Is Tolerance Dead?

One wag replied to me that “tolerance isn’t a virtue.” And, indeed, he had a point. Most people who aren’t vaccinated aren’t the right wing crazies and conspiracy theorists, but ordinary people who harbor sincere fears and concerns. There are a not-insignificant number of physicians and nurses who have chosen not to be vaccinated. The New York Times recently noted that only 28% of people between the ages of 18 and 44 are vaccinated.

Their reasons vary from concerns about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine to more idiosyncratic views.

A construction site safety manager in Queens said that as a Black man, he was more worried about the prospect of being stopped by the police than he was about getting Covid-19.

A graduate student in the Bronx who had not gotten vaccinated said her worst fears seemed confirmed when a vaccine that the government was directing to Black and poorer neighborhoods was briefly suspended over a small number of dangerous blood clots.

And a civil rights activist in the Bronx said he grew suspicious when he heard last year that politicians were prioritizing minority neighborhoods for coronavirus vaccinations.

“Since when does America give anything good to Black people first?” said the activist, Hawk Newsome, a 44-year-old Black Lives Matter leader who is unvaccinated.

While these views may be wrong and foolish, are they not sincere? These aren’t people who don’t necessarily care about the health of others. There is nothing here to suggest they won’t wear masks or socially distance since they’re unvaccinated. But while the media has created the impression that the only people not being vaccinated are right-wing nutjobs, the reality is that most unvaccinated people are neither right wing nor nutjobs. They have what they consider to be sincere reasons for their decisions.

Some felt the need to state the obvious, that the decision not to get vaccinated didn’t alleviate the duty not to infect others, and they should still mask and socially distance. Others ironically assumed the worst of others.*

Instead of trying to respect their concerns and persuade them to accept the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, or in the alternative take the reasonable precautions to protect others if they choose to adhere to their choice, they are attacked. Even worse, they are under attack by idiots, whether because they assume that anyone who isn’t vaccinated must be some MAGA wacko or their capacity for reason falls slightly below that of a pebble.

I don’t go around pissing on strangers, but I respect the sincere reasons some have decided to whip out their dicks on the sidewalk and piss on perfect strangers.

Too many can’t respect anyone who practices public incontinence. This doesn’t work.

A less bizarre effort that emerged was analogizing the decision not to be vaccinated with drunk driving, seat belts and stop signs. The analogy might be apt as to those who assert their “freedom,” but fails miserably for those who have sincere concerns that the vaccine is inadequately tested and fear harm. Driving sober doesn’t implicate a concern that it will damage you or your unborn child, even if that concern is wrong and without scientific basis.

But the issue morphed from assumptive intolerance for those who had a sincere reason to choose not to be vaccinated to the more generalized notion that tolerance itself was the evil.**

The irony of “I believe in the public good and anyone who disagrees with me should die” shouldn’t be lost. There is a strong sense of this among the woke, and particularly with baby lawyers who should have been trained to reason. While some might come around to a deeper or more mature grasp of the problem of intolerance, at least in this instance, if someone explained why their shallow assumptions were false, it’s not just easy, but hip, to take a position that attacks the MAGA tribe, even if in doing so they’re blind to the fact that the people they’re really attacking range from doctors and nurses to school teachers to black people in New York City. But when your online world is a bubble of similarly situated geniuses, such simplistic idiocy wins applause from the crowd. And isn’t that what it’s all about for dumb but lonely children?

Progressive intolerance is hardly a new thing. For years now, they have fought to prevent ideas  with which they disagree from being heard, to eradicate words from the lexicon because they may sound similar to slurs and to demand that heretics be canceled. Yes, the right has seized upon intolerance as well, but that doesn’t make progressive intolerance any less ugly. You can’t claim to be the side of morality and decency while flying the flag of intolerance. Or can you?

This perspective only makes sense if you think of vaccination as a matter of conscience, like religion, and not a matter of social responsibility, like (say) speed limits.

This comes not from some snarky child, but a senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU law school and former Nassau County appeals ADA. To his credit, Ames Grawert at least sees an opening for those who make a choice “as a matter of conscience,” but can’t imagine any person with a sincere, albeit wrong, reason exists. Even more concerning is that this intolerance isn’t because its mandated/prohibited by law [like (say) speed limits], but as a “matter of social responsibility.”

