A little tolerance goes a long way

The Sheridan Press praised the value of tolerance in American society and cited the Boy Scouts recent decision on gays and a Cheerios ad depicting an interracial family as examples of such laudable tolerance. Unfortunately, there is a segment of American society which has exhibited rampant intolerance in its attitude toward views and beliefs which differ from the politically correct orthodoxy. That would be the educational establishment, most notably on the campuses of our colleges and universities.

The enforcement of rigid “speech codes” and the emergence of “social codes” on a great number of campuses is the antithesis of tolerance. It represents what columnist George F. Will once called “the enforcement of conformity under the guise of diversity.” Tolerance on our campuses has become a one-way street where only those views which conform to the prevailing ideology of academia are accepted. Others are discouraged, mocked and even shouted down on campus and are subjected to incessant, heavy-handed indoctrination by administrators and faculty.

I doubt the founders of the American system of education intended the enforcement of an ideological monolith in the very place which traditionally had been one of the free exchange of ideas.
I would encourage anyone interested in exploring this issue (and that should be all of us) to examine the status of this important societal issue by consulting the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education through their website at www.thefire.org. There you will find concrete examples of an ongoing, organized effort by the educational elite of this country to indoctrinate America’s youth and stifle even the slightest dissent against what has indeed become “conformity under the guise of diversity.”

The Sheridan Press editorial rightly criticized intolerance. One hopes that the folks at the Press will now follow up on the issue they themselves raised by exploring the numerous instances of blatant intolerance in American education and will report their findings to their readers. I believe they owe it to the public to cover more than one aspect of the tolerance issue.

Charles Cole
Sheridan