I see that Howard Dean is preaching the New Gospel
again. The quote that's gotten a lot of pixels thus far is his little "we're good, they're evil" ditty. But here's what made me perk up (emphasis mine):
"Moderate Republicans can't stand these people (conservatives), because they're intolerant. They don't think tolerance is a virtue," Dean said, adding: "I'm not going to have these right-wingers throw away our right to be tolerant."
Well, of course we don't think tolerance is a virtue...because it's not!!
Tolerance is an attitude
, not a virtue. I wrote about the distinction in this post
two months ago:
(2) Tolerance is not a virtue. Virtues are always proper whenever they're practiced regardless of the circumstances. It is always proper to act with love, compassion, and patience. Tolerance, however, is proper only if the action or idea being tolerated meets some minimal standard. Tolerance of slavery, for example, hardly recommends itself without some other qualifiers (and they better be damn good qualifiers, like trying to save a new country).
Whether tolerance is proper depends on the object of the attitude while virtues depend on the intention of the subject. Thus, to say that one is tolerant is not to say that one is automatically virtuous, nor does intolerance automatically mean that one is wrong about the topic in question.
Sheesh. And we're
the ones who aren't supposed to understand nuance.