Unlike the dolts, Grawert is a serious person.  And yet he can’t conceive of any person holding a non-religious sincere reason that’s worthy of tolerance. Not agreement. Not acquiescence.  Merely tolerance.

As for me, I will continue to do what I can to persuade people to get vaccinated, because I believe its the best course for both individuals and society even if there are sincere reasons to choose otherwise. I have the capacity to respect people who disagree with me, whether they’re prosecutors or judges, and still do everything in my power to persuade. But I will not hate them, attack them, or wish them harm for not adhering to what I consider the best course of action. That’s because I still consider tolerance a virtue.

Fortunately, I’m not alone. Unfortunately, intolerance is the virtue now for progressive lawyers, and they would much rather put their efforts into attacking disagreement with their rigid ideological assumptions rather than persuading 72% of black people between the ages of 18 and 44 to get vaccinated even though their life could depend on it.

*In anticipation of the reaction that it was my failure to “explain” for the sake of the unduly passionate that I wasn’t referring to the MAGA anti-vaxxers about whom they obsess, but others, such as doctors and nurses, that’s your delusion. I’m not your therapist.

**I’ve deleted the name as the identity of who twitted this is irrelevant.

71 thoughts on “Is Tolerance Dead?

  1. Miles

    Much as I respect your efforts, do you really believe you can get these narcissistic little shits to open their minds to such a horrible idea as tolerance? They would rather spend all day coming up with idiotic arguments than ten seconds considering the possibility that they’re wrong.

    And they’ll hate you for it.

    1. SHG Post author

      On the one hand, who cares if they hate me. It’s not as if I need the validation of wayward children. On the other hand, what else can I do but try to get them to think rather than believe. Most will resist, but maybe a few will understand. More importantly, those who already understand but hide out of fear that their contemporaries will shun or ruin them will know that they are not alone.

  2. W. Justin Adams

    To be tolerant in this case is to be curious about why people do what they do and charitable enough to assume they have reasons for doing what they do. The reasons people give for not getting vaccinated are diverse, sometimes baffling, and often wrong, but they are interesting, and they are reasons, not mindless impulses. Which means the unvaccinated are susceptible to persuasion, at least if you treat them with respect and charity instead of mocking and attacking them.

  3. Paleo

    Tolerance is fine overall. As you point out, it’s the political dolts who can’t practice it. If you tolerate someone who thinks differently it’s harder to hate them because of their obvious inferiority. Empathy kills political hate, and these days if you can’t hate your political opponent you’re a Something in Name Only. And the smug idiocy with which they throw out their awful analogies is an awful look.

    The right is almost as bad – try going to a school board meeting to advocate for masks in school and risk being met in the parking lot by a mob of rich parents.

    As also as you point out, the media with their tiresome narrative crap exacerbates and mis-tells the story.

    But in the real world where most of us dwell tolerance is fine. The squeaky wheels scream crap on social media and it becomes reality even if it’s less than 10% of us doing the screaming.

  4. Grant

    For years now, they have fought to prevent ideas[] with which they disagree from being heard,

    Not agreement. Not acquiescence.[] Merely tolerance.

  5. John Barleycorn

    No worries, be tolerant, everyone has a different definition of the word pandemic, but throw in a variant here and another variant there and perhaps at last we will be talking about real incentives that patience and some tolerant chit chat about the definition of vaccine and some mad math-s can’t touch…

    I mean in the end what is “wrong” with letting a pandemic just run its due course anyway right?

    Besides reality is one of those virtues that should really take a back seat to peoples fears and perceptions every time, no?

    What could go wrong?

    P.S. They do not make maple bacon pretzels eeatemed one. Perhaps, with just a little more patience they could become a thing but don’t expect too much tolerance from folks on the park bench if they see you eating one.

    It is not that they really give a fuck about your “example/s” but lets face it, maple bacon pretzels are just a bad idea, even if they become a thing with a doctor and or nurse or two on the inter-tube bubble channels.

