Toleration and Reciprocity

It follows too that if the public parading of a wrong is an offense against tolerance, so is the public declaration of a propensity to engage in the wrong. Every person alive is beset by temptations. We may utter them to our confessors, or, less often, to our best friends on condition of secrecy, or to our spouses, when it would not cause needless pain. Beyond that, we assist the tolerance of our neighbors by keeping our serpents to ourselves.

If a married man says, “I’m attracted to your daughter, but be assured I’ll never act upon my attraction,” he has at a stroke made it impossible for you ever to see him and your daughter in the same room without the shadow crossing your mind. He has, in his false and hypocritical show of honesty, loaded a heavy burden of decision upon you. Sever your friendship, and the self-hugging candid fellow can soothe himself by saying, “It was he who turned away from me.”

via The Imaginative Conservative: Toleration and Reciprocity.


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