Whenever disagreements break out among us some would-be peacemakers always begin pleading for tolerance, for respect of diversity. I like tolerance for myself and my quirks, of course, don't we all? I, like most of us, would like my irritating mannerisms to be gently excused, my faults minimized, my sins compassionately covered over. And who among us would dare question something so sacred and personal as another's (safe, sane, consensual) kink? There are times when tolerance is appropriate. There are also times when intolerance is appropriate.
There are times, like when you are weeding your garden, when something (or someone) has got to go. If you want to promote certain types of growth, you have to curtail others, and that's what the fighting's about, gentle friends. Bottomlessly tolerating troublemakers doesn't promote peace, but war, since war is the only thing they like. They will always be stirring it up as long as they are able, and sometimes such individuals need to be firmly told to put it away and zip it up.
How to make life within our subculture as pleasant as possible, if we allow ourselves no meaningful power to restrict unpleasantness? You can't make a home as safe from unwanted intrusion as it could be if you don't allow yourself locks; if you won't allow yourself to actively repel nasty intruders. We must actively defend and nurture the vision that unites us into a rapture-quest community (since that's what makes us US) *and* we also have to respect and defend the people and their accomplishments that make our continuing progress possible. Failure to defend and nurture children is called neglect, not tolerance. There is nothing noble nor benign in neglecting what is precious; in shirking your duty. If the BDSM subculture matters (and it does) and if, by virtue of your embrace of the quest you consider yourself a member, then you ought to be actively involved in promoting whatever helps it to prosper, at the expense of whatever degrades our common good, even if it's one of your (or my) pet notions.
Exactly what qualities and behaviors should be encouraged *are* open to ongoing debate and subject to revision, like any contract or agreement, but our duty as members (I hope) is clear: to stand firmly in favor of what we have agreed to, and against disruptive/destructive forces from within. For example, those who wish to abolish the Bill of Rights and make the USA a Christian theocracy should be called what they are to their faces: Un-American, anti-Constitutional traitors. Why respect their opinions, why tolerate their efforts, when they represent a direct, hostile assault on all that we think of as decent and good? To tolerate such people is to admit they have a right to try and destroy us.
Leather organization leaders can save themselves and the rest of us some grief if they demand that internal witch-hunters and reformers thoroughly and satisfactorily explain how their proposed actions will fulfill the organization's statement of purpose, without doing damage to previous gains, and the honored individuals who accomplished them. What good is one step forward, if it's always followed by two steps back?
Not that we should all goose step to only one drummer. Those who espouse minority opinions must be respected, and must always be guaranteed the right to be heard and to participate in the ongoing discussion without fear. We do well to be intolerant of those who would stifle dissent. The loyal opposition are necessary and important: too often in the past the majority has turned out to be wrong, and only timely attention paid to certain oddballs could reveal previously unknown glories or save us from disaster. Still, it's not what you do, but how you do it.
Adrenaline junkies who can't resist throwing everything into a tailspin for the rush they get must be resisted. Try explaining to them that empires can only be built by those who play well together.
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