Tolerance and Prosperity

Yesterday, my partners and I invited Paul Romer over to USV for lunch. For those that don't know, Paul is a leading thinker in the world of economics and currently a Professor at NYU. It was a fascinating conversation. My favorite part of it was Paul's "lecture" on William Penn, early Pennsylvania, and the reaction to the growth of Pennsylvania from neighboring states.

William Penn was a Quaker and when King Charles II gave him a large piece of his land holdings in America, Penn created the colony of Pennsylvania and grounded it in the notions of tolerance and religious freedom. Instead of limiting Pennsylvania to Quakers, they welcomed all comers. And the result was that Philadelphia became the fastest growing city in America with a vibrant economy and lifestyle.

The neighboring colonies, which were initially centered around a single religion, reacted to Pennsylvania's and Philadelphia's economic success by opening up their cultural norms and becoming more tolerant as well.

Paul told us this story as a lesson in why cultural norms, even more than laws, are a determinant of prosperity and economic development. And tolerance is one of the more important cultural norms in this regard.

As Paul was giving us this lecture, I thought of my friend Bob Young's blog post about North Carolina's Amendment One, which seeks to ban same sex marriages. North Carolina is the only southern state that does not have such a law on its books. North Carolinans will be voting on Amendment One next tuesday, May 8th.

Bob's argument is as much an economic one as a social one. Bob says:

This proposed amendment to our state constitution is specifically telling them we don’t want their friends and fellow Americans to come here.   We need these talented, intelligent young Americans to come to North Carolina to help our technology industries succeed, but they have choices.   They can go to states with mottos like “Live Free or Die” instead of states that attempt to tell them how to live their lives, such as this Amendment One does.  And trust me, these bright young Americans can and will chose to join my competitors in Seattle, or San Jose, or New York. 

North Carolina has enjoyed a vibrant tech/startup economy and Bob's Red Hat and are two of its best known successes. Bob asserts that changing the cultural norms (and laws) of his home state are not going to be good for the local startup scene. Bob is right and his concerns are consistent with the lesson that Paul Romer gave us yesterday.

Tolerance and Prosperity go hand in hand. History tells us this. I hope the good citizens of North Carolina listen to Bob because I agree with him strongly on this one.

#Politics#Religion#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. David Semeria

    There’s a common theme here: tolerence, drm-free, open source, wikipedia, etc

    1. fredwilson

      i wear my political views on my sleeve and so do many of my friends.bob is that kind of person

      1. William Mougayar

        I just noticed Bob was born in Hamilton, Ontario.

        1. leigh

          Don’t hold that against him 🙂

          1. William Mougayar

            To the contrary. He owns the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

          2. leigh

            LOL — well REALLY don’t hold that against him then…..(seriously, they get a point when they do a kick just for trying 🙂

          3. leigh

            ps. there is a bug in disqus if you write a comment and THEN sign in — the comment disappears. happened twice 🙂

          4. fredwilson

            bug reported to the disqus team. thanks!

        2. fredwilson

          He owns the Tiger Cats of the CFL

          1. William Mougayar

            Yup. I mentioned that a few minutes ago too 🙂 Very cool.

  2. LIAD

    If we don’t feel safe, comfortable and accepted we can’t turn our attention to loftier things like innovation and creativity, which lead to prosperity. Maslow taught us that.We don’t need to go as far back as the 17th century for real-life proof. Look at modern day Iran, North Korea. People are so scared of the secret police bursting through their doors if they even think out of line they have no emotional bandwidth/appetite for embarking on anything which may lead to prosperity.

    1. fredwilson


    2. William Mougayar

      You can add Syria to that list, even at the top of it.

    3. JLM

      N Korea is a real anachronism. It has so oppressed its people that it has starved them to a point whereat their average height has DECLINED 4″ when compared to S Korea.This is an example where food diplomacy should be utilized. We should bomb them with flour, cheese (those huge wheels of cheese the gov’t buys as part of its subsidy programs) and beef.Proving that cheeseburgers are peace.

      1. laurie kalmanson

        Drop iPhones and iPads too

    4. Skinner Layne

      Yet history is filled with contrarians who innovated in the midst of discomfort and lack of physical safety. Indeed if everybody is safe and comfortable, I’m not sure we would have sufficient motivation to innovate or create.

  3. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    Ignorant people and extremely intelligent people are tolerant… only the half-baked are intolerant.

  4. Tom Labus

    During the most recent GOP presidential “debates” all the the candidates, except Jon Huntsman, refused to acknowledge evolution as legitimate science.They choose to pander to the lowest common I don’t know what instead of telling them to go to the library and don’t come back until you have a 5th grade education.

  5. Sean Dague

    I also think there is an interesting moral in the story of Pennsylvania. By creating an ideal microcosm, and leading by example, William Penn changed the entire foundation of our country. The 13 colonies had embraced and extended his notions of tolerance by the time they started talking about forming a single country.

  6. kirklove

    Philly FTW!Penn actually didn’t have the best life and died penniless. Still I get where you are going with this and agree 100%. He also invented the concept of “amendments” to a constitution because he knew “pivots” where inevitable. He was a true startup entrepreneur!One other thing… for the longest time Philadelphia had an archaic “gentlemen’s agreement” that said no building could be taller than the brim of Willie’s hat on top of city hall. Once relaxed (thankfully) in 1987 you saw Philly really develop as a modern city. It did of course lead to the curse of Billy Penn… though mercifully the Phils broke that. Ha.

    1. Tom Labus

      A lot of the founding fathers died in debt or close to being broke.But wouldn’t Penn still have had huge amounts of land?

      1. kirklove

        He (and his family/sons) accumulated a lot debt and some of the land was “taken” from him. He didn’t have an easy life.

    2. kidmercury

      how about them sixers!!! now if d wade, lebron, kobe, dirk, durant, and all other top stars on other teams can find a way to sit out, we got a serious shot at bringing home the title!

      1. fredwilson

        i hope someone can stop the heat. i’m going tomorrow to the garden and bracing myself for the worst

      2. kirklove

        Sixers caught a break with Rose going down. They are good “team”. And Doug Collins is a great and underrated coach. The Knicks are a joke. A flat out joke and I’m delighted to see them get crushed like the whiny self-righteous, having won nothing lot they are.Completely off-topic, but Carmelo is the reason. Yes, he strapped ‘Cuse on his back and won a college title… that ended up being a curse for him not a blessing. He’s still trying to do that and it’s a different game in the Pros, plus he’s not the best player on the court like he was in college. He’s a thug through and through and any team with him will never win.

  7. William Mougayar

    Romer’s views on charter cities & their role in economic prosperity is fascinating. I like this idea of his “I’ve suggested that Canada and Cuba sign a new treaty in which Canada would take over administration of the Guantanamo Bay area, and bring Canadian rule of law there, and let a city grow up that could bring to Cuba some of the advantages that Hong Kong brought to China.”

    1. kidmercury

      yes there is a TED video by romer on charter cities…..outstanding stuff.

      1. Luke Chamberlin

        THAT’S where I remembered him from! That was a really good talk.

      2. Matt A. Myers… – didn’t watch it yet, though that’s what TED search shows up first result

    2. Matt A. Myers

      Wow. That’s brilliant. Thanks for mentioning it.

    3. Skinner Layne

      I have been following the charter cities movement for a long time and it is undoubtedly one of the most critical thought experiments going on in political science. Unfortunately it is really just a good thought experiment. The practicalities, issues of sovereignty, etc., are unlikely to yield much practical implementation. The more effective approach is a broad-based movement toward devolution and confederalism following the Swiss model. The charter city concept creates artificial elitism, when what we need is widespread empowerment.

    4. Morgan Warstler

      I don’t understand why we don’t just announce Cuba is US Territory, and we are auctioning off the coast line to anyone of immediate provable Cuban descent in 180 days.Just make sure Beth Warren doesn’t game the system, everything else takes care of itself.

      1. JLM

        I just want some coastline with a mountain behind it.A villa on the beach and a hacienda in the mountains.My great, great, great grandfather had a pencil mustache, so I must be part Cuban.

        1. Skinner Layne

          Chile has about 4,000 miles of possibility if that’s what you are looking for.

          1. JLM

            I have always wanted to go to Chile. I studied their social security program until I knew it cold but again, I have never been there.

          2. Olivier Travers

            JLM, I lurk the AVC community in big part because of your participation in it. I live in central Chile right in front of the ocean and I’d be happy to host you in my house (this is a serious invitation, not rhetoric). Would love to talk about this country I’ve made my home, combat engineering, Texan BBQ, the travails of raising teenage daughters, and plenty of other topics on which I tend to “agree with you more than you agree with yourself.” I bet you didn’t know you had fans as far as Chile!

          3. JLM

            Wow what a great invite and I will take you up on it. It may not be right away.This comment is a huge kudo for the power and breadth of ideas and intelligent discussion and for And for the folks that it attracts.I have had the pleasure of meeting w/ Fred and others through this community and I have met the most interesting folks.Thanks for invite.

          4. Nathan Lustig

            @JLM:disqus @otravers:disqus I’m another big JLM fan down here in Chile. I got here two years ago for Startup Chile, had an amazing experience, came back to the states, sold my company and now I moved back to Santiago. If you do take otravers up on his offer, I’d love to extend my own invite to show you around Santiago, I can’t comment on raising any daughters, but I do love me some Texas BBQ!

          5. JLM

            Hey, I’m seeing Chile in my future.

          6. gregg dourgarian

            Also a big fan here JLM…not in Chile though. Minnesota. Four daughters. Happy to share my ice shack on Mille Lacs if you ever made it up here.

      2. William Mougayar

        I don’t see why not. But they would prob want it as Cuba not US. Maybe call is East Cuba?

    5. ShanaC

      as a canadian, what do you think that would be like in person?

      1. William Mougayar

        I’m not sure what you mean.

        1. ShanaC

          Cuba joining Canada.

          1. William Mougayar

            These ideas rarely happen as predicted.

          2. JamesHRH

            Anything that improves Canadian access to hot weather between Nov & May is to be adopted, post haste.

  8. awaldstein

    Is there an instance where intolerance as a strategy created anything positive at all?

    1. William Mougayar

      Good observation & I’m thinking of several less developed countries where intolerance and injustice are rampant.

      1. awaldstein

        There is no shortage of past and current examples of intolerance, racism and bigotry. They are all fails over time.Why the web inspires me is that for maybe the first time there is a way to stem the pain and longevity of these. Each of us can contribute to global change by our individual actions.Social connections accelerate social change.I’m overly optimistic I know but it’s by choice.

    2. William Mougayar

      Actually China might be a big corner case for that.

      1. awaldstein

        Very interesting.When I think of China I think of market size. You think of….?

        1. Tom Labus

          Police state.

          1. awaldstein


        2. William Mougayar

          But there lies the dichotomy: Economic prosperity and wealth on one hand vs. intolerance on freedom of expression & human rights violations on the other.

          1. awaldstein

            Not really a dichotomy.The right choice is to see it for what it is not balance the upside against the repression.

      2. BillSeitz


        1. William Mougayar

          i heard they are strict about certain things, like if you throw your chewing gum on the street apparently you get fined or something like that?

          1. Cam MacRae

            Yep. You can be caned for graffiti, and you’ll dangle at the end of a noose for importing narcotics; irrespective of your citizenship. Very clean place, Singapore.(There is still gum on the sidewalk, though :))

      3. ShanaC

        They may have long term problems because of that. Manufacturing is much easier than coming up with an idea factory. And we could bring parts of manufacturing back home, whereas exporting an idea factory, not so much.

        1. William Mougayar

          But there is more than Low cost manufacturing about China’s industrial machine.

        2. Cam MacRae

          I don’t think the Chinese need to import an idea factory, but rather cease persecuting those with the ideas.



      1. awaldstein

        Agree with the first part not the second.Is history bookmarked by successes or failures, by what the Greeks did or didn’t do.Some eras were just bad. Most were mixed and the pluses outshine the negatives in collective memory.

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. awaldstein

            No…I agree that all laws are intolerant of something. Smart phrase.I don’t agree that over time cultures are defined nor remembered by what they were intolerant of. The worst yes, the greatest ones no. And every culture and age has its flaws.

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          3. awaldstein

            We will have to disagree on this one FG.The world and logic and people especially are not necessarily that binary.Those who define themselves, their culture, their products and their companies by what they aren’t, do so because they don’t know what they are. This happens but it is not the realm of the great, it is the realm of the average.

          4. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          5. awaldstein

            :)You are making my day.I feel like I’m arguing with a dinosaur.

          6. JamesHRH

            But you are getting your ass kicked ! 😉

  9. SD

    This is not an economic issue with moral consequences. This is a MORAL / CIVIL RIGHTS issue that has some economic effects. Gay Marriage needs to be legalized immediately, and at the federal level…it shouldn’t be up to the states.

