mission behind enemy lines” –The Daily Caller, October 2010)
— U.S. national policy supports “Legitimate Islamism.” (“Can Obama Safely Embrace Islamists?” – National Journal, April 2012)
— Ron Paul has said that jihadists murdering Americans is blowback from U.S. actions. Other libertarians apparently agree with him (“Guilty of aiding the American people” – The Daily Caller, July 2013).
On top of all this, I, a Christian, served in the U.S. armed forces as it waged jihad throughout the world, establishing officially Islamic theocracies in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq even as it devastated Christianity in both nations. How’s that for tolerance to a fault?
And military matters aren’t the only areas where we tolerate differing beliefs.
Ted Kennedy killed a woman but he is lionized in American culture. We tolerate this although we fundamentally disagree with it.
America has moved on from insisting that abortion is a right and now believes that there are instances of wrongful lives (“Should Parents Who Won $50 Million in Wrongful Birth Lawsuit be Allowed to Raise Their Son?” – LifeNews.com, December 2013). We disagree but we tolerate that belief.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not complaining. I am simply stating what is publicly acceptable—what the rules of society are—and demonstrating how people who share beliefs similar to mine are quite tolerant of differing beliefs . . . even when those beliefs threaten our safety or survival.
But at the same time, we all get to play by these rules. So I see no reason why I shouldn’t be able to advocate against anyone or any group of people if they choose to stand for the wrong thing. And since I tolerate beliefs which directly go against my interests and well-being, that support enemy actions, or that wish me dead, I would expect others to tolerate my beliefs instead of insisting that I share their conciliatory views.
Paul Hair honorably served in the U.S. Army Reserve as a non-commissioned officer; he is veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has worked as a civilian in both the government and private sectors. His writings have appeared at various websites. Paul now runs The Security and Culture Intelligencer website (http://scintelligencer.blogspot.com/) and is an independent consultant for Wikistrat, a strategic analysis and forecasting network. Connect with him at the S&CI website and on Twitter at @PaulHair1.
Image: Courtesy of: http://wikipedia.orange.fr/wiki/Patience