Dr. Scott Masson – Repressive Tolerance and Cultural Marxism
How tolerance became intolerance
In the popular Cultural Marxist account of our day, Christianity is the villain of history.
It is not, as Edward Gibbon once wrote, because it brought the Roman Empire down by fostering a belief that a better life existed after death, and therefore, he argued, militated against any attempt to better this life.
It is because Christian beliefs have (allegedly) historically been used to violate the rights of minority groups such as blacks, women, and the LGBT community. The dominant majority group in the West – white heterosexual European male Christians – have used their weight in numbers to enforce their power and their privilege.
In our day, the battlefront is in the area of LGBT rights, but those who have been influenced by a Cultural Marxist narrative (as the American New Left has) argue that it is simply the latest battle of a historic march of progressives against Christian oppression that the political left has led. ‘Social justice’ is the banner under which the marginalized now rectify this historic injustice.
The problem with this account of history is that it is simply false.
The movement to emancipate African slaves, recognizing the rights of blacks, and the suffragette movement, recognizing those of women, were all led by Christians, and those who shared their fundamental belief that every individual ought to have his or her equal rights recognized under the law because every individual person bore the the imago Dei.
The establishment of these individual rights of personhood is the foundation for the push to recognize the equal human rights of enslaved and women.
The LGBT rights movement, on the other hand, is a movement to establish group rights. Group rights are an anathema to the common law tradition precisely because they encourage tribalism and reject the fundamental premise of the sanctity of the human person.
Cultural Marxism not only ignores the sanctity of individual lives, it sees the conviction about it as the primary obstacle to establishing the group rights of the LGBT community.
It is my belief that a failure to be attentive to the rationale for abolishing slavery and supporting women’s suffrage that has led many to see the modern social justice movement as a larger historical movement rather than what it actually is: the fundamental denial of everyone’s human rights.
As we have seen from the time of Pierre Elliott Trudeau to that of his son, Justin Trudeau, we have seen a consistent pattern played out throughout the West. In order to establish its notion of minority group rights, the progressive state must first eradicate the established rights of the individual person, the ultimate minority.
The concept under which this reversal has been enacted is ‘tolerance’.
This is where the Cultural Marxist thinker Herbert Marcuse comes in. Contrary to John Locke’s 300 hundred year old legacy of tolerance in the Anglosphere – suffering opinions with which we fundamentally disagree – tolerance now means only tolerating views that are an anathema to the status quo. Herbert Marcuse calls Locke’s notion ‘repressive tolerance’ and the new notion ‘liberating tolerance’. And ‘liberating tolerance’, as we now regularly observe, is fundamentally at odds with all Western notions of freedom.
In the process of liberation, every notion of human rights is being overturned in the name of ‘tolerance’.
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