  10. EmilSt

    Any dogma that aims to contain the thought and freedom to act is the opposite of prosperity. We saw this with religion, communism, mass media… The Internet was break through, but unfortunately we see (and will see) attempts to contain it as well. Ironicly, over the course of history, I think that it was more difficult to deal with the “status quo” people then with the real challenges of society.

  11. leigh

    Diversity is a tenant of a healthy ecosystem. We all know what happened to those Irish Potatos.

    1. William Mougayar

      1 million died, another million went to America or Canada. The rest is history.

  12. pointsnfigures

    I don’t disagree on tolerance. Support same sex marriage as long as you don’t force churches to perform them. However, in the broader scheme of things, there is a fine line between tolerance and being stupid. For example, I am tolerant, but detest and have no use for communists. I wouldn’t let known commies in the US. Also, as a libertarian living in very blue Chicago, I find it’s much easier to be an openly gay person than a person who believes in limited government etc. When I go to parties, I am introduced by my liberal acquaintances as “my Republican friend”. I don’t introduce anyone by their politics. Just their name.I find many Republicans to be narrow minded-but I find most Democrats to be even narrower.

    1. Mike Kijewski

      Is pointsnfigures Mayor Bloomberg?And if not, why hasn’t Bloomberg posted on AVC yet? You know he’s a reader.

      1. pointsnfigures

        No, I am definitely not Bloomberg. If you are a liberal, you’d find we have much in common-but certainly different paths to get there.

      2. BillSeitz

        Bloomberg is definitely not a libertarian.

    2. fredwilson

      Intolerance is not limited to any dogma or orthodoxy

      1. pointsnfigures

        I agree. When I talk about some issues with Republicans it can be just as frustrating.

    3. Luke Chamberlin

      “I wouldn’t let known commies in the US.”I wonder if you would have let Sergey Brin’s parents into the US or denied their visas. His father after all was a member of the communist party and worked as an economist for the Russian central planning agency.That’s the problem with intolerance and it’s the reason the tolerant places are more successful. Which is the main idea behind this post.

    4. raycote

      If you purge all communist/socialist thinkers and their ideas from the American political dialog you essentially cripple any real political dialect exchange and with it much progressive political synthesis.

  13. Jen Berrent

    Thanks for writing this – not all/many business leaders use thier platformnto support civil rights issues. I strongly afre that there is a connection between tolerance and economic growth – NYC, San Fran, Boston, Austin as examples. Even Vegas needed acceptance to fuel its economy.

  14. Guest

    The concept of “tolerance” is a mindset that is much broader than just acceptance of a particular sexual preference, religion, and or skin color; it definitely has nothing to do with political parties.Intolerance is founded on the belief in the superiority of one way over another, and is such hierarchical, its about the status quo, and getting along or fitting in.Intolerance thrives in ideas such as “that’s the way its always been” I am sure that you could find a correlation between a vibrant start up community and the community position on ideas such as “gay marriage” or “race” or “religion.”If you look at the European debt issue you will note that one similarity that the countries in with the biggest debt burden are also predominantly Catholic. Thus intolerant, hierarachial, and tradition bound.

    1. fredwilson

      one of the things i like the most about our community here at AVC is our tolerance. many communities would ostracize ideas like the kid’s 9/11 conspiracy theories. i don’t share them but i sure welcome him to express them.

      1. Emily Merkle

        Thank you.

      2. Matt A. Myers

        This needs a billion upvotes.

      3. JLM

        One of the things YOU have created is a tone and others follow that tone. You have contributed that to the dialogue. That is real leadership. That is what leaders do.The other thing is that the conversation is about ideas and when ideas wrestle better ideas emerge. I learn so much here that I sometimes put a few extra bucks in the plate for tuition.You would not have the same outcomes if we were to discuss these matters in person as each person’s thoughts would be evaluated by their physical presence.If one of us turned out to be a unicorn that would change everything.This is why this is such an enjoyable salon. Comity.

        1. Guest

          Unicorn?Oh, no…I have been “outed!’

          1. JLM

            You’re damn right. Who do you think I was talking about?You can’t just change your damn avatar and expect nobody is going to notice, friend.We’re on constant alert for unicorns.

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          3. JLM

            Always wondered, Old Boy, do you eat the horns or not?

          4. JamesHRH


          5. Guest

            After three attempts of changing my avatar I gave up….and it took your comment to make me realize that it had been changed!DAMN! You just cannot pull off a practical joke on the internet and that is the problem! The internet lacks humor!Down with the internet!

          6. Donna Brewington White

            Explanation of the new look?

          7. Guest

            JLM said in an earlier comment,”You would not have the same outcomes if we were to discuss these matters in person as each person’s thoughts would be evaluated by their physical presence.If one of us turned out to be a unicorn that would change everything.This is why this is such an enjoyable salon. Comity.”So, I decided to be the AVC community Unicorn!Now, come to find out FAKE GRIMLOCK eats Unicorns and JLM claims that we should have community watches for Unicorns!I have never known such animosity toward Unicorns! 🙂

          8. Donna Brewington White

            And here I just thought that JLM’s comment and your new appearance were coincidental. Should have known better.And Fake Grimlock eats just about anything. No one is truly safe.

          9. Guest

            With FG you have to make sure that you don’t attract him….that gives you time to run.He loves redheads….he will be attracted to them first….if you are a redhead then dye your hair as that will buy you time….I have white hair he is going to think that I am way past prime…I don’t even have to run! 🙂



      5. ShanaC

        I blame you for that in the most positive way 😛

      6. Donna Brewington White

        If Kid goes too long without saying it, I get antsy…almost get tempted to say it for him.

      7. John Revay

        Implied disclaimer on this blog :)”The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent those of the sponsor”

    2. Matt A. Myers

      I imagine you could find some correlation between how social and engaged a community is, all parts of it, all voices – with the tolerance level that exists.This first comes with feeling safe, though there is the part of people being taught or growing up in an environment where communication is taught – and respectful communication at that; Being kind, listening, taking time to think through issues for yourself, etc..I see that the longer a status quo has existed and been allowed to perpetuate and permeate a culture, locally or broader, the more resistance and less obvious support there will be for the individual to feel safe about being transparent and open about their opinion/beliefs.This requires learning how to respect others, which includes not “shouting” in someone’s face what you are about all the time and also not dismissing someone because you don’t understand or assume what they get out of it, even if you’ve heard a variation or story of how a different person sees and experiences it; You should be genuinely inquisitive to learn more – where you will find / be exposed to the similarities between say religious or spiritual activities, and what purpose they fill for each.Many if not most people are afraid of conflict, though it doesn’t have to be a scary thing – of course it is if you’re in an environment where the safest thing to do is not state what you support.There are a lot of bullies in this world still, from local politicians trying to push their self-serving agenda forward to full governments or dictatorships. Learning how to manage a bully, to expose a bully, to recover from the emotions a bully brings up in you and learning how to engage support of people around you around an issue, to “rally the troops” are some of the most important skills a person can learn. It’s lacking, though the tools are evolving and making it easier online – so now there’s the next layer of helping facilitate these mechanisms further — and by having more examples and mentors to show how it’s done / lead by example.

      1. JLM

        A good skill to learn is hand to hand combat.My Mother, a sweet but stern all suffering Irish Catholic one of 7 girls, used to preach turning the other cheek. She believed in it completely.My Father, a rough tough career Infantryman, used to preach smacking the shit out of both cheeks. He believed in it completely.I studied both schools of thought — involuntarily, mind you — and my Father’s tutelage turned out to be more effective and useful.Upon going to a new high school, I had a particular tormentor who was a bit bigger than me. He was making my life miserable.I looked for my moment and I applied my Father’s lessons in a deserted stairwell one afternoon and negotiated a separate peace with my tormentor.It lasted for the rest of high school unbroken.

        1. Guest

          “Deserted Stairwell…”Yes, I too experienced my first “Eureka” moment in a deserted stairwell. Like your mother, my mother was a big fan of the concept of turning the other cheek. She engrained in me the ideal to never be a “bully” which was defined as picking on kids who were littler than you.Of course in theory that was fine, but in reality I was always a foot to a foot and a half bigger than the other kids and thus every one was “littler than me.”One day I found myself at 14 in a deserted stairwell surrounded by other boys who were 18/19 years old; while I was “bigger” than they were I was outnumbered and obviously they were not “little kids.”I still got beat up pretty bad, but I did fight back, and THAT made all the difference in the world. I then realized the importance of thinking for ones self and taking basic principles and applying them to reality.I never again found myself tormented by people who were “littler” than myself. But you do have to appreciate the education that one gains from “deserted stairwells.”

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          2. Guest

            Let me share some wisdom with you…From Kindergarden to graduation from high school I went to 10 different schools located in 9 different countries and or states; as such I was the proverbial “new kid in town” almost every year.I can also attest to the fact that the first thing everyone wants to do is beat up the new kid. So, you get beat up (violence) and then you become everyone’s friend….The same thing seems to hold true for nations…look at us and England.It seems to be a holdover from our prehuman days where males place in a herd is determined by their ability to stand up to the older males…

        2. Matt A. Myers

          Hehe.I had a similar bully, who bullied me, subtly, but still, every day of grade 7. During the following summer I hit puberty, grew a foot+. He stayed short. First day he opened his mouth, all my anger came out and without even realizing it I had a hand around his neck / hand at his throat, him pinned against the lockers – his feet off of the ground – and I told him to not say anything again. He didn’t.I want to learn Aikido still. I started training for it – though I’m much healthier and more ready after getting my body ready from 5 years of yoga. 🙂



  15. kidmercury

    as a person who loves beefs this is an especially great post. would love for a post on abortion at some point.yup, intolerance destroys prosperity. you know what else does? war.9/11 was an inside job,kid mercury

    1. fredwilson

      abortion is a tough one kid. i believe a woman must be in control of her body and her reproductive system. and i am a strong supporter of choice. but i totally understand the pro life stance. you can’t argue that a life isn’t a life either. man what a tough issue. you sure you want me to post on it?

      1. kidmercury

        hahaha i think it would be great if you posted on it! but i really expect people to lose their cool on that issue so comments could be rowdy, if you’re up for that.i sympathize with both sides and see it as a bit hopeless; i only wish it were decided on a local level, so that people could choose the community that most reflected their values. there is also a kook perspective that the agenda of organizations like planned parenthood is part of the eugenics/population control agenda. i do think that may be the case which further compounds the complexity of the issue.

        1. pointsnfigures

          I am with Fred on that one. The abortion rights debate is sort of silly. However, I would support all efforts to ban government monies going to support it. People should be free to make a choice and spend their money as they see fit. (Same goes with drugs by the way)

          1. kidmercury

            yes i really do not like to see government money going to abortion clinics… me that is just as unpleasant as banning abortions in all situations. as a general rule of thumb i think government should be big at the local level, small at the global level. i think internet platforms will benefit greatly from adopting that perspective as well.

          2. Matt A. Myers

            I understand your stance here, relating to your another post of yours that decisions should be community based – and then let people make decisions on where they want to live based on matching beliefs / needs – however, doesn’t that then too cultivate a society of intolerance?

          3. BillSeitz

            I’m only pro-govt-money-for-abortion on a straight welfare-ROI basis.

          4. Matt A. Myers

            So, let’s get rid of all government healthcare then too? Since we don’t all need heart surgeries, we really shouldn’t be paying for other people who do need it… (coming from a Canadian)

      2. Max Yoder

        I think you just did.

      3. Morgan Warstler

        just fund a tech play for artificial wombs… once the baby can live outside the mother, we just let anyone who wants to pay for and keep it, have it.the market will clear. tensions will die down.

        1. fredwilson

          i think you are half serious

          1. Morgan Warstler

            force conservatives to put up or shut up.remove from radfems any notion of controlling another life.both should now be happy, if they aren’t they are exposed.This isn’t my preferred strategy, I think children and organs etc. have to be treated as property, but I think it is the nearest real solution.

        2. JLM

          Not to be too dreary but that is what adoption services in great manner seek to be — the repository of unwanted or unloved children.Unfortunately, that creates a whole new set of problems — ones that I think have to be dealt with, mind you, and not ignored — all the white babies get adopted and not all the black babies get adopted.It is sad but it is preferable to killing them.

        3. ShanaC

          I can see that being awesome for older women and cancer patients, and actually doing very well…..

      4. JLM

        I am perfectly comfortable with abortion as long as you are willing to identify which of the members of this salon you would be theoretically willing to sacrifice on its altar.Well, as long as it’s not you or me, of course.Life is always the best alternative even when inconvenient.Abortion is a barbaric practice and is as immoral as slavery.Man has been given the power to create life and with that power comes the responsibility to protect it.

