column By: Steve Garbe | November, 19
The wise saying, “Do not tolerate fools gladly,” has its origins in Saint Paul’s letter to the Church at Corinth. The King James Bible has the exact quote as, “For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are so wise.” Saint Paul was being cuttingly sarcastic to those he addressed, accusing them of being simply too weak to challenge obviously foolish behavior. Our contemporary use is defined as not putting up with the actions or words of foolish people. Either definition is thought provoking in these “interesting” times.
There is a real danger in tolerating fools gladly, and we are seeing that danger revealed more and more on our political stage. Generally, most folks mind their manners when someone presents a preposterous idea or opinion, preferring to politely hold their tongue. This can also be the easiest way out of a socially uncomfortable situation, especially in mixed company. The danger lies in the fact that silence sometimes encourages more irrational and foolish behavior.
Americans, given their “melting pot” heritage, have generally been extremely tolerant of differing views. Our media have made a successful business out of presenting outrageous behavior to an audience who is becoming increasingly desensitized to the actions of fools. Accepting obviously idiotic speech or behavior is often justified under the auspices of being “open-minded” or politically correct. This is a lazy way of avoiding an intelligent discussion on a contentious issue.
In today’s political arena there are duly elected people who seem to hate the United States and all that it stands for. Not so long ago they would have not had a chance of being elected. However, given our sudden preoccupation with political correctness or “tolerance,” we simply shrug and say nothing when their radical and often harmful ideas are presented. We “tolerate fools gladly” and end up paying the price of having people in positions of power that are truly unsuitable and do not represent the vast majority of their electorate.
It is not only in politics that we see examples of tolerating fools gladly. Even in our shooting world and especially the shooting world of the Internet we are regularly treated to examples of foolish behavior that end up harming the very sport that we love and try to promote. More than once I have thought that we would have been better off never having our various “chat rooms” that provide a stage for those individuals seemingly bent on irritating others. Petty disputes aired in the presence of folks newly interested in our sport have done more damage to our participation numbers than any other thing.
We are on the eve of another election cycle. Given latest events concerning some of our elected politicians, organizations and shooting associations, I believe it is time that we, as common-sense individuals and citizens, remember another old saying, “It’s time to call a spade a spade.”
– Gut Ziel