    But just so you know, I would be very tolerant of you eating one even if I could only shake my head and laugh. And no! I do not want to try a bite of your maple bacon pretzel… Keep that shit to yourself, don’t forget to brush your teeth, and whatever you do don’t tell anyone that you actually would like to try a maple bacon pretzel…

    All that twisting and turning of the dough logic will fuck up your reputation. Tolerance is, in the end, a virtue but lets face it, even the park pigeons who didn’t graduate boardwalk class are gonna raise an eyebrow.

      1. John Barleycorn

        If you really liked me I would be wearing the Spence Jacket when I go uptown to the VFW for brunch this afternoon to sharpen up my on my Mad Chit Chat Tolerance Skilz…, now that you got me all motivated!

        In fact, I think, I am gonna finally step-up and play Bloody Mary Recipe Referee between the golfers, fisherman and weekend warriors, now that you have inspired me with this here little enlarged prostrate of a post.

        Why did I not think of this before!!!!??? Meredith, my all time favorite bartender will probably give me at least two free drinks if I save her from having to deploy her infamous eye-roll, while poking olives, at the “weaponize-ers” of the vodka…

        Anyway, I appreciate it eesteemed one, but it could be some sort of misplaced Tolerance Chi that you are stubbornly holding on to…

        See you at the SJ Festival this fall!

        Where, “tolerance” will evaporate into “enlightenment” if you buy a t-shirt…

  6. Hunting Guy

    John Fleetwood.

    “ PhD-Educated Least Likely to Get Vaxxed: Carnegie Mellon University”

    Link for original Carnegie Mellon report is

    Some of the comments for the report tie right into the tolerance issue.

    (I know links are against the rules but it can be difficult to find. Please delete if desired.)

    QUICK FACTS from the Fleetwood article.

    “Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh researchers found that vaccine hesitancy is highest among those with a Ph.D.”

    “The study tracked vaccine hesitancy among U.S. adults between January and May 2021.
    Researchers surveyed more than 5 million Americans.”

    “Responders were asked whether they were “probably” or “definitely not” planning on getting a gene-based Covid-19 vaccine.”

    “The study showed that “by May Ph.D.’s were the most hesitant group,” reports the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).”

    “So not only are the most educated people most sceptical of taking the Covid vaccine, they are also the least likely the change their minds about it.”

    1. Pedantic Grammar Police

      The largest percentages of vaccine “hesitant” people are black, hispanic, or PHD-educated, and (not mentioned by the study) medical professionals. It’s obvious why black and hispanic people are “hesitant” based on history, but why do PHDs and medical professionals refuse the vaccine?

      A PHD does not necessarily measure intelligence, but people with PHDs, like medical professionals, are more able than the general population to understand how vaccines work, and to understand that the MRNA “vaccine” is not a vaccine at all. It is an experimental medical treatment that has never been tested long-term on humans. This particular set of MRNA “vaccines” had no long-term animal studies, but the vaccine industry has been trying to bring MRNA vaccines to market for at least a decade. Why have we not cured the common cold after a decade of trying? Because the long-term animal studies all result in dead animals. The vaccine appears to work fine at first, but within a year the animals die from auto-immune disease, or from complications caused by ADE (antibody-dependent enhancement).

      This time, we are the test animals. Blacks and hispanics refuse the vaccine based on gut feelings; based on justifiable suspicion toward the government and the medical establishment. PHDs and medical professionals refuse it because they understand how reckless and dangerous this experiment is.

      1. phv3773

        You make a good case for a more sophisticated Dunning-Kruger analysis: being too smart for your own good.

      2. rxc

        I seriously considered delaying vaccination when they first came out because I used to work for a Federal Govt regulatory agency, and I saw all the signs of incompetent political decision-making come from Dr. Fauci. It seemed to be prudent for me to delay, at least a few months, till I felt comfortable that nothing really terrible would happen.

        I think that I only waited a month, and then got the shots.

        I respect and tolerate those who don’t want to get the shots. But it seems like it would be time for them to come around and accept it, especially now that we have new variants popping up, and it appears that they can be slowed down by the vaccine for the original strain. I will get the booster, and hope (!) that all these shots do not cause an important part of my anatomy to drop off.

        I have a BS in ChemEng from Carnegie Mellon University.