        1. fredwilson

          i don’t believe this is an issue that men should opine on

          1. JLM

            Really, one half of that child’s DNA comes from a man.The collaborative effort to create life creates awesome responsibilities — including a man’s obligation to support the life that he has created.When that sperm is doing the butterfly swimming to its desired destination, it is carrying a boat load of obligations including the necessity to protect and support the life that it creates.This is literally skin in the game and that mandates a voice to be heard..

          2. fredwilson

            the realities of the situation are a bit different than your idealized view of it.

          3. JLM

            I get what you are saying but I also think that there a lot of contemporary challenges which could be avoided or absolved if we would identify the principles and adhere to them:Don’t engage in behavior that will conceive children unless you are willing to raise them.Don’t start expensive wars — blood, treasure and time — unless you are willing to pay for them, tell Mother’s their sons are dead and to be distracted from otherwise running the country.

          4. ShanaC

            Guys can run from relationships, or babies. You don’t need to watch 16 and pregnant to realize that one.

          5. JLM

            Which is exactly why women should be careful about their behavior.From a legal perspective, a guy may run but he cannot legally hide. And a woman should not let him hide. He should be held legally accountable for what he has created.

          6. ShanaC

            sure he can, he can go abroad.

          7. Emily Merkle

            Abortion is tough. We would do well to remember, though, that life and respect for it extends well beyond birth.

        2. Matt A. Myers

          The issue is that society doesn’t (yet) provide the means for everyone born to actually be taken care of.The best option that I hope everyone (“both sides”) could come together and agree on is that we need to increase the quality of life of everyone and let people know their newborns would be taken care of, so that fear and worry is eliminated / alleviated from the decision making process.Making sure everyone is educated properly as well is another factor. Switching the education system and society around too, so it’s more dynamic, and less fixed in constraints of when different life events occur (learning, child bearing/birth/raising, etc) (@skinnerlayne:disqus )

          1. JLM

            Are we talking about conception or abortion.The best antidote to abortion is a thoughtful approach to conception.Do not engage in any behavior which could create life unless you are man enough to support the life you create.It is really just that simple.I am tired of hearing spineless men and women decrying the inconvenience of their actions and thereby admitting they are not smart enough to know how to operate a vagina and a penis simultaneously.If you don’t want to have a baby, then don’t create one..

          2. ShanaC

            So help bring down the cost of birth control.…Do you really want to trust birth control that was bought out of the back of a car because the price goes up if it isn’t covered?

          3. Matt A. Myers

            Some people consider birth control to be a form of abortion. First need to define what is abortion.. really before you can have any discussion you have to define terms so everyone is on the same page..

          4. ShanaC

            Medically speaking, that is incorrect, unless you think eggs count as people.

          5. Matt A. Myers

            I agree fully with you, though there are some edge cases.Rape for one (and if it’s a woman raping a man, that brings up a whole other issue relating to responsibility, and other).So really we first need to define at what point conception turns into having an abortion?Obviously the physical act of sex with high probability will lead to a sperm meeting an egg, if no contraception is used (even some probability if it is used).Is a morning-after pill considered abortion?Another edge case is when there’s danger to the mother, or perhaps in the case of twins or multiples – if the survival rate is greatly diminished to the point of maybe all life dying unless ending the life of one.Any biological thing, even a cell, is living. At what point does the biology of a human turn into something more complex than say an ant, or a fly, or any more complex than the animals we eat – that we readily kill (indirectly for most people of course)? At what point is it what makes us intelligent, self-aware, or whatever it is that makes us ‘worthy’ of living?Life is wonderful, though like most things in life, it’s not as black and white and can’t nicely fit into the box you’re painting – but it will be nice when the structures are in place where everyone feels comfortable enough to raise a child no matter when that time comes, even if it’s unplanned.I don’t know what these answers are. Most people I find are too emotionally reactive to even want to make any considerations; It’s not really a topic we regularly get to talk about, and there are so many subtleties that it’s easy to leave an unfinished distaste.

          6. ShanaC

            Actually a better edge case would be a sample of you/me growing in a petri dish – is it a human? at what point does it get to be a separate human from me? Is it alive in a cellular sense – beyond eating petri dish food, can it perform “alive” things, like reproduce eventually? At what point is it an “alive human being”(no, I don’t have answers to this question)And the morning after pill isn’t abortion. it prevents conception.http://health.howstuffworks…Note that pregnancy technically is defined as post-implantation (embryos don’t implant all the time). And the data to define mechanism preventing implantation and its relationship to the forms of estrogen in birth control/plan b is not well established. So either way, not an abortificant. Same with the birth control pill

          7. JLM

            The edge cases, as you call them, can be dealt with when there is a consensus on the core issues.I err on the side of life in all things.

        3. ShanaC

          Are you equally comfortable sacrificing the mom on the same altar? Her life?What if it was your daughter?And also, why is the government legislating my moral positions in a personal matter?

    2. kidmercury

      government control is very much related to diversity. the more we move to a centrally planned world, the more we are limited to the vision of the central planners rather than an organic, bottom up, grassroots process. this makes us intolerant and is a news headline that i just saw today:…the US government is really seeking control of the is important to understand we are clearly on a trajectory towards greater government control, and have been on this trajectory since at least 9/11, and that this trajectory occurs under both major political parties in the US and in corresponding parties around the world.

      1. Luke Chamberlin

        There’s a reason cities are always more tolerant than the countries they reside in.

    3. ShanaC

      Please no.

  16. Seenator

    I was discussing with a friend saying that in almost every other field the world is changing for the better quickly (relatively speaking…) – poverty, hunger, health, education, sanitation, communications etc….Except in one key area- our tolerance and acceptance of those unlike ourselves.Sure- there has been and will continue to be great and positive change on the “tolerance” front as well.40 years ago – the world seemed to have come together to solve a “vertical/one off” tolerance problem around blacks and civil rights.Now- the African American community (not everybody of course!) themselves are opposed to Gay marriages: http://voices.washingtonpos……Why has there no concerted effort to horizontally and structurally attack the tolerance problem so that we are not solving new tolerance problems towards a new class of people every generation?Why hasn’t the Bill and Melinda Gates or any of the large non-profits large/stealth/public marketing/branded/communication effort to solve this problem.Maybe- the argument for structural tolerance has to be linked to prosperity and capitalism that Paul Romer is suggesting.

  17. Cam MacRae

    I’m pretty sure the kind of people who support such amendments are quite content for the tolerance to occur elsewhere, being fully aware that the prosperity will later be distributed to them in the form of middle class welfare etc.



  18. John Minnihan

    When I saw this -…- I thought ‘this is just an uneducated homophobe standing in front of a small congregation of intolerant bigots. He can’t possibly represent the mindset of the entire state of North Carolina.”I guess we’ll find out for sure when they vote on this amendment.The most important life lesson one can ever learn is that it’s possible to build yourself up without tearing others down. Education matters, because knowledge of others is the first step toward acceptance of them. The fear of the ‘different’ loses out to the joy of learning about something new. They become us, and us them.

  19. Keenan

    Fred, One of my favorite posts you’ve ever done.I would love to sit and listen to Paul, brilliant stuff.I have long argued and believed tolerance is without a doubt the most important thing we can bring to the table as a family, as neighborhood, as a community, as city, as a state, as a country and as a world.Tolerance, not only for people, but for ideas, for philosophies, etc. Tolerance allows innovation and change.Without tolerance, it’s almost impossible to get anything done, to move the needle, to make change, or to grow.Without tolerance everything is single threaded.

    1. fredwilson

      hey, glad to see you back in the AVC comments!we’ve missed you

    2. JLM

      You must have been doing a lot of powerwashing, my friend.

    3. Donna Brewington White

      Good to “see” you, Keenan.Your avatar popped up somewhere this week (can’t remember where – maybe in response to something on Tumblr) and I wondered, “whatever happened to him?”All is well?

    4. ShanaC

      welcome back- where have you been :p

  20. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

    I’ve been an admirer of Paul Romer for a long time. One of the most important things he’s working on is the concept of “charter cities”, setting up cities with modern institutions in underdeveloped countries to spur development (like Hong Kong encouraged China to modernize). It’s the most exciting idea in development today. Excellent that he’s connecting to USV.More info on charter cities:

  21. Matt A. Myers

    Another scroll with text by a Dalai Lama that I have hanging in my place,”Tolerance”The person who hasa tremendous reserve ofpatience and tolerancehas a certain degree oftranquility and calmnessin his or her life.Such a person is not onlyhappy and moreemotionally grounded,but also seems to bephysically healthier andto experience less illness.The person possesses astrong will,has a good appetite, andcan sleep with aclear conscience.

    1. fredwilson

      has a good appetite!i like that

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Hehe. Me too. :)ap·pe·tite /ˈapiˌtīt/Noun:1) A natural desire to satisfy a bodily need, esp. for food.2) A strong desire or liking for something.

    2. ShanaC

      I need to read more of the dalai lama’s works. Where do you think I should start?

      1. Matt A. Myers

        The Dalai Lama is a title passed down to successors. I’m not overly sure of a good place to start. Give me some time to think about it. 🙂

  22. Varun Shetty

    Fred, you should read Amartya Sen’s paper – Development as Freedom. Great argument that freedom is the main determinant of individual initiative and a primary element of development.

    1. fredwilson

      will do. thanks

  23. Morgan Warstler

    Hear! hear! I can’t wait until most gays are allowed to be Republican. If you are wealthy can’t choose to vote to keep your money in your pocket… you really aren’t equal.Wake up North Carolina. Gays are a friggin blast.

  24. Skinner Layne

    Warning: Contrarian Views Follow.Tolerance is just one rung on our ladder of culturally relative values. No matter who we are, as individuals or as communities (including but not limited to physical geographic communities), we categorize things into those we accept or reject, tolerate or refuse to tolerate, and within the categories of acceptance and tolerance, we have sub-categories filled with caveats, nuance, reservations, and uncertainties. Our response to “otherness” is one of the most complex areas of human psychology.As a gay man who grew up in a Southern Baptist family in semi-rural Northwest Arkansas who now lives as an expatriate in a long-term gay relationship in a highly conservative and parochial catholic country (where abortion is still illegal), I have experienced first-hand the “iterative” approach to tolerance that the vast majority of people have. Most white liberals from the coasts would characterize my family as intolerant, and yet I see in them forms of acceptance that are the manifestation of genuine love and grace, even if on the surface it doesn’t appear as such.At the same time when I lived in uptown Dallas (and in my travels to the Valley and New York) I experienced a lot of judgment and intolerance for other things (my conservative sexual ethics, my semi-traditional Christian theological views, my libertarian political views, my disgust with fashion trends & consumerism, etc). This idea that people are either tolerant OR intolerant is simply a false dichotomy. We are all intolerant of many things. The question is whether do so consciously and based on serious reflection and introspection, or simply follow the zeitgeist of our chosen tribe to determine what we will and won’t tolerate.We should also not look at intolerance as a universal negative, either. Even as it is mostly a bad thing, intolerance can force us to clarify why we do and believe certain things, especially when we are in the minority. Do we have reason for our outlying beliefs. An overly tolerant culture does not force this process as readily. If everybody tolerates everything, without asking “well, why exactly do you believe that, because it seems wrong to me for these reasons…” then we are essentially letting each other get away with beliefs and behaviors that we have not even critically considered ourselves.

    1. fredwilson

      i am not sure it is that contrarian. i agree that you need to have a strong belief system. but i also think you need to be tolerant of other belief systems.

      1. Skinner Layne

        I’m not sure we need people to have “strong” belief systems as much as we need people to have well-considered reasons behind them. But moreover, we can’t be tolerant of every belief system. We reject those whose beliefs motivate them to violence, for example.

        1. fredwilson

          good point

        2. JLM

          Your values evolve with time and life experience and perspective.The values of your youth, a time of great certainty, are perceived to be strong. And unbending, as you well……….know it all.The values of your middle age, a time of chasing your dreams, are more pliable with room for other views. Like you wife’s views which may well dictate your happiness.The values of your maturity, a time of reflection, are broad and expansive with room for tempering and softening and, hopefully, without judgment.Everything changes when you have children particularly girls.

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          2. Skinner Layne

            Am I inferring correctly that according to your view, one cannot have fully formed / mature values unless and until they have children?

          3. JLM

            Well, yes and no, if you read what I wrote, I said — “Everything changes when you have children particularly girls.”One could have their children early in life — in their 20s or later in life say their 40s.Yes, I do think that one cannot have fully formed values — particularly the necessity to subjugate one’s wants to another’s needs — until they are confronted with the challenge of parenthood.I don’t mean to put too fine a point it, but I do believe it.

          4. Skinner Layne

            Plato, Jesus, and Buddha might disagree. As do I.

