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Chris Hedges, in his fine book American Fascists ( 2006), quotes from the late philosopher Karl Popper. In his piece The Open Society and Its Enemies Popper gives his views on tolerance vs. the intolerant. Here is a passage that is so relevant today:

” … If we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them….I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, then suppression would certainly be most unwise… for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right to NOT { my highlight} tolerate the intolerant. WE should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself OUTSIDE { my highlight} the law, and we should consider incitement to tolerance and persecution of that as being criminal, in the same way as we would consider the incitement to murder or to kidnapping , or the revival of the slave trade as criminal.”

 The current Biden administration and any rational and sane members of Congress should realize that the January 6th riot and insurrection was what Popper would most likely label The Intolerant. This was an example of the power that  the right wing media has behind it… for more than a generation! Russ Limbaugh was but the ‘ Poster boy’ of  this thrust. Super rich patrons of this right wing , families like the Koches, the Mercers and the Scaifes ( to name but a few) have subsidized the many right wing think tanks and media… all to propagandize groups like the Tea Party and MAGA. From this nest of utter intolerance we had January 6th. What Donald Trump was able to do is literally ‘ Open the door’ and allow into the public eyes and ears these far right wing white supremacist, Neo Fascist groups. Now, be clear that these groups have always been there, but mostly in the fringes and without a national platform. January 6th was their ‘ Coming out party’.

What is a realistic transparency is just how open and terribly honest this way of thinking has become. As with Germany, circa 1930s, the Intolerant have no bones about saying and feeling what they wish. For years the right wing and its Republican front men and women has always ‘ Beat around the bush’ as to their white supremacy and Neo Fascism. They danced around with phrases like ‘ Family values’, ‘ Personal liberty’ , ‘ State’s rights’ and basically ‘ Freedom, freedom, freedom’. The same Super Rich who run right wing politics refuse to tell their unsophisticated followers how the ‘ Villainous’ federal government has granted them billions of dollars in tax breaks while the 99+% of us get nothing! They never let their ‘ foot soldiers’ know the fortune they always earn by phony wars and occupations… for generations! The formula has always been (in addition to the Armaments Industries’ obscene profits) to attack and destroy an enemy’s infrastructure and then get  crony contracts to rebuild. Remember, this is not just new to our Middle Eastern phony wars. During the Vietnam phony war in the 60s and early 70s, when a Huey helicopter got shot down Bell Helicopter Corp. replaced it with another at the cost to US taxpayers of around $ one million dollars. General Smedley Butler got it correct in his 1935 essay War is a Racket. Go read it!

This writer has a friend, a respected cellular scientist, who has studied Covid since even before the pandemic. He assures me that the pandemic is real and the vaccine and masking are highly necessary. Yet, the amount of intolerance toward those who believe these facts is mindboggling. So , what are these intolerants succeeding in doing? Well, by this hoax and Anti Vax , Anti Mask mindset, which proliferates throughout right wing media and right wing politicians, we will not reach the cherished herd immunity. Bottom line: many will unnecessarily die, including more of our young. As far as the other conspiracy theory of the 2020 election being stolen, those same folks should research what the right wing did in the 2004 election, especially in the swing state of Ohio. It has been documented that electronic machines were programmed to ‘ Flip votes’ from Kerry to Bush. That, and the planned voting  delays in black areas of the state, helped suppress the votes for Kerry. His Vice Presidential running mate John Edwards is said to have urged Kerry to contest the election, once those Ohio facts were being revealed. It seems the empire can be tolerant when need be, so Kerry was told to ‘ Let it go’,  just like they told Al Gore in 2000 regarding Florida’s election steal.

Nobody should want street violence between the tolerant and the intolerant. If in fact one believes that the intolerant have become tyrannical, then remember the words of  philosopher John Stuart Mill: “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends than that  good men should look on and do nothing.” Thus, when we can see literally a ‘ Sea of tolerant ‘ folks standing up and speaking out….

PA Farruggio
August, 2021