  7. Denverite

    You have nailed a serious issue that the most passionate simply refuse to grapple with. If the test of a policy is whether it is intended to limit something that “imposes costs” on others we are doomed. Leaving aside whether it will actually limit those costs, this idea that anything that imposes costs on others must be prohibited is limitless and will rebound on those who advocate it. Too much of our current discourse is now blind to this issue and too many embrace it. On the left — the anti “hate speech” people who can’t understand that if the test for permitted speech is whether it offends someone their own speech which offends will be banned. One the right — the childish you can’t make me screaming about “freedom” for themselves to do what they want, but not for others. No society can function if anything that imposes costs on others is verboten. It devolves into a place where the strong eat the weak because they are strong and there isn’t anything to stop them. So tolerance is absolutely critical.

    1. SHG Post author

      Progressives are fighting an existential battle against everything, and the only thing tolerance does is weaken their resolve to win at all costs. If they were tolerant, they might be liberals, and as I’ve noted in the past, there is no one they hate worse than liberals.

  8. hans

    Seems like you tolerate all but the intolerant, right? Your tolerance allows you to criticize conscientiously unvaccinated people as “wrong and foolish.” Meanwhile devoting the entire screed to snarky belittling progressive devotees of intolerance to demonstrate your virtue.

    While I don’t necessarily disagree with your essay, I walk away wondering how you would define “tolerance.”

    On another note:

    It’s striking to me that analogies are often dismissed by those that choose to justify universal truths with anecdotal evidence. But I’ll tolerate that.

    Also, casually dropping factual statements w/o citing sources is always a peeve of mine, but I’ll tolerate it. (e.g., “Most people who aren’t vaccinated aren’t the right wing crazies and conspiracy theorists, but ordinary people who harbor sincere fears and concerns.”)

          1. Jake

            “Too many can’t respect anyone who disagrees about anything and instead attack. This doesn’t work.”

            1. SHG Post author

              That quote related to the vaccine hesitant, but that aside, I didn’t attack, Jake. I realize that anything short of unqualified validation seems like an attack to people who view the universe through the lens of a generation reared on constant praise for not drooling and participation trophies, but it’s not. It’s merely descriptive.

            2. Jake

              Would you say your replies in this thread have been respectful of views you disagree with?

              Whether you believe me or not, I’m trying to understand and appreciate the point you are trying to make this morning.

            3. SHG Post author

              While I suspect you’re old enough to understand, I will do you the courtesy of a serious reply. I posted the comment, so it’s there for all (even you) to read. To the extent it reflects anything worthwhile, I gave it daylight. I could have trashed it, but I didn’t. That’s respectful, whether I agree or not.

              Once posted, I could have replied, “Your a fucking moron and should die,” and that would have been an attack. But I didn’t say that. Instead, I pointed out that the comments was predicated on a childish perspective of what I wrote. I can’t help that someone read my post through their view of the world, but to point that out (and otherwise let it be without comment) is neither an attack nor disrespectful. It’s descriptive. That it confused you is beyond my ability to fix.

              Ironically, the issue wasn’t that I disagreed, but that the comment reflected my post through a very different lens than mine. Virtue, for example, is of grave concern to some, but I don’t give a damn if someone feels I’m virtuous. For kids, on the other hand, being seen as virtuous is critical. Even your question here, that I “disagree,” reflects an misapprehension of my approach. I care if a comment is rational, not whether I agree with it. People often leave comments with which I disagree, but offer rational arguments for their position. This did not, much like yours almost rarely contribute much to a discussion. And yet, I posted it because I am tolerant.

              Now you’re done for today.

    1. Steve Brecher

      Re: “Your tolerance allows you to criticize conscientiously unvaccinated people as ‘wrong and foolish.'”

      “While these views may be wrong and foolish…” is what Scott wrote. Views, not people. Tolerance is an aspect of respect for persons, not necessarily for specific views or opinions.

  9. Richard Kopf


    Your essay on tolerance ought to be memorized by each of us.

    You carefully note: “There is nothing here to suggest they won’t wear masks or socially distance since they’re unvaccinated.”

    Now, I also believe that the states have the power to require vaccinations assuming that there is a carve out for people who might be adversely physically impacted.* Whether that is a good idea raises a host of difficult issues upon which reasonable people may reasonably disagree. But that difficulty is off the point of your thoughtful essay.

    All the best.


    * Whether the federal government may so declare is not at all clear to me.

