Imagination, Optimism, and Tolerance

The importance of having bold and imaginative people in leadership positions is defined, not by the lowest common denominator, but by the inspirational power to achieve.

Continuing along the “1969” theme ……

“Tolerance,” explained Mrs. Hartsfield, “Means you don’t kill someone just because they believe differently than you.” She was speaking specifically about the news of the day to her 9th Grade Social Studies class, of which I was but one of thirty youngsters who had the privilege of receiving an excellent public education from an excellent public school teacher.

The daily discussions of current events were lively enough to hold at bay the distractions of Spring, which usually seemed to explode around the third week of March, and although expected, always seemed to catch us by surprise. The discussion of “tolerance” came on the heels of renewed animus in Ulster, the usual suspects wearing a religious facade. I could not comprehend how the two could have deep hatred for each other, my own life experience with Catholics limited to the family living across the street, Jimmy, the youngest, my best friend. That relationship went much deeper than mere tolerance, and was so natural that the thought of seeming enmity between us was limited to those competitive occasions involving sports, and later, cars, and girlfriends. Jimmy, as I recall, was the first to recognize the immutable correlation between the serving of turnip greens at the school cafeteria immediately following grass-cutting day.

A year or so later, my big brother would give me a book called Future Shock which I enjoyed much less than the hours spent examining his secret stash of rock albums, reading the sleeves, the production notes, learning the musicians’ names, and spending hours memorizing the words to the songs. I think, if pressed, I could still do the whole album-side version of “Alice’s Restaurant Massacre, with full orchestration, and four-part harmony …” I don’t think even Toffler realized how right he was in Future Shock. Change, and the accelerating rate of change has exploded on the scene, and caught us unprepared to manage our expectations.

If shock and alarm imply fear, then that’s where Toffler might have it wrong, I think. Technology changes, knowledge increases, but people are still people, all knowing the basic differences between right and wrong. And, although Ms. Hollman would tell me some years later in Sociology class that making this conclusion was “imposing a value judgment on others,” I can’t help but think that wondering about the future, and believing in the fundamental decency of people go hand in hand. That is less a limitation, and more a jumping off point, so to speak. A natural yearning to live and let live is the essence of tolerance.

The pace and the scope of expansionist technology increases with each new discovery, and one’s ability to adapt and utilize are limited only by imagination. I saw a commercial recently and blogged about it, “Web 3.0 is closer than you think.” In fact, I think web 3.0, 4.0, and 5.0 will flow seamlessly into each other until the day when they are no longer differentiated by generational markers. As technological change becomes accepted and intertwined in the way we communicate and conduct our daily lives, the importance of having bold and imaginative people in leadership positions is defined, not by the lowest common denominator, but by the inspirational power to achieve.

Imagination, optimism, and tolerance are the reasons that I am politically conservative.

They are the reasons that I blog.

I believe they are also, the reasons that this unique American experiment will thrive.

original post 7/18/09

Thank you, Andrew C. McCarthy

Andrew C. McCarthy has penned a piece that says exactly what I would say if I had the words. Here is an excerpt, and here is a link so that you can read the whole thing.

For the better part of two decades, Americans have been murdered by Islamists and then lectured that they are to blame for what has befallen them. We have been instructed in the need for special sensitivity to the unceasing demands of Islamic culture and falsely accused of intolerance by the people who wrote the book on intolerance. Americans have sacrificed blood and bottomless treasure for Islamic peoples who despise Americans — and despise us even more as our sacrifices and gestures of self-loathing intensify. Americans have watched as apologists for terrorists and sharia were made the face of an American Muslim community that we were simultaneously assured was the very picture of pro-American moderation. […] We look around us and we see our country unrivaled by anything in the history of human tolerance. We see thousands of thriving mosques, permitted to operate freely even though we know for a fact that mosques have been used against us, repeatedly, to urge terrorism, recruit terrorists, raise money for terrorists, store and transfer firearms, and inflame Muslims against America and the West. As Islamists rage against us, we see Islam celebrated in official Washington. As we reach out for the umpty-umpth time, we find Muslim leaders taking what we offer, but always with complaint and never with reciprocation. We’re weary, and we don’t really care if that means that Time magazine, Michael Bloomberg, Katie Couric, Fareed Zakaria, and the rest think we’re bad people — they think we’re bad people, anyway.

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