          5. JLM

            I adore that guy Jesus, literally. He’s like a God to me. I’m going to worship him tom’w.But even Jesus did not have to raise teenage girls, so I am going to have to call bullshit on you and Jesus too.Don’t talk about it if you don’t know what you are talking about. I do.,

          6. Skinner Layne

            Similarly you don’t have the experiences other people have. It’s extremely arrogant to presume that your particular experiences give you more mature views and that anybody without those same experiences could not possibly have acquired the same level of maturity any other way. Your closing statement there is the perfect example of how heteronormativity seeks to entrench itself by perpetually marginalizing otherness.

          7. JLM

            Calm down, Skinner, you are personalizing what was a very subjunctive observation. You are playing the victim.I was not ascribing any of those views to me personally though as a matter of fact I have lived through those phases of a man’s life and can speak with just a bit of authority.One either has or has not had teen age daughters. That is an irrefutable fact. I wouldn’t wish them on everyone.As to “…the perfect example of how heteronormativity seeks to entrench itself by perpetually marginalizing otherness…”, I am going have to go get the old secret decoder ring out to figure that one out.Stop playing the victim, everything is not about you. Chill.

          8. Skinner Layne

            Not playing the victim at all. Simply observing an arrogant, or at the very least, myopic view of the world. You resort to ad hominem in order to marginalize my characterization of your definition of maturity in your last reply. By reiterating these “phases of a man’s life” you are attempting to cement your heteronormative meta-narrative as paramount, with any other course of life events being in some way inferior and less able to comment maturely on the way the would ought to be. It is clearly not a personal attack on me, but a categorical attack upon anybody whose life has not patterned in the same manner as your own.

          9. JLM

            “Not playing the victim at all.” Huh?This dialogue started with statement: “Your values evolve with time and life experience and perspective.” as non-judgmental a statement as can be made.It ended with the statement: “The values of your maturity, a time of reflection, are broad and expansive with room for tempering and softening and, hopefully, without judgment.”You have somehow morphed this to imply some element of judgment — “without judgment” — in which some lifestyle is “paramount” or “inferior” when the statements themselves indicate exactly the opposite. This is plain reading of the words.The problem here is one of reading comprehension.There is no element of attack or comparison of anything.Again, the secret decoder ring will have to interpret what “…attempting to cement your heteronormative meta-narrative as paramount…” means.Pure gibberish.You should have to raise a teenage girl as punishment.

          10. Skinner Layne

            I’d hate to be one of your daughters, that’s my final thought.

          11. JLM

            And what a deep, insightful and mature thought that is, Skinner.Well done.

          12. JamesHRH

            Interestingly intolerant reaction on your part.Numbers don’t lie – most men choose women for partners; most men choose marriage & parenting as their greatest avenue for personal subjugation ( hence the close correlation to maturity or world view & parenting ). I have a brother with no children – our world views are drastically different & parenting is the difference.From your bio & your desire to upbraid respected pillar of this community, you are an easy read – you go against the grain, with malice of forethought.How’s that working for you?Before you ask, I can pretty much tell you that driving straight down Heteronomative Avenue has worked for @JLM:disqus

          13. JLM

            “parenting as their greatest avenue for personal subjugation”Now that, my friend, is a turn of a phrase.BTW, is Heteronormative Avenue in North or South Austin? I can’t find it on my GPS.

          14. JamesHRH


          15. Skinner Layne

            As I pointed out in my original comment, I don’t think tolerance is a supreme virtue. We are all intolerant of at least a couple of things, sometimes many things. I don’t ask people to be tolerant, I only expect them to critically examine themselves, their beliefs, and their actions. I was raised by a self-righteous bigot, but I love my father anyway. I may not be able to tolerate his behavior or his words, but that does not diminish my love for him. It is difficult to love our neighbors–even more so in the impersonal forum of the Internet. While my comment may have come across as being snide, or “upbraiding,” I did not intend for it to be so. It was a genuine reaction to somebody who was publicly decrying the misery of parenthood. If the comments he made were meant to be hyperbole (referring to having daughters as punishment) then I unequivocally apologize.To your latter point, however, driving straight (pun intended?) down heteronormative avenue indeed works. Of course it works. That’s why it has become normative. For most people (or, perhaps a plurality), it maybe even makes them happy and fulfilled. But no plurality (or even majority) has the right to marginalize the rest of society by making the rules for itself and not for everybody. Democracy is no less tyrannical than an autocracy simply because there are more tyrants. Whether the majority votes itself a set of rules that marginalizes the poor and the destitute, racial minorities, or exploits the rich through oppressive taxation, it is not governing for everybody’s benefit, but for its own.We (I mean this in the global, not the personal sense) do not have to tolerate each other. We do not have to like each other. We do not have to care about each other. We do not even have to respect each other. But we must accept and respect the right of each other to exist, to be free, and to lead a life in pursuit of happiness without seeking to destroy each other through the police powers of the State or marginalize each other from participation in society through the soft power of projecting dominant cultural expectations on everybody.

          16. JamesHRH

            You are completely correct up to the final 6 words.The majority casts a shadow.If you are not in the majority (and there are a LOT of ways not to be in the majority, like, say, founding startups as a career choice) you need to deal with the shade.

          17. ShanaC

            skinner, for many things I agree with you.That being said, I think parts of jeff’s perspective that there are a stages to a man’s life in a hetronormative fashion is pointedly true for the vast majority of guys out there (who do mostly fall into some form of heteronormative behavior as straight men). Sometimes I think feminism + the pill + other technological changes killed the idea of life stages that we as a culture should try to get more people to fulfill because it makes for a more positive lifestyle for the culture at largeEG: raising children in long terms stable relationships. In the US, marriage is the norm (abroad it is just long term stable relationship without documentation). We know already that this is good for kids. We know it is good for the partners in a lot of cases who are in the relationship, and yet we don’t encourage it, we don’t set up life stage events to make these moments part of the changes of us as individualsAnd I think it is problematic, and explains the rise of the guys who make me want to cry on the TV show Girls. Or the guys I try to date. …

          18. Skinner Layne

            Shana, thank you for pointing out the greatest flaw in my thinking…in attempting to counter the meta-narrative, I neglected to remember that for many people, a jarring life event like having children is what spurs them into maturity. However, it is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for such. I know countless men who have children who are just as selfish and immature as they were before. And I know some saintly, self-less ones who have never had children. The unifying element of mature, tolerant people, is friction with others and a positive, conscious response to that friction. Whether it is children, spouse, roommate, work-mates, business partners, business adversaries, or whatever. But the conscious response is what is required. That is the necessary condition.

          19. JamesHRH

            not only is it true, it is the central thesis in a highly regarded academic work – The Seasons of a Man’s Life (there is a companion study for Women).

          20. JLM

            Great book. Great perspective.

          21. ShanaC

            why does the gendering/sex of the child matter, out of curiosity?

          22. JLM

            Girls are special and own their Daddies.

          23. Donna Brewington White

            Three boys, one girl in this house. Only one is perfect according to my husband. Absolute perfection, the envy of angels. Guess which one.

          24. ShanaC

            I know I don’t based on the issues my dad complains about. Which is a problem for him, he’s going to lose his kids over it.

        3. Cam MacRae

          I quite like the apophthegm that one should have “strong opinions, weakly held”.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            Better than weak opinions, strongly held.(Says the mother of teenagers.)

          2. Cam MacRae

            Those seem to be the garden variety opinion, unfortunately.



        1. Skinner Layne

          Grimlock is a good example of (healthy) intolerance. He knows what he tolerates and what he does not. He is actively intolerant of people who espouse ideas that are contradicted by logic / science / evidence. He is not ashamed of his intolerance either.

          1. ShanaC

            I would say that is part of being tolerant.A long time ago, I thought this was the best explination of tolerance and pluralism I ever read (it is in specific jewish contexts though, still, I think the write made an excellent point):…I also think his series “Hilchot Pluralism” is worth reading on how pluralism should actually work.

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


    2. Luke Chamberlin

      Agree that tolerance is shades of grey. While I am tolerant of most people and lifestyles, I am very intolerant of UGG boots, for example.

      1. JLM

        Haha, Uggs? Really?I love them because I never wear socks with them but then I only wear them in Steamboat Springs which is very tolerant of anything.Haha, you wag! Well played!Me, I can’t stand “do rags”. They are so nasty.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Re: “do rags”I had a thought of what a “do rag” was, and then Wikipedia’d it – and it wasn’t what I thought.… <- is that what you meant?

          1. JLM

            Yes but the more flamboyant Mexican gang kind of do rag.

          2. ShanaC


      2. Cam MacRae

        Ugg boots? Recant. Immediately… Unless you’re talking about the wearing of said boots outdoors, in which case you have my blessing. Same goes for lamb’s wool moccasins.

        1. Luke Chamberlin

          I have a pair of Ugg slippers that I wear indoors, they are great.But people here wear them on top of jeans and ride the NYC subway. The boots get covered in filth. It’s so horrible I can’t even finish writing this senten

          1. Cam MacRae

            Completely agree. Wearing uggs is acceptable when you’re indoors, or walking from the beach to the kombi – that’s it.

          2. Luke Chamberlin

            I realize that it’s your national footwear, so I appreciate it.

          3. Donna Brewington White

            Oh, Cam, and I had such high hopes for you.

          4. JLM

            Haha, you need a real set of problems to deal with.Well played, wag!

          5. Luke Chamberlin

            I don’t know what a wag is but I’m honored that you consider me one.

          6. JLM

            In its contemporary form, a “WAG” refers to “wives and girlfriends” of professional athletes in particular English soccer athletes. This meaning has however been shoplifted from its original form.In it prior form, a wag was a fun loving and brilliant observer of life’s foibles. In that matter, William Buckley would have been a wag. It implies intelligence, irony and keen observation in a fun loving and pleasant manner. You want to invite wags to dinner parties to provide the entertainment.There is also just a drop of the “wog” in that English term meaning — wiley, Oriental gentleman. The common thread being intelligence.In any event it is intended as a compliment.

          7. kidmercury

            hahhahaha…….i totally agree UGGs as outdoor wear, lol wtf

          8. Emily Merkle

            Uggs are crafted for the après – ski set.

          9. Emily Merkle

            I meant apres surf. Shout out to Manhattan Beach

      3. Donna Brewington White

        “I am very intolerant of UGG boots”Oh, Luke, you lost me there. I won’t down-vote you though.I wear my UGGs almost year round — even in Southern California. So does my husband.

        1. Luke Chamberlin

          Thank you for wielding your newly-granted downvoting powers responsibly.

        2. ShanaC

          I’m with luke – they are fugly to wear outside. Get a pair of real winter boots or la canadienne – both will look less ick after getting in contact with winter slush and salt.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            What is this “winter slush and salt” you speak of?#planetcalifornia

          2. ShanaC

            you don’t want to know….

        3. Cam MacRae


        1. Donna Brewington White

          Ha! Love it.

        2. Luke Chamberlin


      4. Ruth BT

        On behalf of all Australians I am very sorry we inflicted the ugg boot on you, I would like to point out however that the fashion of the ugg boot worn outside the home went out in the mid 80’s in Oz… it seems that some well meaning trendsetters on the other side of the Pacific mistook this Rolls Royce of slippers as a legitimate shoe and wore it outside again!

    3. Matt A. Myers

      Wow. You sure love to tackle a good challenge – and know how to do it – putting yourself directly in the middle of it! Awesome! That’s how change happens. 🙂

      1. Emily Merkle

        Yay. Thanks for playing.

    4. Donna Brewington White

      I appreciate this complex comment — complex, but clearly communicated.This statement really rings true for me: “The question is whether do so consciously and based on serious reflection and introspection, or simply follow the zeitgeist of our chosen tribe to determine what we will and won’t tolerate.”I know that not everyone can be an intellectual or think deeply on every issue, but it is unconscious acceptance that troubles me — and blindly accepting positions without considering the principles involved.Like you, I have found that sometimes those who preach tolerance can be the most intolerant. Intolerance is based on fear, it seems.

      1. Skinner Layne

        Indeed, and in the case of the Tolerance Priests, they fear other people’s judgment. They have conflated judgment with judgmentalism, which are two entirely different things. Society and all human interactions are predicated on judgment. We have to make judgments or we would be paralyzed like Burridan’s ass. “This person has the kind of values and beliefs that make me want to do business with them” is not the same as going around and pointing at everybody you meet and saying “you sinner, you will burn in hell.”

      2. Skinner Layne


      3. ShanaC

        Most people are afraid because most people’s identity are weak. If you substituted one part for another, they won’t notice well enough.