    1. Hunting Guy

      I know our host doesn’t like individual stories, but let’s bring it down to a personal level.

      I’m at risk for blood clots. I lost the sight in one eye because of a clot.

      Why the hell should I risk my quality of life or life itself due to a clot because some “narcissistic little shits” (thanks Miles) think everyone should get the shot?

      Who are they to run roughshod over my body and possibly kill me for what they think is their greater good?

      It may only be 4 in a million at risk for clots, but if you’re one of the four, well, to quote Samual Johnson, “When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”

      Yeah, maybe not all the shots are at a risk for clots but there are other side effects and I’m not willing to risk it.

      At least our host is willing to recognize my rights to my body, unlike the the woke crowd.

      Going to the Judge’s comment, I’m not seeing much in the way of exceptions for declining the shots.

      Bottom line – go ahead an get your shot, you decided that was best for you. God bless you.

      But keep your grubby paws off of me or I’ll bite.

      1. SHG Post author

        This is why the simplistic analogies fail so badly. This isn’t drunk driving or speeding, but for some an individual decision about their health. Whether you’re right or wrong isn’t the point; you’re making a decision based on your health status, and even if you’re wrong, it is hardly about rejecting your “social responsibility.”

  10. MollyG

    For those who don’t want to get vaccinated I have a proposal to them. Fine, you stay vaccinated but you realize that being vaccinated is a public health threat and you avoid indoor public gatherings, wear a mask anytime you are in a public area, and fully adhere to social distancing. That would separate those who don’t want a vaccine but otherwise take covid seriously and those who just like spreading covid.

      1. MollyG

        For someone who is writing about tolerance, you are pretty quick to insult people who are trying to add to the conversation. I was trying not to repeat what had already been said.

        1. Paleo

          Molly, when you refer to people who have different beliefs than you as “those who just like spreading Covid” – and there are actually zero people who enjoy spreading Covid – you’re not trying to add to the conversation.

          Read the post again. Try to develop enough self awareness to recognize that you’re who he is writing about. You’re not trying to persuade, you’re signaling your belief (terribly misbegotten) in your own superiority.

          1. SHG Post author

            MG inadvertently reflects one of the base assumptions of the intolerant, that anyone not vaccinated does so for malevolent and selfish reasons, and similarly refuses to mask or take other precautions. No doubt there are people like that, but that’s not who we’re talking about.

      2. Paleo

        Molly seems to be one of the subjects of your post. She is giving us a fine example of extreme intolerance. Thanks, Molly!!

        And Jake is (intentionally?) conflating mild criticism and intolerance. You can easily criticize while tolerating. It’s the easiest thing there is. I think Jake is smart and knows what he’s doing there, but of course I can’t be sure.

  11. L. Phillips

    Usually left out of the argument are folks like me who had Covid and retain the antibodies to prove it. Personally, I would just like to be left the hell alone to raise cows and grandkids but what feels more like a new secular sacrament than a medical treatment is thrust in my face at times and I give the above response. Confusion is the first reaction, usually followed by a quick return to the “appropriate” catechism of the needle.

    Zealotry is so predictable. I wish you luck in your quest for reasonable disagreement.

  12. st

    The heavy-handed censorship of dissenting views on anything related to covid creates and encourages intolerance. Those who choose not to get vaccinated immediately are prevented from presenting their reasoning and supporting evidence. Posting anything that contradicts the government covid narrative on any of the major platforms invites deletion, account suspension, deplatforming, or cancellation by the mob with loss of career and worse.

    This leaves the impression that people who choose not to get vaccinated are “anti-vaxxers,” dumb brutes, deplorables who have no valid reasons for their choices. The reality is that people with PhDs are the most skeptical and most likely to refuse to submit. But they cannot or dare not express their reasons.

    People who take vaccines but have decided to wait for the full Phase 3 trials to complete and the safety data to be published – we don’t exist. That possibility is never mentioned. “Vaccine hesitancy” is the only allowed explanation. It’s a loaded phrase that carries multiple negative connotations and inferences about mental state and function.

    Censorship and cancel culture are not just symptoms of intolerance, they are tools used to kill tolerance and make sure it stays dead.

