Monday, April 4, 2016

Tolerating Today's Tolerance

While tolerance serves to combat radicalism, tolerance can fuel radical ideas as well. Today's social climate indicates that we must rethink the way we utilize social media, in order to preserve a truly tolerant environment.

Our Digital Society. We all post on facebook, tweet, and share youtube videos. This new level of connectivity not only brings us closer but more openly exposes our ideas and beliefs. As society slowly adapts, new social norms begin to emerge, not all of which are beneficial.

The Overly Tolerant Internet. The internet is now a domain where ideas circulate uncontrollably. People expect tolerance and acceptance, but even more so online. Ideas that are normally filtered through social circles spread more easily behind the facade our parallel internet lives sometimes offer. This overly tolerant nature seems to breed radicalism.

Is Tolerance the Problem? Zak Ibrahim, son of the 1993 WTC bombing mastermind, gives his views on tolerance in his TED talk.

Zak claims that terrorists aren't born, but bred. With time, they emerge out of hate-filled ideologies and dogma. He believes that through several life experiences with people from different backgrounds, cultures, and religions, he developed a more tolerant perspective than his father. His respect for tolerance drove him to choose peace over terror.

Hitler and Chamberlain
Tolerance vs Appeasement: The Downfall of Europe. At this point, it is important to recognize the difference between tolerance and appeasement. Before the outbreak of WWII, Hitler began invading land surrounding Germany, violating the terms clearly established after the conclusion of WWI. Britain and other countries were unsure what the best course of action would be. Bertrand Russell, a Nobel prize-winning philosopher, and Neville Chamberlain, the UK Prime Minister, recommended and adopted a policy of appeasement. The results were disastrous.

Appeasing the Internet. Social media users don't seem to acknowledge radical ideas as before. It's
easier to continue reading your Facebook news feed than to stop, comment, and defend your beliefs. Bigotry and prejudice have wrongly been attached to the checks and balances normal society has on radicalism. Online, these checks and balances don't exist.
Working the System. Social Media should be used to not just circulate but filter ideas. By improving the feedback loop behind social media, we improve the rate at which society grows and develops.

**All images used under CC license.

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