Friday, September 25, 2009

The New Tolerance

For centuries, America has been known as a nation which places a high value on freedom, at least in theory. We've implemented those ideals rather poorly during various eras in our history, as historians and ancestors of slaves can attest, but the ideal of freedom has nevertheless formed the cornerstone of our system of government.

The idea of tolerance is closely connected with our emphasis on freedom. There have been obvious exceptions, but we've generally tried to live peacably with people with differing beliefs. I think that's admirable.

Unfortunately, the meaning of words sometimes mutates over time. Just as the word "gay" now has a radically different meaning from what it once meant to most people, the word "tolerance" has also come to mean something very different from what it once meant. There was a time when one could be regarded as tolerant without feeling pressured to abstain from saying controversial things. Vigorous debate was not forbidden, nor was criticism of others, provided that it didn't cross the line into obvious slander or libel. The phrase "political correctness" had not yet become a synonym for oppression of people who dared to think for themselves.

Obviously, that era has passed into the mists of history. These days, many liberals are likely to accuse one of being "intolerant" for no better reason than the fact that one openly admits that one believes in the existence of objective truth. In many circles, "tolerance" has become a synonym or code word for spineless moral relativism.


According to this article, Blogger is now in partnership with a company which enables one to turn one's blog articles into printed books.

As a one-of-a-kind "vanity" product or gift item, and as an alternative to writing one's journal articles out by hand or copying and pasting individual articles into one or more separate word processed documents, Blog2Print looks like a pretty cool option. However, as a means of publishing one's blog articles professionally (complete with the editing flexibility which one would need in order to do things such as turning links into footnotes or endnotes), it probably wouldn't work nearly as well.

Blog2Print apparently requires that one specify the blog articles to be printed by "date range", whereas it would make more sense, when converting one's articles into professional-quality books, to choose and then edit articles item-by-item, since some blog articles are fairly ephemeral, or unrelated to the topic of one's chosen book project.