Tolerance Beats Understanding [...]

Fran Leibowitz on how tolerance is a better social goal than understanding or love.

For instance, I, unfortunately, take the subway a lot. It’s not my preference, but it is my lot in life. You sit or stand in the subway, and you look around —I do, because I don’t have a phone so I’m not playing a game—and you see people. You see a young girl wearing a headscarf, and standing next to her is a Hasid. And if you asked them, “Do you like that Jew?” She would say, “No, I hate him.” “Do you like that girl in the head scarf?” “No, I hate her.”

But here’s the great thing about New York: They leave each other alone. So in New York we have zillions of different kinds of people, many of them hate each other, but violence based on that hatred is really uncommon here.

This idea that people have to love and understand each other is absurd. It’s not human nature. But this idea that people cannot kill each other? It actually works here. More than it works in any other place. We have something here that you don’t hear about anymore; we have tolerance. Tolerance is really a better thing than understanding. Because it doesn’t agitate against human nature. Like love does. Or acceptance or understanding. Not only don’t they not understand people different from them, they hardly understand themselves. It’s placing too great a burden on the average intelligence. So forcing people into a situation where they’re supposed to adore each other is probably bad. But letting people get on and off the 6 train without stabbing each other, that’s good.(Source)


See also Paul Bloom Against Empathy

The Analytics of Empathy suggests that keeping opponents from talking to one another makes for a better experience for everyone.

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