    1. rxc

      This is an important point, because you could take our host’s wonderful essay and change the subject matter to hate speech and it would not change at all. Tolerance is all about letting other people disagree with you, and some people just cannot abide the thought that anyone disagrees with them.

      It is hard to argue that intolerance should not be tolerated. Out host has done a great job trying – but religions do not tolerate blasphemy or apostacy, and we are engaged in a new war of religion. And it is the people who have the strongest feelings – the fire in the belly – who drive all movements. And they are currently in full control of their movement.

      [edit; I see that I have been nija-ed, below]

  13. Pedantic Grammar Police

    I had Covid last year, and a few of my friends had it. This is anecdotal, but I and my other healthy friends didn’t think it was a big deal. It was the worst flu I ever had, but nowhere near as bad as other things I’ve had, mono for example, and I got through it by following my standard cold/flu regimen, staying in bed for a weekend, taking mega-doses of vitamin C and D, drinking lots of water, and working from home for 2 weeks.

    My friends who had serious medical problems or died from covid are/were all unhealthy. Obesity, diabetes, HIV and hepatitis is killing them; covid is just another nail in the coffin. I suspect that the rabid vaccine-pushers mostly fall into 2 groups; the terminally unhealthy for whom it would be that final nail, and the true believers who worship the twin gods of government and media. I was just talking to an old friend last night who regaled me with tales of his horrific long-lasting covid debilities. He has been a meth addict for 30 years, and paradoxically is also obese. Anecdotal yes, but I see the same thing in the news about covid deaths. Every single “child victim of covid” that I see trumpeted by the media is morbidly obese. The adult victims appear to be either obese or terminally unhealthy for other reasons (age, chronic illness, etc.). Studies that point out these connections are banned from the media, as is any study (or even congressional testimony from well-respected doctors) that talks about the cheap, easily available drugs that make the vaccine unnecessary. Am I crazy for being suspicious that this “vaccine” is not a well-meaning and well-planned attempt to fight a truly deadly pandemic? Why are the PTB so desperate to inject everyone, including those of us who have natural immunity?

    1. SHG Post author

      And I’ve had friends and acquaintances who were young and healthy, and are now dead. Your stories are no better than anyone else’s stories. More importantly, this is about as relevant to the post as MollyG’s comment.

    2. Paul Y

      I think the moment you say it’s “anecdote”, you are invalidating your viewpoint.

      There is a reason that science doesn’t use anecdotes as data points. Here, let me try: I don’t see any drug users anywhere in my not-rich town but hear about it all the time in media and papers. The media and papers must be lying.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    A while back I saw a twit from a “Progressive” who loudly proclaimed “the only thing we don’t tolerate is intolerance”and then proceeded to declare every group he disagreed with intolerant and thus safe to hate. Apparently they have learned from antifa.

  15. Pedantic Grammar Police

    Intolerance is the last refuge of the wrong, and a primary tactic of the liar. The truth cannot be tolerated because lies can’t compete.

  16. Drew Conlin

    As there are many comments I’ll make mine short. To the intolerant progressives: be careful what you ask for you just might get it.

  17. Sgt. Schultz

    So Ames Grawert is a big deal with the Brennan Center, perhaps the foremost criminal law reform think tank, and he can’t conceive of a single sincere reason why anyone would shirk his conception of social responsibility?

    This bodes very poorly for criminal law reform, if this is what they consider their best and brightest. I doubt he spends much time thinking about the efficacy of things rather than how to come up with rationalizations to sell his ideological approaches to his choir.

    1. SHG Post author

      I often wonder how much could be accomplished if the “smart” people put their energies into finding real solutions to real problems rather than coming up with fantasy fixes for faux problems.

      1. L. Phillips

        I had some experience with that concept in my callow youth. It didn’t go well. For the youth among us Google “Robert S. McNamara”.

      1. SHG Post author

        You really don’t want to ask that question here, do you? What a disgraceful fall from thoughtfulness into the disingenuous simplistic pandering that would make a teen vogue reader blush.

            1. David Meyer-Lindenberg

              Seriously for a sec: The entire time I’ve known you, you’ve treated Elie with enormous forbearance. If he wanted to give Scott Hech a run for his money, Scott Hech would be dead broke. I actually admire that about you, and it’s affected how I view Elie: However distasteful I find his output, the fact that there’s room for him at your table has helped me tolerate him. And I say “tolerate” advisedly, because but for your influence, I’m sure I’d be tempted to “hate [him], attack [him]” for the disingenuous, even racist (in John McWhorter’s understanding of the term) nonsense he causes to be put on the interwebz.

