Monday, March 12, 2007

Let me recommend

CBC Radio’s Ideas: The Best of Ideas Podcast
Available as a download here or through iTunes
A few interesting ideas that are discussed by the three panellists…
-what is the place of charity in tolerance?
-is giving money to someone on the street really a power move that while stemming from what appears to be an act of kindness is possibly more about exerting ones superiority over the person to whom the charitable act is directed?
-in order to tolerate there must be something negative that I must have to tolerate. So instead of the much maligned concept that it is in many evangelical perspectives is tolerance really an act of grace?
-why does it seem that tolerance has come to mean that in order to be tolerant I must deny my own traditions, beliefs and cultural values?
-why does it seem that Christianity has become the area of society that must be tolerant to every other perspective?
I will comment soon on this and more…

8 comments:

jc said...

I listened to this a couple days ago. It is one of the podcasts I listen to regularly and there is of course a second part to it. I do agree that tolerance does involve a certain amount of disagreement with whatever you have a disagreement with. Tolerance could be good or it could be bad depending on the situation. For example, its probably good not to force your religious beliefs on others but its probably bad to tolerate the slavery of a particular race. I wouldn't call it grace necessarily because it is not as if you are giving someone the gift of your benevolence when you tolerate something they do. As long as they are not harming you or someone else you don't have a right to be anything but tolerant of what they are doing. You will also benefit from their tolerance. Anyways...

Incoming... said...

while I would assert that slavery is most often oppressive, I am not sure that I am prepared to affirm that slavery is always a bad thing. What I mean is that there may be some cultural contexts where slavery could be an acceptable and mostly wholesome social construct. (I would suggest that our own idea of employment is not that much different from the idea of slavery in some respects) Simply put why shouyld i be the judge of what should and should not be tolerated?

jc said...

I think I could say that slavery is, in every case, evil. I would like to know what you think would justify it. There are some elements of slavery left in employment today... I might agree with that in some ways. If you look at income tax at least in the United States[which is somewhat different than here], you will see that top one percent of wage earners pay like 25 percent of the taxes and the top 50 percent pay something like 99 percent of the taxes. Other than that I am not sure what you might mean that our idea of employment could be considered similar to slavery.

I am not quite sure what you mean by the last statement about why you should be judge of what should or should not be tolerated. In a free society you would only be able to make policy on what should and shouldn't be tolerated based on whether it causes physical harm to another person or not. For example you would not be able to make a law prohibiting a private business from putting up christmas trees in their buildings simply because you cannot tolerate displays of religion.

Incoming... said...

Although I highlighted the issue of slavery that you raised as an example, I would not want to get hung up on that specific issue.
Rather, my suggestion is that someone(or group of people) determines what the social boundaries are for a particular culture.
As an example: I am loathe to think that I should disqualify all slave owners of this or any other cultural era based or name their ownership of slaves as being evil when the context of their society saw this practice as acceptable. Certainly though I would argue that within each set of cultural boundaries there can be deviations. i also want to be clear that although i am not willing to declare EVERY instance of slavery evil, this in no way should be mistaken as my endorsement of slavery.
As for the comparisons between slavery and our current employment system, I would look from the employee's/slave's point of view. The employee follows orders from his/her boss in order to get a paycheck which at least in part pays him money to stay alive. The slave follows orders from his/her boss to keep from getting punished and to remain alive. Granted the former does so willingly yet in complete conformity to the regimen of economic structures present in his/her context. This willing subjugation to the economic values (especially of the western world) may actually be an inherently evil thing.

jc said...

By saying that it is not evil to own slaves if your culture approves of it suggests that you believe that cultural norms are key to understanding what is good and evil. Taking this logic to what I see as its logical conclusion one would be could be let off the hook for the genocide against perpetrated by Nazi Germany simply because it was a cultural norm to exterminate this race of people.

There is also a world of difference between voluntary employment and slavery. If I don't like the terms of employment of you current job you are free to seek another employer. Granted there are elements of the current economic structure that are somewhat inhibitive of economic freedom[punitive taxes, tarrifs, and a lack of rule of law in some third world countries to name a few] I would not wish to undervalue this freedom.

I listened to the second installment of this podcast and was somewhat dissappointed in the debate and how it kind of spiralled out of control there halfway through into some ad hominems made by a person on the show.

We are kind of off the topic of the you started here. Sorry about that. Seems to happen a lot on blogs. But I guess the bottom line for me is that people ought to be governed by a constitution that strongly protects its citizens from physical harm from other people. Beyond that tolerance becomes necessary of other peoples religions and beliefs.

Incoming... said...

i can agree about that bit about constitution and harm and all that...

My question is who get to decide why that is what we accept to be the right thing to do?

and

regarding the Nazi's - i believe they were wrong in what they did in many aspects -
but would you and I talk about the horror of the holocaust if Germany had won the war...

jc said...

i can agree about that bit about constitution and harm and all that...

"My question is who get to decide why that is what we accept to be the right thing to do?"

You decide what is right for you to do by using your mind. If you decide that Christianity presents a great moral system that deserves your allegiance then you will be free to follow it. You will be free to give money to the poor, go to church, and pray before your meals as traditional Christians seem to do. The thing you will not be permitted to is to decide for others that they must also follow your moral standards. In a free society you will not be able to physically coerce others to do your or the states will. I am not arguing that there are no moral absolutes here, because I believe there are. Rather, I am just trying to get at how society may function so that all men are free.



"regarding the Nazi's - i believe they were wrong in what they did in many aspects -
but would you and I talk about the horror of the holocaust if Germany had won the war..."

Well I hope I would be talking about the horror. I think that fascism is doomed to fail. Central planned economies do not seem to last that long. They seem to stagnate because officials are not omniscient and make mistakes which the whole economy pays for. I think one can reach the conclusion genocide is wrong based on reason. I believe one through a proper method of reason and logic can examine their perceptions of reality and the concepts they hold to come to a knowledge of reality.

But now we are a bit off the topic of tolerance. I heard someone say they other day that philosophy is like a ball of spaghetti... you can pull at a strand of it but eventually you'll have to deal with the whole thing. unfortunately that is not very condusive to the blogging format.

jc said...

hey you said that you were going to post on this again. there was one interesting case in germany where a judge said it was okay for a man to beat his wife if he was muslim because it is allowed in the koran. multiculturalism at its best.