Rush Limbaugh made this tried and stupid argument about tolerating intolerance, one you’ve probably heard a thousand times before about how unfair it is that bigots get criticized for intolerance so why aren’t we showing them the tolerance we demand for others?
LIMBAUGH: Folks, I grew up in a family where people’s sexual orientation, preferences, whatever, weren’t even discussed. Why can’t everybody just put your sexual preferences on Facebook and call it a day? What do we need to stop everything and have a national day of celebration, or mourning (depending on your point of view), or recognition or whatever about this? This tolerance, it only goes one way. So Person X of some national stature announces his sexual orientation as gay, and applause!
It’s a great day for America. We’re really taking giant leaps ahead. If anybody says, “You know, I’m not big on that,” it’s, “You bigot! You racist! You extremist. You homophobe.” There is no tolerance at all here. Not only do these people have to publicly announce it, but everybody else has to applaud and accept it.
And all of this, of course, ignores the power differential. Those who are expressing their anti-gay bigotry are helping to oppress people who have long been denied equality and been treated terribly. No, it simply isn’t the same to “tolerate” that kind of bigotry as it is to express the opposite view.