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Portrait of the Artist as a Lone Tree

Ethnocentricity

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The trial of ethnocentricity

Part 3 - Mr New-Tolerance

“Mr Tolerance,” Berridge addressed him. “What now
does dear Tolerance say we should freely allow?
Tell us plainly what Prejudice teaches through hate,
and how Tolerance suits all the needs of the State.”

“That is it,” said the witness. “No more need be said.”
“Objection, your honour!” said Herbert. “Instead,
Mr Tolerance needs to define what he means,
for I’ll wager I know where his Tolerance leans.

Tell me, Tolerance, what is the nature of fact?”
“Facts are lies!” shouted Tolerance. “I must react
by explaining that facts are the basis of hate,
in a manner that any poor fool can relate.

Now consider; if Rights are accorded to all,
and if every man’s feelings stand equally tall,
we can well do without any things that might say
that one thought or another should ever hold sway.

For if facts can establish the nature of Truth,
it would be universal; and long since my youth,
we’ve denied that a Truth can be common to all;
else all Tolerance known would then stumble and fall.”

“Well, that isn’t the ‘Tolerance’ I had assumed,”
said Sir Herbert. “Another can yet be exhumed;
this ‘New Tolerance’ says that all facts must be lies,
and yet that’s an opinion I loathe and despise.

There are things one can prove, there are things one cannot,
but those things we can prove to be True are no spot
on the nature of Tolerance, patient and kind;
the unproven’s where Tolerance betters the mind.

The idea that there’s no Truth at all is belief;
and in fact it’s the one that has caused all the grief.
For if no Truth at all can be said to exist,
then that statement’s untrue in itself - so desist!

Thus if anyone says there’s a truth, we should think;
we should not shout him down, or just kick up a stink.
Let’s examine the facts, all the nuts and the bolts;
an opinion that doesn’t make sense is for dolts!”

“Out of order!” the Judge said, alert, and on cue.
“Higher Courts have defined this completely untrue!
All of justice will fall if plain facts are allowed,
this ‘New Tolerance’ all of our courts have avowed!”

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