    5. ShanaC

      The last part is definitley true, as well as the fact that tolerant/intolerant is a false dichotomy.I would not say though that it is because “we’ve growing tolerant as a country in an untestable way” I would say we’ve become more intolerant – we’re less willing to test ourselves against outside views to see if they hold up.And I would seriously ask you the question: would you feel comfortable moving back to your family home with your partner and raise kids as an out man? That to me is the test of tolerance.And as someone who comes from an equally conservative group, when I say I wouldn’t move back to where I grew up because of the attitudes I hear casually tossed around and because of the ways I was treated because I was different, then you are talking about a serious brain drain issue.And not are you talking about a brain drain issue in the short term, you are talking about it in a long term sense. I know more lawyers and bankers (etc ect) than small buisness owners (particularly in technology) with “personal leverage issues” where I grew up, from my high school class, etc. With the models of other pushed out, “new money and new opportunities” are actually fleeing my area, and with it more people going to charity groups to feed them.that to me is a problem.

      1. Skinner Layne

        To your question–no, I wouldn’t. There are a lot of reasons for that beyond the issue at-hand, but all other things being equal, I wouldn’t be opposed to it (assuming I could surgically remove one particular member of my family from the equation) for those reasons. But that brain drain isn’t just a symptom of intolerance in this context. The rural/urban divide seems to just be self-selecting. People who are open to new experiences and are curious tend to go places where things are happening and changing. People who appreciate stasis tend to be more comfortable in a rural area. I’m not sure that this will always be the case, and I certainly know many gay men who live in non-urban environments and are extremely happy.Brain drain is a threat to any region, city, country, for a thousand different reasons. Certainly any such geographic area would do well not to alienate groups at the outset. Talent retention is hard enough as it is.

        1. ShanaC

          Some backstory – I grew up in an orthodox Jewish area 45 minutes from manhattan via train. Aka an urban area (relatively speaking). Yet there is a brain drain here, as well as one in the “single orthodox jewish community” in Upper West Side. (so as a result I’m not surprised when you say you know of gay men who live in rural areas.)It becomes highly problematic when a religious/ethnic group with close ties to itself doesn’t encourage diversity of professions. This actually is happening with the people I grew up with, and it causes massive problems when an industry (partially) collapses, because there isn’t an extensive local network to branch into a new profession. That I see as more of a problem. (I see this with law and with banking where I grew up – tution pressues dictate high paying jobs, and those professions are closed out for most in a way that wasn’t before, and for many startup culture is also closed out because of the work structure and professional mindset going in)I do think more “closed” and statsis seeking cultures run into problems because reality isn’t static at all. And I do think the same thought process informs “classic intolerance” as economic intolerance .

    6. kidmercury

      ^2……outstanding comment

      1. Matt A. Myers

        I know eh. I like this Skinner kid.. You should check out his project if you haven’t yet –

    7. AgeOfSophizm

      I agree with @kidmercury:disqus great comment. It’s like in today’s Western societies, I’ve noticed a lot of hard core Rand followers. Yet these folks have never read, for example, Marx. I find it hard to believe you could fully validate your objectivists beliefs without understanding the opposing views.

  25. Ryan Thomas

    As a North Carolinian, I agree. We have so many other areas that we need to focus our time and energy on.

  26. Nathan Guo

    Can we stop calling it ‘tolerance’ and instead call it ‘acceptance?’ The notion that we shouldn’t restrict freedoms for economic reasons is a middling argument, but a compromise nonetheless.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      People understand tolerance as well as they understand acceptance. There needs to be a framework created to help teach and guide people through what it means, and how to understand your feelings so you can learn to connect to others and be accepting/tolerant. There shouldn’t really even be a word for it – it should just be. Though we’ve evolved to beings of language, at least for teaching / learning concepts – though once learned can have a still mind – and then just be. 🙂

    2. Luke Chamberlin

      But those two words are not synonymous. You can tolerate something without accepting it.

      1. Donna Brewington White


    3. JLM

      Tolerance requires a two way street. Each side must tolerate the other.Acceptance is delicately different, it does not mandate a two way street.I think this debate is really about approval.We will look back in 25 years and realize we spent a lot of time dealing with a meaningless subtlety.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Ahh. I like this.

      2. William Mougayar

        I like approval too. It is less ambiguous than tolerance. It mplies a Yes or No- either you approve or you don’t. Tolerance is more subjective & it invites a debate over its nuances.



      4. ShanaC

        I think this debate is relevant.Tolerance doesn’t even require acknowledging my existence. It means you allow yourself to vaguely allow the presence to exist.Personally I find it offensive if someone can’t look me in the eye while conversing with me about something. (true story, I’ve been in situations where people won’t look me in the eye because I am female). That to me is tolerance – I exist, but I am not acknowledged.Acceptance is the very positive side of that coin.Then there is indifference and acknowledgment. Indifference doesn’t even get you into the tolerance category – you remain invisible.- Acknowledgment is when you get beyond tolerance, though you may not be liked. At least you have some sense of equality in your life.And I personally would like not to worry if I am acknowledged anywhere in the US based on things that I am. I’m not asking you to like me, I’m asking you to respect my presence.

  27. JLM

    Take a deep breath, exhale!North Carolina is not going to suffer economically regardless of the outcome of Amendment One. To suggest otherwise is just nonsense. This is a complete strawman argument.Do you think this issue is going to overpower the magnetic pull of Research Triangle Park, UNC, NC State, Duke and almost 60 years of development? I think not.The debate is not about tolerance but rather acceptance and perhaps even approval.Ideas of all types — politics, BBQ, religion, community values — must be allowed to co-exist and to live in peace with others. Why? Because these ideas evolve and develop over time. Into better ideas.North Carolina was a state whose original settlers were driven by the prospect of escaping from religious persecution (intolerance) of all types. Many of the settlers were Moravians and the state had a large Quaker influence.Interestling enough the anti-slavery Quaker influence evolved into a system whereby Quaker slave owners deeded their slaves to the Quaker Yearly Meeting which became one of the largest slave owners in North Carolina.To suggest that North Carolina is intolerant is to fail to acknowledge the obvious — it is a bastion of Southern hospitality and graciousness blessed with a physical beauty from the oceans to the Piedmont to the mountains that is breathtaking.The outcome of Amendment One is much ado about nothing. Having said that, it will likely pass and its impact will be meaningless.A bad idea held by a majority is still a bad idea.

    1. Luke Chamberlin

      “North Carolina is not going to suffer economically regardless of the outcome of Amendment One.”How does this not make it more difficult for companies in NC to acquire talent? Will it destroy the economy? No. Will it alienate a percentage of the talent pool? Yes.

      1. JLM

        It is this kind of binary thinking that feeds the flames of these kind of discussions. The outcomes are neither binary — yes v no — nor as apparent.For goodness sake, Research Triangle Park draws talent from UNC, NC State, Duke within less than 20 miles.What percentage of the talent is gay, concerned with gay marriage and interested in working in this slice of the economy?Do you really think that this will have any discernible impact on talent spotting and acquisition?While I may personally think this is all nonsense — on both sides, mind you — if one were to run the sums, this is statistically irrelevant.

        1. Luke Chamberlin

          Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the percentage of gay talent was statistically relevant. Would it change your views?

          1. JLM

            Just for the record, my view is that this entire issue is meaningless as it relates to the business issue of talent spotting and acquisition.The basis for that view is that there is a vibrant pool of talent, which currently includes gay persons.I am opposed to any action that is discriminatory in any walk of life and would never stand in the way of anyone’s pursuit of happiness — a basic constitutional right of all Americans.Having said that, I am not opposed to any contractual arrangement between any persons as it relates to their personal relationships or any other element of life that can be reduced to the written word.If anyone wants to use the word “marriage” to describe that relationship, they will get no beef from JLM.If anyone wants to suggest that the usage of the word “marriage” is inappropriate to describe such a relationship when not blessed by the government or the church they will get no beef from JLM.JLM tolerates both schools of thought but privately thinks it is much ado about nothing. I take no side.So, would it change my views, no.

        2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. JamesHRH

            gay marriage opposition does not equal opposition to gay lifestyle.

          2. fredwilson

            they are equal in my mind

          3. JamesHRH

            Agree to disagree, obviously.

          4. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          5. JamesHRH

            Exactly – hot button issues always have this structure.

          6. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          7. JamesHRH

            Take the gay marriage issue – you have a conflict of ‘WHY’. Both sides have a legit WHY beef: why won’t you give this to us? why do you want to ruin this for us?Same as abortion: its my body! its a life that society must protect! Those 2 drivers are both legit.I have an answer for the suicide & abortion issues, BTW.

          8. fredwilson

            nobody is ruining anything for them. in fact, i would argue that giving the gift of marriage to gay people will massively improve the institution of marriage.

        3. ShanaC

          I fall in the group of not gay with friends that are. Including one that could be hired into the research triangle. I go to him and say”Don’t move here, you won’t be able to get married, adopt a kid and do research – your life will be better in boston” or to a straight friend “don’t move here, you won’t be able to be yourself in public about your views on this issue”Then you create issues.The numbers aren’t insignificant if you think about it that way…

          1. JLM

            The problem with that comment is that it is simply not correct.It seems patently unfair to actually read the Amendment, but here goes:”Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.”It does NOT say that same sex unions are does NOT say that you cannot adopt a child.It does NOT say that you cannot say whatever you want wherever you want to.The RTP area with UNC, Duke and NC State in close proximity is a bastion of liberal thought and no element of that local environment is going to be materially impacted by the actual words of Amendment One.Having said that, I personally believe it is unnecessary and will not amount to a hill of beans.

          2. ShanaC

            No, but I would assume that is the attitude behind it. I would assume it would be legally harder to get stuff done.Pity too.

        4. Guest

          If it is all “nonsense” then why is NC even considering this amendment? If relevancy is determined “statistically” then the 99% would be taxing the hell out of the 1% in this country.Values and principles are not derived solely based on statistics or relevancy.While it is an argument that RTP draws talent from UNC, NC State, and Duke (two public and one private institution) what is its ability to attract talent from outside the state? How much potential does RTP lose due to its association with “North Carolina” and all that signifies to the rest of the country?Obviously, the issue of gay marriage is one that effects a very small percentage of our general population; it is hard to assume that the percentage that this issue is important to within the higher educated of the population is less.RTP, just like Austin, are bastions of liberalism in a sea of conservatism. To a degree NYC is quite similar but I suspect that the size of NYC vs the State of NY makes its influence different than that of RTP and or Austin.Yes, even Bowling Green, Kentucky, established a Human Rights Commission, and all discrimination against gays and all laws in regard to sodomy in the early 1990’s and one could argue that the growth that the city has enjoyed going from 6th largest city to 3rd largest city in the state of Kentucky was directly related to this liberalism.But the reality is you are still perceived as Kentucky at the end of the day….

          1. JLM

            The reference that I made to statistical irrelevance was meant to focus on the impact on talent spotting and acquisition of talent by NC employers and not on the greater social issue of gay marriage.In fact, Amendment One in NC does not in any way outlaw or limit contractual civil unions in any manner and, in fact, has a positive recital of both their availability and enforceability in NC’s courts.It is difficult to believe that this issue will have any real impact on the ability of NC firms to attract and retain talent.Does anyone really think that 20-somethings are making employment decisions today based upon the implications of marriage law?In fact, Texas is as “backward” — far more so than NC as it does not allow civil unions — as one can imagine on this matter and it has had no challenge in attracting talent — in particular talent from California.Texas has a pretty good college system but one cannot swing a cat without hitting a Harvard, MIT or Stanford grad.

          2. Guest

            JLM,Texas has a very good college system, no doubt. But imagine what that system could produce in a state that was more tolerant and less backwards? Imagine if Texas could “grow its own” rather than having to attract talent from California, Harvard, MIT, or Stanford?We established a city wide Human Rights Commission in the early 90’s and we legalized sodomy within the city limits along with outlawing discrimination against gays and lesbians within the city limits back in the mid 1990’s. Since that time we have grown from being the 6th largest city in Kentucky to the 3rd largest city….but its still Kentucky and we still are still in a mud wrestling contest with Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas as far as bottom of the bottom goes….Of course 20-somethings are not making decisions on the implications of marriage law but they are making decisions based upon news of some redneck dragging a black man to his death behind his pick up truck. Or the fact that Kentucky might have been the source for all the extras in the movie “Deliverance.”I love Austin, and I even own a pair of cowboy boots which I bought in Austin! I don’t wear them much because they make me seven feet tall and pretty unstable on my feet! :)But I do believe it is a shame that you are not the governor of the state of Texas or at least the Secretary for Public Relations for the state! You make me want to pull out my cowboy boots and head to the great state!

          3. JLM

            Texas does not have to “attract” talent, they are coming to Texas because Texas has created more jobs than the entire rest of the country combined.Seventy five percent (75%) of all private sector jobs in the last 5 years were created in Texas.The folks from Stanford, Harvard and MIT are coming for jobs.