              So how hard can it be for Clark and the gang to be welcome at your table again? I sincerely think something of value has been lost ever since this stopped being the case. My impression, both when I interned for Clark and now, was that while SJ and Cato PCJ certainly didn’t agree all the time, there was a back-and-forth that was both intellectually stimulating and tolerant, even respectful. I know from personal experience that both of you took each other’s views seriously and were willing to engage with them, and thus with each other. My wish for Yom Kippur is that this’ll come to pass again.

            2. SHG Post author

              Elie comes by it honestly, even when he’s wrong. Clark does not. I believe I know why Clark is doing what he’s doing, pandering dishonestly to the idiots much like Hech does to get them to back the causes he believes to be “right,” but as much as I can tolerate disagreement, the deliberate decision to abandon integrity, even to achieve a good outcome, crosses the line.

              You know, and I know, that he knows better. Yet he does it anyway.

            3. David Meyer-Lindenberg

              I actually hold the opposite view: I don’t think Elie honestly comes by the views he expresses in public, but I do think Clark does. I’m willing to believe Elie’s putting on a show for the groundlings: It’s frankly implausible he’s dumb enough to believe the things he says, plus he’s a good entertainer, silver-tongued, the kind of guy who’s naturally inclined to a bit of huckstering. And I don’t mind! I sincerely don’t (not that much anyway), because some of your forbearance has rubbed off on me. And I’m open to the possibility that I’m wrong.

              Meanwhile, in the time I spent working with Clark, I found him to be honest, deeply so, with an integrity I admire. I don’t believe he would compromise his beliefs in order to pander. If you found him too blithe about, for example, the downsides to individual defendants that would result from certain reform efforts, like a large-scale attempt to jam up plea bargains, I think that’s a defensible position to take. If it were true, it might even signify that he’s been taking an ends-justify-the-means stance – at least in some instances. But it’s not an indicator that he wasn’t being forthright! And if he does in fact think that way and is wrong to do so, or has been inconsistent, I can’t believe it’d be born of anything other than honest mistake or sincere disagreement.

              You say in the post that “I have the capacity to respect people who disagree with me, whether they’re prosecutors or judges, and still do everything in my power to persuade.” Well, this is such a good example of a guy with whom it’d be appropriate do that that it hurts. I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, etcetera.

            4. Sgt. Schultz

              DML- Your pitch interested me enough to compare Elie’s and Clark’s respective twitter feeds. I’m unclear as to your point. Are you saying that Clark’s tweets aren’t sophomoric pandering or are you saying that if Scott can tolerate Elie’s sophomoric pandering, he should tolerate Clark’s as well?

              And an observation: Clark appears to be far more attuned to the woke than anyone else. Whatever integrity you saw in him, are you sure he hasn’t happily given it away to gain cred with the credulous? There is nothing about his twitter feed that says integrity to me. Granted, I only know what I see, but isn’t that Scott’s point?

            5. David Meyer-Lindenberg

              @Sgt. Schultz – That’s a good question. I guess I take both positions: What Clark puts on the internet isn’t sophomoric pandering, and if SHG disagrees, I ask why Elie’s in but Clark’s out. It’s the second point that interested me in this thread.

              That said, the first point is interesting too. Disclaimer: I gave up twitter long ago and only occasionally check in on what a few people are doing. But I checked in on Clark’s feed today, prompted by your comment, and can honestly say I don’t see anything I’d call pandering, and also (and more importantly) know that Clark’s contributions to CJ debates consist of much more than just his twitter feed. Like this law review article, which I happen to think is excellent and largely pander-free (and towards which I’m only very slightly biased by the fact I helped him write it).

              Kinda similarly, it’s not primarily Elie’s twits that annoy me, but his op-eds. And to complete the trifecta, a nice example of someone with whom I often disagree but find pander-free is John Pfaff, who’s had the courage to stake out some highly politically unpalatable positions on CJ reform and gives every impression of doing so honestly.

