This dangerously tilting overcrowded bus from an internet picture of Indian conditions, could have been China or one of a dozen countries, illustrates how tolerant and apathetic we are to inhuman conditions.

In his fifteenth principle Thomas J Leonard says: Tolerate Nothing.

Intolerance is a bad word to many of us. We do not like intolerant people. Tolerance to all behavior patterns is considered a good thing.  Is it?

Should we tolerate despotism? Should we tolerate terrorism? Should we tolerate other human beings being abused?

Each of us has a road map in our head, a matrix of values and beliefs, which draws a line at which our tolerance wears thin. Usually it is when it affects us personally. As long as it’s only my neighbor who is bullied by local gangs, it’s ok. How much longer before the gangs reach me?

There are certain things in life that none of us should tolerate. Unkind treatment of another living being is one such. Be it murder, rape, genocide, or slavery, most of us would raise our voices against these.  We  may differ on solutions, but unless we have a warped mindset, these acts would affect us negatively.

The line gets blurred at acts that may cause mental cruelty. Since each of us has different levels of sensitivity to these things,  we may get varied responses to how offensive we find inefficiencies such as unpunctuality, discourtesy, poor customer response etc. We also may differ on how we want to respond to such negative acts.

Despite the much vaunted consumer rights activism in USA, i find that services are much poorer in USA than in many Asian countries. American airlines, in my opinion and in general, have the worst service attitude. So do many other American institutions such as departmental stores and even the so-called hospitality sector businesses as hotels and restaurants. No one seems to take pride in serving another person.

Yet, i find most Americans tolerant to these in their country, while waxing eloquently about how rotten services are in other countries.

Intolerance to inefficient and ineffective behavior must begin at home, much like charity.