          4. Guest

            Texas has created 297,000 of the 715,000 net new jobs since the recession’s end in 2009.Texas also holds the distinction, along with Mississippi, of creating the most minimum wage jobs. Which represent 9.5% of the total hourly workforce.Energy employment was up 16.8% which highlights one of the key factors in Texas growth; abundance of natural resources.Information technology jobs have dropped 5%.You do have the same problem we do, which is we cannot keep creating enough jobs to keep up with population growth.Then of course, my favorite, we keep claiming that we “created” jobs, but like I say, did we “create” them or just go out and BUY them; its hard to tell the difference when you have something like the Texas Enterprise Fund.When a local corporation is awarded 10 million dollars to “create” 364 jobs, but in reality is relocating those jobs from Atlanta to our locale that’s not really “creating” but rather “buying” them.At the end of the day, with all this effort, Texas still fell in at 25; there were 25 states that decreased their unemployment more.

          5. JLM

            I am weary of discussions of job creation which are targeted for or against Rick Perry’s presidential candidacy. They are unnecessarily politicized on both sides by folks sharpening daggers for the politics rather than for economic analysis.They are often simply wrong. Wrong by the utilization of inappropriate or, at the very least, different time periods.I am also the first to mention that “state” job creation is not necessarily an indicator of healthy national job creation and that, in fact, the “poaching” of jobs from California or other states is not good for the country.But it also speaks to the business community’s reaction to the comparative business climate in those states as well. It is a message that cannot be ignored.What I do think is important is that the no personal income tax, reasoned regulatory environment, entrepreneurial spirit and productivity of the work force are all expressions of political will and policy decisions. These difference are real.These policies are created by a legislature that meets every other year and perhaps that is important also. There is less meddling in Texas.As to your observation that many of the jobs are low paying jobs, I can only appeal to the reality that entry level jobs — jobs which are driven in great measure by a growing population — are the kind of jobs which argur for economic growth as they are the leading indicators and the leading edge of economic recovery. Immigration and an abundance of low priced labor competing for these jobs dampens compensation.First you get more McDonald’s and then you get more doctors.There is also no queston that energy has driven Texas job growth but it is really prudent and pragmatic energy regulation which has enabled Texas to capitalize upon it. You can drill and produce in Texas on private with less hassle than any other part of the country on public land. This is an indicator of a broken national policy.One can make any observations they want but when Austin, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Fort Worth are on every list of job creation excellence — top 10 cities all — then something is going right in Texas.I am confident that if the balance of the country adopted these policies the national recession would soon be in our rear view mirrors.

          6. Guest

            JLM,I am apolitical and I have a very low opinion of both parties. Thus, to me a discussion of job creation in Texas has nothing to do with Rick Perry running for President or not.In 1977 I worked as a welders assistant in a shipyard and was paid $12.50 a hour! Today that same job pays $9.00. In 1980 I worked night shift at UPS while going to graduate school and was paid $10.00 an hour. Today UPS pays exactly the same hourly rate for the same job. Those were jobs I took as a kid living with my parents to pay for college, now they are jobs that one raises a family on.If you believe that more minimum wage jobs eventually leads to more doctors then are either arguing that one becomes motivated to be a doctor by working and getting ahead or you believe that more people working creates an environment that doctors will want to relocate to.All you have to do is think through that point.If you believe that no state income taxes is one of the catalysts for a dynamic economy then just look at Tennessee, which has no state income tax, and compare them to Texas.Then you have a way to determine if no state income taxes is the only variable one needs to consider.Texas has a lot going for it and has done lots of things right, but at the same time it sits way at the bottom of lots of statistics. It also has the benefits of lots of military bases and gets an outsized return from the federal government.When everyone was talking about the outdated Keynesian based concept of “stimulus” I would just laugh because I doubted the Chinese would thank us for creating jobs in their country. So, then come to find out that for every job created by the stimulus in the US we created 1.4 jobs in China.We can talk about job creation all we want, but until someone talks about the 800 Lb. gorilla which we have called “Free Markets” and come to the reality that our markets are the free-est of any in the world and our economy is by far the least successful then everything else doesn’t matter.I am not a cheerleader for anything, its all about facts, data, and logic. My time is way too valuable to spend it on anything other than what is real and politically that makes me a pain in the ass for both parties and all candidates.Its no different when folks on AVC want to lead me to believe that tech can create all the jobs we need and solve all the problems of the world….I don’t buy it.I take this issue very seriously because I have decided to relocate my business. I have met with development agencies from 6 different states and I have piles of data all organized by state.As a manufacturer/distribution company location is critical. Availability of infrastructure and facilities is critical. Labor wise I need old economy and new economy skills but the most important thing that I am looking for is an intangible which for a lack of a better word I will call it “perspective” like in is the workforce open to new ideas, are they empowered as individuals?So, when I visit a location I spend a lot of time at diners and in the mall, just observing and listening to the locals….I am looking for a small community, close to a major city, with good access to north/south and east/west interstates with people who have the capacity to think “why not!” rather than “why?” But then again I never ever called myself a “JOB CREATOR” and always saw myself as nothing more than an opportunity creator.Thinking like a job creator seems to create a work force that resembles a herd….I don’t herd cattle.

          7. JLM

            First, let’s get you relocated to either San Marcos or Temple, Texas. Temple has excellent transportation and people. And damn good BBQ (Mikeska’s BBQ which is the first place I ever ate a raw jalapeno pepper).As to the balance of what you say, I would point out that there is just a spot of a recession going on right now and wages should fluctuate.The attractiveness of low or no income tax is undeniably an attraction but it is not the only attraction.It is like a gumbo with equal parts of tax, regulation, union, productivity, wages, labor, attractive industries (tech, energy, manufacturing) as ingredients. But, no mistake, tax policy is an important ingredient.Texas is the real deal and while it is not “perfect”, it is pretty damn close.On Earth as it is in Texas!Now, let me now when I can show you Temple and San Marcos. Come to Texas, friend.

          8. Guest

            JLM,I can’t make the decision in a vacuum…I do have employees with skill sets that I can’t lose. So I sat down with them and gave them the pluses and minuses of relocation. Then I gave them a map of the interstate system and states and asked them what states they would want to move to.Texas made the list! Considering that they are motorcycle driving, tattooed, long hair free spirits that should come to no surprise.But, as far as food goes…I am a big guy and I LOVE Steaks! My favorite being Chris Ruth’s bone in ribeye or “The Cowboy Ribeye.”That alone should be easy to find in Texas….I will now discreetly visit Temple and San Marcos before the development sales job folks work their magic…My attitude toward wages is that you get what you pay for…I can bring someone in at minimum wage but damn, if they hit the ground running I will have them up to $10 an hour before their first 30 days employment is over. I want to lock them in and make sure that they see a real benefit to putting out! :)If you are good and or show potential I want to own you!

        5. Guest

          JLM,Actually, while RTP may not be affected in its attempts to draw talent from UNC, NC State, and or Duke it might affect its ability to draw from outside the state.Statistically, it could be assumed, but not proven, that due to the education levels of those employed in RTP, that this issue is of much greater importance and may end up being the “straw that broke the camels back.” As such, the long term consequences could be very high, for RTP in particular and NC in general. Lets also not forget that two of the three colleges you mention are public institutions and could see future funding threatened by the same closedmindedness and “family value” logic.Now, if values and principles were determined by “run the sums” then logically none of us would consider valuing and or holding high principles that were “statistically irrelevant.”In 1932 the German Jews accounted for 3.8% of the German population and they were as such “statistically irrelevant.”Where in 1955 were blacks ever more than 35% of the population of any county in the South? Not a majority and definitely not “statistically relevant” and as such we should have not wasted our time in regards to civil rights.I sure wouldn’t want to get on the bad side of the 99% if I was in the 1% if I followed the logic of “statistical irrelevance” now would you?Ah, but I am such an idealist, but what can you expect from a Unicorn?

          1. JLM

            My reference to statistical irrelevance had only to do w/ the impact on talent spotting and talent acquisition. This policy will have no impact on the ability to attract and retain talent.Texas which is infinitely more “backward” on this issue has no problem attracting talent.Amendment One in NC does not enact any prohibition of civil unions and specifically recites their availability and enforceability in NC Courts.

          2. Guest

            Does Texas have no problem or does Austin have no problem?Once again, at what point does intolerance and stupidity reach critical mass?Its kind of like after Athens and Greece and the glories of those civilizations, we had the Dark Ages….If we learn anything from history we need to fear a repeat of the Dark Ages.Rather than focusing on the “statistical irrelevancy” on whatever point, all in an effort to downplay the impact of this amendment, wouldn’t it be better to just come out and say, “…This is stupid and a waste of time…”

          3. JLM

            This issue is not a pimple on the ass of say — civil rights — and the Nation lived through that upheaval.To suggest this is the onset of the Dark Ages is silly.NC provides for civil unions and acknowledges their applicability and enforceability in the very same amendment.States and state legislatures should have an unbridled right to propose laws including constitutional amendments as they see fit.It is up to the voters of those states to vote them up or down. Very few of these type laws have succeeded or have gained a majority of the voters. That speaks volumes.

          4. Guest

            JLM,The reality is that with time, the concept of civil unions will not be enough. Just 10 years ago we were proposing a constitutional amendment to define marriage as only between one man and one woman that would have superseded all state laws then and forever. Now slowly, we are witnessing states legalizing gay marriage, and establishing provisions for civil unions, like NC.Its probably going to be somewhat like miscegenation laws, 9 states never passed any laws, 10 states repealed theirs in 1887, and 14 repealed theirs between 1887 and 1967 and the rest were appealed via a Supreme Court Decision in 1967. Now it took South Carolina and Alabama another 30 years to eventually clean up the language of their state constitutions to comply with the 1967 Supreme Court decision but they did and both measures won by a resounding victory.Oh, and Texas and NC were both in the group that had to abide by the Supreme Court decision.In fact the last group were all southern slave holding states, except for Oklahoma….States have never had “unbridled rights” to propose laws because the granting of statehood requires that states acknowledge the supremacy of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.Thus, the real question is how low does it take for us to acknowledge that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness….” applies to gays and marriage?Not in a biblical sense but in a legal sense. Personally, I always felt the best way to deal with the issue to have government not define nor recognize marriage as anything other than a “contractual” relationship between two people and leave marriage to religion…

    2. Keenan

      JLM,The impact of Amendment One remains to be seen. Short-term and obvious affect, you maybe right, could be meaningless. However the long-term and direct result may be very different. I won’t prognosticate on that but could there could be problems.What I do know is in 1950, Birmingham Alabama was a bigger city than Atlanta. By the 80’s they were dwarfed by Atlanta. Birmingham was the industrial hub of the South. When they refused to comply with federal laws to integrate and end segregation, business fled, landing in Atlanta.Atlanta adopted a more liberal approach accepting the federal law, while Birmingham didn’t.There is historical precedent that says laws on the books that are intolerant negatively effect the economy.How much, how quickly, etc. that can’t be determined.

      1. JLM

        Fair play on you.Well reasoned observation. I think such things matter greatly in the sense of a city. I have business interests in Alabama and can personally vouch for that view.Having said that I would only opine that this issue is not a pimple on the ass of the issues of the American civil rights struggle.Civil rights was huge. This issue is miniscule.I have no desire to refute your observation which I think is very insightful but the ascendancy of Atlanta had a number of reasons primarily great leadership.Atlanta wanted to be the Atlanta we now know..

  28. Andy Ellis

    North Carolina Startups are deeply concerned about the potential economic impact of Amendment 1, I’m surprised no one has yet mentioned; http://www.startupsagainst1…It’s a collection of startup CEOs and Founders based in NC voicing their opposition to a small minded bill aimed at pretty much nothing at all.Fred, thank you for using your platform to bring attention to this important issue and providing some historical context as to the consequences of intolerance. North Carolina is a mostly wonderful state–the Table’s Ready team was born and went to college there, our CEO is based out of Raleigh. There is a strong community with unique obstacles to overcome and it’s great to have some help from the outside.

    1. fredwilson

      i hadn’t seen startupsagainst1. thanks for sharing that.

  29. Mark Gannon

    Much of the discussion seems to focus on personal tolerance or intolerance. What the NC law and I think the early Pennsylvania example are about using the power of the state to require (or not) conformance to behaviors which do not inflict damage on others. By damage on others I mean allowing gay marriage doesn’t prevent those who don’t want to be in a gay marriage from avoiding that condition.To use a different example I don’t hunt. The reason I don’t hunt isn’t that I don’t like the outdoors, guns, and meat, but rather I don’t want to field dress a deer because: ick. The fact that I don’t want to hunt doesn’t mean we should have laws banning hunting because if someone else hunts, it doesn’t harm me in any fashion.H.l. Mencken once asserted that politicians create imaginary hobgoblins so they can save you. I think that practice is usually behind using the power of the state to inflict unnecessary behavioral norms.

