Intolerant of Intolerance

Today was one of those days where I wanted to commit a reverse hate crime. In composition we were talking about morals, in a very abstract sort of way, as a way of studying argument. Many of the examples dealt with saving one person or group at the expense of another. One of the questions was whether to save an aging AIDS researcher or a young person. It was an obvious question for me. The young person might do something great to change the world, but the researcher was doing something great to change the world. A classmate raised his hand and said:

“Save the young person. Why should we worry about curing AIDS? Haven’t we got a huge overpopulation problem as it is?”

Even now, I’d like to give him a piece of my mind. I’m not a violent person at all, and I would never wish harm on anyone, but I just have a hard time understanding how a person can come to their second semester in college and not be more informed and have a little more critical thinking ability than to make a comment like that. I like to think that I’m a very tolerant person, but I just cannot stand for intolerance. I managed to quell my anger for long enough to get through class, but the professor caught an earful afterwards. She was sympathetic, and I thanked her for redirecting the conversation before I said things I would regret.

I thought that I had fulfilled my quota of remaining calm in the face of intolerance for the day, but apparently it’s not a quota-based system. Like a trooper writing tickets, I just deal with as much as there is, with no minimum, and apparently no maximum.

I was discussing the world population problem with a professor today. I asked him if my fear that society may be selecting away from intelligence (more on that later). He said that I could have a valid point, but there were other factors to take into account. When population density in Europe reached a critical level, it allowed the plague to spread rapidly kill one third of Europe’s population, with mortality rates as high as 70% in some cities. With the population density and mobility increasing steadily, my professor speculated that a crisis of this nature is not infeasible. “Maybe it’ll be AIDS,” he said. “Look at what it’s doing in Africa already.” Now, this statement by itself might not seem so bad, but he has also expressed, in an offhand sort of way, that he doesn’t approve of homosexuality. He has also admitted that he’s not terribly accepting of diversity. In that light, and given my day, can you blame me for being a bit upset? This was a man that I looked up to, who inspired me to persue my selected branch of animal science. I still greatly respect him professionally, but I’ve lost all respect for him as a person.

3 thoughts on “Intolerant of Intolerance

  1. How can you respect someone professionally but lose all respect for them personally?

  2. I think he is incredibly skilled and knowledgeable, but I wouldn’t want him for a friend. It’s pretty simple.