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Here's to Respect and Tolerance

Sometimes I get sucked into spontaneous debates when someone I meet lets fly with their illogical opinions, and I can't help but expose their belief system for the pathetic sack of crap that it is.  Often, the sheer power of my argument sends them into panic mode, and they pull out this impotent little phrase: 

"Well, I respect your opinion."

This sentence translates as, I'm not listening to you anymore because I don't want to change my beliefs, and our entire conversation was a complete waste of time.

Guess what?  I don't respect your beliefs.  Well, let me rephrase that.  I don't respect your beliefs when they're different from my own.  Why?  Because it's impossible for me to respect a crock of shit.  C'mon, do you honestly have any respect for the nutjobs who believe the Earth is flat?  Or for the paranoid halfwits who were persuaded by some FOX TV special that the Apollo moon landings never happened?  Of course you don't.  But don't feel bad about it.  It's OK.  You're not supposed to respect everybody and everything on principle.  You should only respect absolute truth, and have nothing but scorn and cuss words for the untruths.  Everything I believe is utterly and completely true, until I decide that it isn't, at which point I stop respecting it.  And I expect you to do the same. 

But that's not to say I don't tolerate your beliefs.  Yeah, I tolerate them plenty, because I know you're just going to default to the "I respect your opinion" line when things get too hot, so I can't be bothered to call you on every little scrap of idiocy that comes out of your mouth.  But believe me, if I had the time and energy, I would be the most intolerant person you've ever met.  And what's wrong with a little intolerance?  No, not racial intolerance, and not lactose intolerance.  I'm talking about showing a little backbone when someone tries to sell you the Emperor's new clothes.

For example, how about an unwillingness to compromise with this popular idea that we ought to respect "indigenous knowledge".  Wake up, and stop celebrating ideas that almost everybody knows to be dead-wrong.  I read recently that the Inter-American Development Bank is giving $2,000,000 to support indigenous health care practices among the Mapuche Indian populations in Chile.  Being the curious person that I am, I did a little background reading on their medical practices, and it turns out the Chilean machis (or shamans) perform diagnoses through visual examination of urine, and consultation of their own dreams and visions.

Read that last sentence one more time.

Ladies and gentlemen, let's risk being a little intolerant and agree that this is just downright silly and primitive.  What the hell will all that money go toward?  Urine glassware and hallucinogens?

"Daniel!  How can you say that?!  Try to show some respect for other cultures!"

Hey, I recognize that these people have their own culture, and are free to practice whatever woo-woo nonsense they like.  But if you want me to respect the whole daydreaming/staring-at-piss thing and elevate it to the same level as the proven, evidence-based medicine that I think we're all familiar with and can depend upon,'s just not gonna happen.  And financing such a ridiculous practice when the money could be better spent on...oh, I don't know...ACTUAL HEALTH CARE, is perhaps just my naive idea.  Bullshit is bullshit, whether it's part of somebody's culture or not, and if taking a stand against it makes me seem like a culturally insensitive cock...well...too bad.

I respect your right to share my opinions.  Period.


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