    1. JLM

      The key to field dressing a deer is to invite a novice hunter with you and when you kill a deer to “instruct” him on how to field dress the deer.The Tom Sawyer approach.I cannot tell you how many field dressings I have avoided by this technique.The other technique is to “bet” someone they cannot field dress your deer in less than say 12 minutes.I love hunting but like you I hate field dressing a deer..

      1. Guest

        JLM,I am getting the sneaky suspicion that you were in Boys Scouts with me….I think you were the older guy who on our first camping trip set up the nighttime snipe hunting experience for us “new” troopers!

    2. JamesHRH

      Mark, I can tell you with complete certainty that many people over 60 are very tolerant of gay lifestyles & supportive of gay rights.They do not, however, wish to joined to their heterosexual spouse through the same ‘institution’. Civil unions & equality of non-working spouses etc – all good. Calling it marriage, no.It does not matter to me, but I have always thought this PoV was a fair argument.

      1. fredwilson

        i don’t buy that argument. i don’t see how two gay people getting married harms the institution of marriage in any way. i think it improves it

        1. JamesHRH

          I had an Uncle pass 3 years ago, @ 86. Boxer, jet pilot, member of the Confederate Air Force, even though he was a Canuck, politician, the whole 9 yards.He could have been @JLM:disqus ‘s uncle. We used to say that he led Errol Flynn’s on screen life, off screen (physical resemblance).He was VERY HETERONORMATIVE.He specifically found the idea of gay marriage off-putting. He wasn’t really upset about it, but he said to me, roughly: ‘gay people are not the norm; they want this label to feel like they are the norm; giving you labels from the norm does not make you included: you are on the outside, you can’t be included -it is impossible. And unfair to those of us who are being normal, to have to share aspects of the norm with people who are not. There are sacrifices to be made – when you are being the norm and when you are not.”He was a criminal lawyer and appeals judge – he knew from the norm.

          1. fredwilson

            i have so many wonderful gay people in my life. they are normal to me.

    3. fredwilson

      i like that framework mark

  30. John Minnihan

    That this issue has generated the discussion reflected in this post – with very clear positions pro + con – is fascinating to me.Biases are tricky bastards; they silently influence everything we do, neither asking permission prior nor seeking credit after.

    1. JLM

      The “silent influence” you note is exactly right, now isn’t it?That is why the subtleties of tolerance, acceptance and approval are so important.We can put on our best behavior even when we do not accept or approve of something.This is why the race card can be played from time to time because these racist views of things continue to exist just below the surface even when we have seemingly reached a level of tolerance but not really acceptance or approval.We are complex organisms, us humans.,

      1. John Minnihan

        There’s nothing inherently right or wrong in bias itself – biases have kept us alive over the years, guiding future behavior with the knowledge of past experience (i.e. bias against building camp next to the riverbank as a result of previous floods).It’s a puzzler to me that biases have evolved so wholly against certain groups, especially in the absence of any actual threat.

        1. JLM

          I think you may be confusing judgments and experience with biases. Two different things.

          1. John Minnihan

            Nope, no confusion here.

          2. JLM

            A bias is an inclination or prejudice or partiality to or against something for which there may be no basis — it may be purely instinctive — while a judgment is a decision which is informed or educated by experience.I may have a bias against women in management at the “C” level as an example but I may decide not to camp along a stream because I see rain in the offing and I once got washed out and thus my decision is informed by my experience. My judgment is influenced by my experience.

          3. John Minnihan

            Experience produces bias. I’ve not – yet – encountered any expressed bias that wasn’t learned behavior.

          4. JLM

            Good judgment — the product of experience.Experience — the product of bad judgment.A bias is different, it is an inclination or prejudice or partiality for or against something for which there may be no basis in fact.I think we may embracing different definitions.

          5. John Minnihan

            Sounds like it

  31. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Interesting . From an engineering perspective tolerance is a measure of permitted deviance from ideal.There is an implication of a notional “ideal” – and of an ajudged deviance by anyone who fails to meet this ideal.This is perhaps why the wisest religions teach us not to judge others, lest we be judged. If we accept axiomatically (as we may with intellectual rigour) that a conceptual absolute “goodness, or ideals or righteousness” exists we may label this “Godly”.It is as well IMHO that we remember that while we have instincts and teachings as to what Godliness may be we are definitively not the final arbiter. We are all fallible, so best to obey the Golden Rule – Treat others as you would have them treat you.Meanwhile, if we suspect that a there is ultimate judgement for falling short (just as we may reasonably accept as an axiom the laws of thermodynamics – they are not disprovable), we may harbour concern for others and perhaps should for ourselves.Bottom line – we are free to feel uncomfortable about the behavious of others, but we should love our brothers – Philadelphia (Greek:Φιλαδέλφεια ([pʰilaˈdelpʰeːa], Modern Greek: [filaˈðelfia]) “brotherly love”, compounded from philos(φίλος) “loving”, andadelphos (ἀδελφός) “brother”).[4]

    1. JLM

      Love it. Well played!.

    2. ShanaC

      How did you type in the greek?

      1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

        Ratherthan highlight my brilliance – I will be honest … Highlight / copy paste – On a linux machine – highlighting with mouse puts text on clipboard (no need to make keystrokes) mouse-wheel click does the paste – total one mouse gesture.I copied from…and stand on the shoulders of giants (ethereal claim)….Hope this helps and partly explains why linux fanboys exist !



    1. Skinner Layne

      Grimlock should visit my home state: Arkansas. IT ALREADY 3RD WORLD NATION, NOT CHANGED TUNE YET. THAT WHY I LEFT.

      1. JLM

        A step too far, Grim, this is not the core attraction of the South by any means.It’s BBQ and you know it.

    2. ShanaC

      I really disagree with this.Ever meet a guy with a third grade education because of the religious situation he was born in that wants to escape? What if he has kids he needs to support? What should we do with the kids.Even the most libertarian of positions claim we as a group are responsible for kids.



        1. FlavioGomes

          The birth of new markets almost always lead by a dictatorship.

        2. ShanaC

          True, except in this case there isn’t a dictator (or one dictator). It is a community afraid of change.

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


      2. laurie kalmanson

        education is a public good vs. if that four year old wants a good education she should get a job and buy one

    3. laurie kalmanson

      Lenny Bruce said exactly that


        HIM SMART GUY.

        1. laurie kalmanson

          Lenny Bruce is not afraidREM said that

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          2. laurie kalmanson

            Brave people don’t lack fear; they act with courage when they are afraid

          3. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          4. laurie kalmanson


  33. jason wright

    Why not simply ban the institution of marriage rather than ban same sex couples from the institution of marriage?

    1. raycote

      Trouble maker :>)

  34. sigmaalgebra

    What happened over 100 years ago in the economy in Pennsylvania is very weak evidence of the economic power of “tolerance”.The gays are, what, less than 1% of the population?The effort for gay marriage is in part to have over 99% of the population accept being gay as normal. It’s not normal; it’s a serious illness, a filthy lifestyle, a public health disaster, and a threat to our youth. This effort is to manipulate and exploit the sympathies of good people who are a bit too slow to see the threats. In this effort, the gays appear to be just pawns; the effort appears to have more to do with an attack on US society in general than with something about the gays.The effort for gay marriage, if successful, would weaken some of the strongest and most important parts of our culture and write off a major fraction of our our social capital. The US would be damaged culturally and economically.The current effort is that (1) marriage is too old fashioned for heterosexuals but (2) crucial for gays. Absurd.The effort for gay marriage looks like a managed, planned attack on a major part of US society. The end goal appears to be to make people less powerful and secure in their own lives in order to have people accept a more powerful gumment — it’s about weakening the family in order to increase the power of gumment.So, why should over 99% of the people shoot their connection with the institution of marriage in the gut for some nonsense about a strange illness of less than 1% of the population?I’m reminded of Betty Friedan and her claims that being a Long Island housewife was such a disaster. Friedan, Steinem, etc. and their nonsense, via women being bitter about marriage and motherhood and aborting babies, likely killed more humans than Hitler, Tojo, Stalin, and Mao combined and rank with the Black Death, Fascism, and Communism as among the worst disasters in all of history. Fortunately the Steinem disease is self-correcting: Darwin has had his way with her, and she’s a dead limb on the tree.I’m reminded of the effort to say that in the name of diversity people should be graded, graduated, selected, hired, promoted, elected, and compensated not based on performance but based on quotas for race, gender, etc.The whole effort is across all of US culture to improve the US with the power of big gumment and the force of law. We’re looking at an effort of a few people to control the rest of us via big gumment. This effort is regimentation via degenerate and destructive means and not liberty, freedom, prosperity, health, happiness, or a better society.This whole effort would please the old KGB and maybe make it proud.As a member of the 99% of the non-gay population, on gay marriage I vote not only no but hell no.

    1. John Minnihan

      Lots of words that boiled down simply state: “I am viciously homophobic’How about coming out from behind the pseudonym and owning your statement?

      1. Donna Brewington White

        We’ve had some heated discussion at AVC about the use of pseudonyms. For the most part, they have been defended. @sigmaalgebra:disqus comments here regularly and he says what he thinks. He is a consistent persona. He may not be using his “real name” but I don’t think anyone can accuse him of hiding.For the record, I much prefer the use of real names. But I don’t think that real names are any more revealing than consistent, regular interaction.

        1. John Minnihan

          Use of a pseudonym – in this case, here at this blog – is the very essence of hiding.If this were a real person, I might engage w/ him/her to see why they’ve developed such hatred for gays.

          1. JamesHRH

            John – I don’t hold Siggy’s views, but he states his position clearly: it’s an illness. Hatred? Heavy words should be used judiciously.

          2. Donna Brewington White

            I have learned to be tolerant of pseudonyms.

          3. fredwilson

            i disagree. sigma is sigma. we know who he is. he says what he thinks. we disagree. we move on.

          4. John Minnihan

            The response I rec’vd from you + the others below has surprised + disappointed me.There are so many places on the web where this type of long-winded, hateful diatribe is present.I wouldn’t have expected to see it on AVC before now. How that adds to the conversation escapes me.

          5. fredwilson

            tolerance includes tolerating intolerance

          6. John Minnihan

            Well, I admire your tolerance.

    2. Skinner Layne

      We (“The Gays”) are at least 10% of the population, which is roughly consistent across all mammalian species. I don’t need a government-issued piece of paper to ratify my relationship, nor do I need your approval or anybody else’s. I’m not willing to give people like you any power over my happiness in life. That would be a real waste.

    3. ShanaC

      Point 1) Although I already know I disagree with you about your views about gay as sickness, I still would like to hear why you think that.Point 2) if it weren’t for betty friedan I probably wouldn’t be responding to this comment. I’d like to think we have a decent online relationship that you can see that in a positive light.

    4. raycote

      There is a limit to how much intolerance I can tolerate without becoming dismissive.Or was all that just your long winded attempt at comedy by being the guy that finally mentions HITLER as a way of pointing out that the discussion thread is getting really long in the tooth?And piling on with Tojo, Stalin, Mao, Black Death, Fascism, and Communism added some real gay-ety and panache to your comic relief.

    5. fredwilson

      that is intolerance. i am sorry to see it in this comment thread.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        I stand by my post and deny that what I wrote was “intolerance”.As I wrote that post, I was listening to the latest CD I got from Amazon with the Tchaikovsky Rocco Variations. So I’m tolerant of gays.But gay marriage would weaken the institution of marriage and cause a write off of much of the US social capital and seriously weaken the US; approving of that weakening of the institution of marriage would be foolish, not tolerant.A few months ago I was in the ER when a patient came in coughing, and discreetly a nurse asked if I had had “a TB shot” (which, of course, doesn’t really exist). Later I was coughing so last week went for a TB test. It was negative. But I learned that the main threat of TB in the US is weakened immune systems from AIDS. The test was for free at a well run public health clinic. TB testing is important because TB is a threat to public health.More generally the gay lifestyle is a threat to public health.For people who have an illness — heart disease, hypertension, obesity, TB, cancer, OCD, homosexuality, etc. — I’m tolerant and hope that they get well.For my claim about Steinem, just do some fast arithmetic for an estimate of deliberate deaths after conception. The movement she has led has been a major cause of the fact that people of Western European descent are reproducing so slowly that they are rapidly going extinct. E.g., Finland fought off the Swedes, Nazis, and Soviets but now with an average of 1.5 babies per female are going extinct due heavily to the movement Steinem has led. That movement has done more damage to Finland than the Swedes, Nazis, and Soviets combined. In simple terms, Steinem is against motherhood. She has been sabotaging the US.For my remark about Friedan, long ago I read her book and saw nothing either at all convincing or very objectionable, but since then history has shown that I underestimated the book’s consequences. Moreover now it is clear from Daniel Horowitz and others that she was not much like the Long Island housewife she presented herself to be in the book and that apparently the book was part of a larger agenda and effort of hers to serve the Soviet Union by deliberately sabotaging US society by helping to destroy the institution of marriage by making wives unhappy with their role in life.The performance of the Tchaikovsky piece is by Rostropovich and is terrific.Note: The new Disqus is nearly unusable with Internet Explorer 8 and Firefox 3.0.8 on Windows XP SP3 so that I have a difficult time posting to this thread.

