Thursday, May 2, 2019

Absolutism: Tolerance is a "pseudo-virtue?"

Aaron Ames
Aaron Ames, Christian Supremacist
via The Federalist
Aaron Ames is a high school teacher. He teaches rhetoric, logic, speech, and literature at Trinity Christian Academy in Lexington, Kentucky. Mr. Ames has also written a treatise for the Federalist titled: Why Christian Children Don’t Belong In Public Schools.

His is a verbose and convoluted dissertation. In addition to the subject Mr. Ames wants to demonstrate his intellect. That might work in a Christian secondary school in Kentucky. He includes these two gems:
One: Perhaps many of us have been equally convinced that the study of the material world (science) has very little to do with the study of God (theology). Where did we receive such ideas?
I hate to break it to Mr. Ames but the study of science has absolutely nothing to to with theology. Theology deals with a belief system which is based on faith. Science, in contrast, is based on evidence. That is not to say that theology is unimportant. However, it is unrelated to science. Faith should not be confused with evidence. They are logical opposites.
Two: Traditional morality is being devoured by that one enlightened pseudo-virtue of tolerance, also known as indifference.
So-called “traditional morality” is based, in part, on ignorance. Ignorance is the backbone of prejudice. For example, we know a great deal more about LGBT people now than even 25 years ago. We know that people are not gay or transgender because they have made bad choices in life. The notion that tolerance is a pseudo-virtue is spectacularly obtuse if not utterly ignorant.

Furthermore, calling something traditional does not necessarily mean that it is good. Traditional computer science would not be a big draw. Traditional values is often code for treating other people badly.

It is not just sexual minorities at issue. Religious minorities deserve our tolerance as well. Hindus, Muslims, Atheists, Buddhists and Jews do not agree with many, possibly all, Christian teachings. That does not make them evil or immoral.

Teaching tolerance is one of the greatest accomplishments of educators because it prepares people for real life where, for example, they might have to work for, or with, people they do not approve of. The Christian bubble is diminishing and confinement within that artifice is extremely limiting. Teaching tolerance often means teaching kids to be nice. How pernicious.

I would settle for indifference if that means not judging people by arbitrary standards often proffered by sanctimonious hypocrites. Apparently in Mr. Ames' world kindness is synonymous with indifference. Based on Mr. Ames' rhetoric I suspect that he is teaching intolerance which is an unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one's own.

Of equal importance, Mr. Ames appears to be an absolutist. Absolutism, if conveyed to young people, diminishes intellectual curiosity and crushes critical thinking. These are not attributes which will contribute to one's future success.

If tolerance is, as he says, a “pseudo-virtue” then intolerance must be an ideal; an ethic to be cherished. Those are fine values that self-righteous gasbags like Aaron Ames are teaching children.

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