Surfing The Web Of Tolerance

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Personal Liberty Poll

Exercise your right to vote.

I pride myself on my tolerance. I tolerate it when I’m stuck in line at the grocery store behind the guy who’s paying for his malt liquor with pocket change. I tolerate it when my dogs decide to wake me up early on Sunday morning. I tolerate the hammerhead in the Prius with the “Think Globally, Act Locally” sticker who thinks 64 mph in the passing lane is “2 Fast 2 Furious.” In fact, I’m so tolerant that I even tolerate the existence of ideas other than mine.

Here at Personal Liberty, we share a rather obvious libertarian/conservative attitude. But not everyone who writes for Personal Liberty shares identical opinions about everything. Unlike your more homogenized liberal “news” outlets, we not only don’t censor dissent, but we encourage it. There’s a whole section right below this article set aside just for you to hash out how much you loved this piece, or hated this piece, or think Bob Livingston should replace me with “Marmaduke.”

We sport a surprising diversity of opinion among the many fine writers who share their thoughts with you. For example, our newsroom and editorial staff are riddled with SEC fans. I think Mr. Livingston himself roots for Auburn. Yet I tolerate their woeful choice in sports fandom. I’m pretty sure John Myers is either a Calgary Flames or Vancouver Canucks fan, and that’s the NHL version of pulling for one of those conferences that plays its bowl games in late November.

Quite a few people here don’t share my opinion that same-sex marriage should be legal. Others don’t agree that marijuana should be legal. And there is no shortage of you who have expressed less-than-convivial tones regarding my collection of firearms and my belief that the Bill of Rights ought to be the only license I need for it.

We disagree on some politics. We disagree on some social issues. We don’t all vote for the same people in national elections. We don’t necessarily even support the same Presidential candidates — although I’m going to predict that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will find few followers here should he get a hand on the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination.

I know some of you dear visitors to our stop on the information superhighway have fairly high opinions of the work we do here. I also know a few of you think our venture is several steps below the Web’s intellectual sub-basement. As an aside, I often wonder why you torture yourselves so; but that’s a different rumination entirely. And I know this about you, because you share it with us. Moreover, we allow you to do so at your convenience. In fact, as I noted earlier, we ask for your input. Unless your remarks are profane, libelous or involve a chance for us to make $10 million if we just allow you to borrow our bank accounts for a Nigerian wire transfer, chances are we’re going to let them into the fray. Even if you think only gay marriage should be legal, even if you believe everyone should be required to inject themselves with heroin before leaving the house in the morning, and even if you think the guy down the street with the unmarked and windowless van should be allowed to recruit our children right off the playground for Obamacare, we’re probably going to allow you to say it. All right, the serious-looking cats who handle the business end of our site might skim that last one off the top.

But we tolerate it. And if you’re still reading this, you do, too. To be honest, I don’t think I would enjoy a world in which everyone thought the same things about everything that I think. To me, that sounds like one of the lower levels of perdition, or the inner sanctum of one of those hate groups funded by George Soros. Furthermore, in a world where both of us share identical thoughts on everything, you’re vestigial; and I would miss you.

All things being equal, I’m a reasonably tolerant dude working for an extraordinarily tolerant operation. I’m nothing like the poor saps stuck toiling for the Mozilla Corporation, where even mild dissent on non-business-related political issues voiced six years ago can get you fired today.

–Ben Crystal

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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