            6. SHG Post author

              As for Elie, he never claimed nor presented himself to be an intellectual. He’s an angry black man, and he makes no bones about it. As for Clark, that article proves Sarge’s point. It’s smart, sound and intellectually honest. The contrast with his twits speaks for itself.

  18. Bryan Burroughs

    I could possibly be more tolerant if the price of that weren’t people dying from overloaded hospitals. I don’t know what’s on the minds of objectors up north, but here in the south, it is almost exclusively the folks who revel in their own ignorance and demand their freedoms while refusing to accept the responsibilities which come with those freedoms. The kind of folks who crow about “having an immune system” and about how Fauci paid China to create it. Yeah, I dont have much tolerance for those folks suddenly showing up en masse at the local hospitals and causing others to go without needed care when previously they flouted every possible health and safety protocol and wound up getting the damn virus at Myrtle Beach Bike Fest or something similarly asinine. But now they demand to be seen immediately cause they can’t breathe.

    1. SHG Post author

      Sometimes, I wonder if my words are translated into some foreign language that readers just can’t comprehend. Then, I realize the problem isn’t my words, but readers’ facile assumptions and reading comprehension challenges, and I feel better.

    2. Paleo

      Statistically, what you’re saying about the majority of unvaccinated in the south is just not true. The people you’re talking about make the most noise among the unvaccinated, which our pathetically broken media is happy to amplify in furtherance of their narrative, but the actual numbers demonstrate that most of the unvaccinated are people other than the ones you complain about.

      1. Bryan Burroughs

        I might be inclined to reconsider, except for the prevalence of the people I describe in positions of authority. The entirety of my local school boards (county and city) are of this opinion. The city council and county commissioners are largely the same. Significant numbers of state legislators hold these opinions and express them openly. Numerous governors in the South are making comments to the same. Hell, Desantis is damned near making a Presidential run out of it.

        The arguments these officials are making, by and large, aren’t nuanced discussions of personal rights or genuine concerns about vaccine research. They are either outright ignorance or partisan political talking points. I’m a libertarian, so I’m naturally predisposed towards arguments for personal rights. I’m just not hearing such arguments from these folks.

        Those who have sincere concerns, I respect. I know of about 2 in my personal circle. But those aren’t the people driving the latest surge in cases.

    3. Rengit

      Maybe you mean something different by “tolerance” than your comment suggests, but I don’t understand this growing objection to people who are anti-vax, flout social distancing rules, won’t wear a mask, etc, wanting medical care when they then catch covid and get really sick. Is there any other kind of medical event resulting from risky behavior where people, especially people left of center, react this way? Drug dealers who shoot each other over territory get shot, and nobody says it’s unreasonable for them to turn up at the ER. Same when people get injured doing extreme sports that carry risk of severe injury. Or drunk drivers who get in a car crash and need to go to the hospital. Or shooting up heroin with used needles or having rampant unprotected sex then getting HIV.

      1. rxc

        The people who are not getting vaccinated REALLY SHOULD KNOW BETTER! So, they get demonized. All the rest of your examples are of people who are suffering and who deserve sympathy and empathy. And they don’t try to argue that what they do/did was the RIGHT THING.

  19. Sacho

    It seems like discussing whether tolerance is a good thing or not is moot, judging by most of the comments on this post; the problem is that people think of their actions as right and just, tolerance doesn’t even come on their radar. It’s a case of mismatched morality; you’re preaching the Golden Rule, but everyone’s responding “it’s my way or the highway”, with a certainty that would make an inquisitor proud. Fun times ahead.

  20. Paul Y

    Aside those who can’t get vaccines because of medical risks (i.e. blood clotting, as we saw from J&J a few times) or those who are medically trained enough to have reasonable doubts, I don’t think I can respect those who cite spurious medical “facts” from unqualified bloggers or cave into delusional governmental conspiracies. There is a difference between skepticism due to insufficient evidences and dishonest opposition out of willful ignorance and petty political ideas. When I meet those people, I just walk away and let them handle consequences of their own actions…like that guy from Texas who held “Freedom rally” against mask mandates and died in ICU due to COVID19. True, CDC and Dr. Fauci, for whatever reasons, damaged their own credibility that somewhat justify skepticism among uninformed Americans, but they are not the sole authorities of medicine, either.

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