On the face of it, tolerance is a good thing. After all, tolerance is meant to be a virtue, isn't it?
Surely it's not a good idea to get into an argument with someone just because I disagree with what they say? Surely, it is better to tolerate differences of opinion?
Well, not really. What if that opinion was that all Muslims in the UK should be deported? Tolerating that would not be virtuous.
What if that opinion was that all children should get a good education? I could hardly tolerate that because toleration is a frame of mind formed from allowing disagreement to occur. I do not ever recall thinking, "That's good but I wish it were bad but I shall tolerate it anyway"!
So tolerance is always about allowing things we don't agree with to happen.
How is that a virtue? Bad things - whether we or anyone else is the originator of it - need to be challenged.
So why are we taught different?
To my mind, there is only one reason why a society needs to be tolerant - to allow the bad people to get away with it.
So it may seem odd that I, as someone who wants to make a better world, am now calling for society to be intolerant but I hope the above explains why.