How do people justify intolerance?

swimmerguy's picture

So yeah, I feel bad when all I do is post depressed shit here, so I'll try to post something interesting. I'll fail probably, but that's not the point. Just so I can try and know that I'm trying instead of being such a depressing douchebag.

So, I was wondering how do you think people justify intolerance?
Because nobody goes "yeah. I'm evil. Intolerance is good, being unnaccepting of others over things that they can't change, that's good with me."
I think basically everyone agrees that intolerance is bad. It's even in the Republican party platform. Although they go on to say that the support both "the right of states to choose whether or not they support gay marriage", and a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, which, would kinda take away state's right to choose?

Cause some people kinda are evil. Like my grandpa, this was a while ago, we were discussing that racist Arizona law, the one where if a cop stopped someone they could check their papers if they had "reasonable suspicion to expect they were an illegal immigrant", or, you probably know them better as "Mexicans". So me and my brother were like "that law's just racist!" and my grandpa said, verbatim, "well, where I come from sometimes that's not always seen as such a bad thing..."
So basically, he was saying racism isn't bad.

Actually, I guess this journal would be better made about rationalizations. How people can do terrible things and convince themselves that they're right. Like a suicide bomber, convinced that he is fulfilling God's work, that he's fighting a holy war, when in reality all he's doing is killing people who have never harmed him.

So, anyway, I wanted to know from you guys, what do you think is the biggest, or most common way that people justify racism and homophobia? Michelle Bachman does it by convincing herself that gay people either are lying or just have mental issues.
A lot of people just say that gayness is a choice. Do they know they're wrong? Do they really think they can argue with people on whether things about them are a choice or not, without any frame of reference, arguing against someone who does have one?

Mormon Fundamentalists justify racism by just saying black people are subhuman, they're not real people.

Herman Cain justifies intolerance by convincing himself all Muslims are evil.

Newt Gingrich, I dunno, he is just evil.

That's just the issue though. It would be easy to rid the world of intolerance if people recognized that what they're doing is stupid.
But they make rationalizations...

Fuck. This is a terrible journal. The title is a question, but it's a factual question which I answered, leaving nothing for you guys to do :P
Well, I tried. Forgive me. I'll try harder tomorrow.


Yamamoto's picture

Actually I saw somthing on

Actually I saw somthing on this once... You see humans by nature are not rational creatures... we normally will always go with our gut... and then rationalize everything out form there. Where we get our gut discion can come form many influances in ones background.

Yet that was kind of a explaintion for why people do things and it seemed to apply here... of course this expliantion doesn't excuse intolerance, but seems like a explantion for it :P

ferrets's picture

i dont belive

its a bad journal, i liked it.

"A loving man and woman in a committed relationship can marry. Dogs, no matter what their relationship, are not allowed to marry. How should society treat gays and lesbians in committed relationships? As dogs or as humans?"

elph's picture

Just one of many possible explanations

First off... despite your mild self-deprecation at the end... please know that your many musings are a treasure. Never stop... please!


Michelle Bachmann: Oh, what a "gift" she is! Now that she's running as a potential Republican candidate for president ... the party cannot avoid implosion!

It promises to be an amazing spectacle!

(For readers who don't know me: this is sarcasm!)


On intolerance:

I suspect that humans --- both individually and collectively --- possess an inner drive to stand out, and a desire to be respected for some quality that will elicit either awe or respect from others.

The easiest route to achieving this goal is to become a champion for any of the many mythologies that offer guidance for achieving some manner of immortality. This is easy because such a mythology defies scientific refutation… largely because it foretells an idealized future from which no reports have yet been received!

In other words, once an adherent feels that he has mastered the limited “knowledge” of his chosen mythology… he “knows” that he is unassailable: He cannot be dissuaded by logic or science. He is now free to denigrate any and all who appear to not subscribe to the “truths” that he “knows” to be true --- and, as a result, he feels that his reputation is elevated amongst like-thinking peers.

This is my “take” on just one generalized example of the roots of intolerance: a desire to demonstrate one’s superiority --- relieved of any fear of being proven wrong.

However, I could be wrong…

lonewolf678's picture


religion is often the excuse for intolerance. This is unrelated but that damn law in Arizona was why I couldn't go there, instead we did a trip to Colorado.

jeff's picture

I think...

it is often related to religion, but that people tend to most powerfully believe in the rules they don't plan on breaking.


No birth control!: Well, I understand the thinking, but I'm too young to be a parent, and I'm not sure this person is the one for me...

No divorce: Well, I don't want to get divorced, but certainly I've known people who were in bad marriages and certainly needed to escape...

No shellfish: This is an outdated rule from before we knew how to properly handle and clean things properly, so this was just a matter of safety when it was written, but it has no bearing today...

No homosexuality: Well, the Bible is the word of God, so it must be in there for a reason...

Always easiest to shore up support for the things that will not affect you to counter the rules you don't mind breaking.

"Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are." - Kurt Cobain

lonewolf678's picture


the last one theoretically was because it was considered a sin to spill seed on anyone other than a woman for baby-making. lol

loreonpravus's picture

It is extremely difficult to

It is extremely difficult to change people's fundamental beliefs. Intolerant people don't think they're being intolerant. They don't "justify" it or anything, it's just the paradigm through which the view the world. Hm. So, let's say someone believes being gay is inherently wrong. They justify it by saying it's against the bible, it's unnatural, etc. No matter how you disprove their justifications, they will still believe. Belief. That's all it is.