      2. sigmaalgebra

        Since this blog is willing to entertain being thoughtful, I will elaborate. What I say here neither replaces nor modifies my other two posts in this thread and, instead, moves on to a more general theme. In particular I say no more about the gays or feminism.I am a US citizen living in the US and writing this post definitely for the US and not for the world. For the rest of the world, I wish them well. To jump ahead, for most of the rest of the world, I wish them well where they are and, for reasons I explain, hope they don’t come to the US for more than a visit.This thread is not the first for this blog of a certain theme, and the theme is both fairly general and common in US social culture discussions in the US now. Part of the theme is to eschew unfair discrimination and, instead, eagerly to promote tolerance of essentially any/everything in social culture.We can evaluate this theme on its own without effort to identify historical origins or ulterior motives.First, clearly it is quite possible both to eschew unfair discrimination without promoting any/everything in social culture. So, I will state: I believe we should all eschew unfair discrimination and at the same time be careful in what parts of social culture we promote (here in the US).I’ll take a first example: I don’t understand China. From what I know about China, mostly I don’t like it. I’m very glad I’m not in China. To me, China and the US are very, very different. With rare exceptions, for anything I would admire in Chinese culture, I’m willing enough to admire it from where it is on the other side of the world. Still I’m willing to admire and maybe borrow some parts of Chinese culture. Some of what the Chinese did in ceramics is terrific. For their food, it’s difficult for me to evaluate it in comparison with food from France, Italy, Vienna, or the US; still, some of Chinese food seems amazing.Actually, my current food learning lesson is Moo Shi Pork: I’m using Chinese imported soy sauce, lily flowers, tree fungus, Shitake mushrooms, and garlic. The ginger may also come from China. Currently I’m using some Spanish sherry but may use some Chinese rice wine. I am using a wok from China — cheap, crude (mangled rivets attaching a handle apparently made from auto exhaust pipe), but effective for the purpose. The long handled stainless steel cooking spoon is from China but is of US commercial kitchen design. I’m glad the pork, cabbage, and carrots come from the US.Since the recent record of Chinese food safety is out of the Dark Ages, I am concerned about the safety of so many food ingredients from China. Since the garlic has mold, it is less good than a US source I hope Sam’s Club will return to. Since lily flowers will grow nearly anywhere, including in the US, I would prefer a US source. I will be happier when I switch to a US source for the soy sauce.Basically I’m borrowing Chinese techniques for cooking US green cabbage and carrots and getting some lessons in achieving balance of flavors! As I learn more about this dish, my respect for it falls!Here is a core point about my position on what parts of social culture we promote (here in the US): The central parts of my life are music, mathematics, science, food, technology, and business. As a US citizen, I am also concerned about politics. I greatly admire and treasure the best I know of in those subjects.I don’t much care for literature, painting, sculpture, or architecture, but I am a very devoted fan of classical music — Vivaldi and Bach through Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky, violin, piano, cello, and symphony orchestra. As I type this, I have a CD of the performance by Rostropovich and von Karajan of the second movement of the Dvorak cello concerto. If words could describe that music, we wouldn’t need the music. But even the first two bars. let’s just say, stop me in my tracks due to the connections with some of the most important parts of my life. Dvorak, Rostropovich, and von Karajan communicate (in the sense of art as the “communication, interpretation of human experience, emotion”) very directly to me.For math, I admire and draw from von Neumann, Kolmogorov, Bourbaki (a semi-secret society of mostly French mathematicians), and more.For cooking, I mostly admire and draw from France, Italy, Vienna, and the US.So, the picture is getting clear: The origins of the central parts of my life came from each of Italy, the Bosporus, and the Black Sea north to the Arctic, from the Pyrenees east to the Urals, especially Italy, France, Germany, the British Isles, and Scandinavia, and the transplants to the US, Canada, Israel, Australia, and New Zealand with, shockingly, all the rest of the world comparatively small potatoes.Even within that geography, I have to pick somewhat carefully: E.g., I’m from disappointed down to outraged by the politics and regard the US Constitution as the world’s crown jewel of politics. Still, our Constitution doesn’t export very well; it seems that also important are US democratic traditions. So, yes, we need to be careful about our social culture as it might affect our democratic traditions.My violin was designed in Italy and made in Germany, and nearly all the violin music I play was from the magnificent German tradition in music. My piano was designed in Germany and made in the US.To me German politics and much of German art outside of the German tradition in music is a disaster; the German language is simplistic and may be a cause or a reflection of a serious problem in German culture and may be part of why the German tradition in music, freed from the limiting German language, is so good.For as much as I like of Russian music and mathematics, their politics and economics are grand disasters.Japan, Taiwan, South Korea? In each case, I don’t/can’t understand it, but some of their technology products are terrific.India? The bookC. Radhakrishna Rao, ‘Linear Statistical Inference and Its Applications: Second Edition’, ISBN 0-471-70823-2, John Wiley and Sons, New a nice presentation of work from Germany, Sweden, etc. Otherwise the movie about Gandhi sealed the deal for me: Somehow India has some serious, seemingly deeply profound, problems. I wish them well, but I have no hope of understanding it or even admiring much of it.As I understand it, Japan is careful about their social culture and are very careful about either importing or exporting. Japan and I likely agree: Someday I might enjoy a visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. Here I believe that Japan is wise and that the US should move in this direction.Why this direction?The first reason is easy: Keep down domestic conflicts. The US melting pot seemed to work for some people for a while but actually doesn’t work very well in general.The second reason is also important: Crucial to US democracy is US democratic traditions, whatever they are that have been effective, e.g., gave us the US military and Ike in WWII, that overwhelmingly outclassed in essentially all respects all the other Allies and totally blew away the Axis, in addition to just the Constitution, and we risk diluting our crucial democratic traditions at our peril, at high risk of severe, disastrous peril. We’ve already had one civil war, and we definitely do NOT want a second.The third reason is also important: My interests aside, I conclude that the best of the US is by a shockingly, inexplicably high margin the best in the world and is heavily rooted in the best of Europe (as I explained in more detail above). Net, that said, I believe that it is very much in the interest of the strength of the US and the quality of its culture and life for the US to keep its social culture with those origins and to do further refinement here in the US.For India, maybe we can import some curry powder. For China, some lily flowers. For Brazil, maybe some furniture woods. For Russia, maybe some winter hats.But, in simple terms, for US social culture, I recommend mostly just refining what we have imported and developed, being very selective about importing more, and otherwise essentially just closing the door. That said, I still wish all the rest of the world well.

    6. gregg dourgarian

      SigmaAlgebra: Surprised by Fred’s nasty response? I’m not. When people preach wildly about tolerance as he has here, it’s just a matter of time until the other shoe drops. It’s all about whose ox is getting gored. I suppose we can give him a bonus point for not deleting your post.

      1. fredwilson

        nasty maybe, but not intolerant

  35. Skinner Layne

    Many, many great thinkers, inventors, artists, philosophers, and scientists were considered deviants and ostracized in their day for a host of different reasons. Would they have had the same impact on history if they had been more tolerated/accepted? Is there not some value to the friction of strongly held, differentiating beliefs?

    1. ShanaC

      excellent question!I think there is a difference with personally held beliefs versus publicly held beliefs in the history of ideas.Love individuals, even if you think they are wrong?

    2. kidmercury

      haters gonna hate……gotta use it to your advantage

    3. Tom Labus

      Lots of friction in companies moving fast and it’s a good thing too.

  36. Pete Griffiths

    Yep.If there are, say, 2 really talented people in 100 and you:a) ignore women – you are down to 50b) reject people of color – you are down to 37c) scorn homosexuals – you are down to 35d) insist someone shares your religious preferences – odds are you are down to 6Now what are the odds that group includes even 1 of the 2 really talented ones? Pretty low. Boy you are making staffing tough for yourself. And you’ll end up with a bunch of untalented bigots.Good luck. ‘Cos your business is about to get crushed. Still worse, you may be put out of business by a talented black lesbian. 🙂

  37. Shaan Rafiq

    …speaking of tolerance may I say RIP MCA of the Beastie Boys. Tolerance is exactly what those guys have always been about and the world really has lost a legend. Sorry if you consider this spammy.

    1. fredwilson

      spammy? you kidding? great comment. big loss.

  38. ShanaC

    I hate having this sort of discussion.all it means to me at the end is “do I support people living or dying?” I have had friends die from intolerance. Laws like this chill me because they normalize attitudes above and beyond what the law is about. And with that, you get deaths of people way before they start out.

  39. laurie kalmanson

    Openness is the only cure for stupid

  40. Dave Pinsen

    Saturday evening, from the FDR Drive, near the Brooklyn Bridge exit, I saw this billboard, which reminded me of this post.!/dpin

  41. BillMcNeely

    My experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan and from what I have heard from others wh served in Balkans in the 90s only after mothers have beared all the their children’s suffering that can bear will real social change occur.

  42. Centurion 9.41

    “It was a fascinating conversation.” Such sycophantic language conjures images of sorority girls sitting around the breakfast table on a Saturday morning practicing the skills needed to ascend the top of their social mountains.”Penn created the colony of Pennsylvania and grounded it in the notions of tolerance and religious freedom. … the result was that Philadelphia became the fastest growing city in America with a vibrant economy and lifestyle.” – “The neighboring colonies,… reacted to Pennsylvania’s and Philadelphia’s economic success by opening up their cultural norms …”Really? All it took was tolerance. It had nothing to do with the geographical location or all the other factors that effect an economic environment… Silly for so many to expend so much energy searching for and trying to quantifying those factors which can effect, in a significant way, the economic results.”Paul told us this story as a lesson in why cultural norms, even more than laws, are a determinant of prosperity and economic development. And tolerance is one of the more important cultural norms in this regard.”Cultural norms, more than laws, are determinant of prosperity? Laws are merely the reflection of widely and strongly held cultural norms. To argue the non-codified cultural norms have a greater effect than the more strongly held codified cultural norms [we are assuming a free society] is moronic.Of course, the very assertion of tolerance begs the question of what is tolerance? The most tolerant places are those ruled by anarchy and of course the king of all tolerance except the rigidity of Truth is Satan.But why rock the fascinating conversation creating beautiful sugar-plum images of personal tolerance dancing through the minds of positive only people? For even tolerance has its limits.AMDG

  43. Morgan Siem

    Fred, thanks for blogging about Bob’s take on Amendment One. As one of his employees at and a North Carolinian, this topic is particularly important to me. I am very proud to be at a company whose CEO understands the implications of Amendment One. He is right – it is an economic issue as much as a social one.

  44. melonakos

    This post on “Tolerance and Prosperity” reminded me of another dual principled article that examined the subject of “Truth and Tolerance” in great detail. A summary is here:…There is definitely a conflict between absolute and relative truth, and a need for greater tolerance all round.

  45. BillSeitz

    How sad/irritating for ResearchTriangle. I always say, it’s not RedStateBlueState, it’s the UrbanArchipelago.

  46. Taylor Brooks

    The tolerance you’re advocating is different from how tolerance used to be defined.It used to be that tolerance was, “i may disagree with you, but i insist on your right to articulate your opinion however stupid and ignorant i think it is.”This type of tolerance is for the individual to say things with which i disagree. The tolerance is directed towards the individual, but there is robust debate at the level of content and substance.Today, tolerance means that you must not say anybody is wrong. Under this view of tolerance, you are tolerant, not of individuals, but of all positions. The tolerance is now directed toward all views and no one is in a position to say that any view is wrong.

  47. fredwilson

    i agree that intolerance comes in all shapes and sizes

  48. JLM

    Horses for courses.The differences among NY, SF, Raleigh, Austin are much deeper and complex than such a narrow issue as tolerance.I feel so much more comfortable in Raleigh or Austin — perhaps it is the BBQ.



  50. JamesHRH

    Liberals are far more intolerant than cons.It’s an odd paradox.

  51. ShanaC

    That is one of the most true critques I’ve seen in a long time.How do we break through those sorts of tolerance issues is beyond me though, because it isn’t about the clothes. It is about judging people irrelevant of talents or not.

  52. Dave Pinsen

    According to notes taken by Blake Masters, in Peter Thiel’s Stanford class on startups, fellow PayPal founder Max Levchin had this to say about diversity and culture:Max Levchin: The notion that diversity in an early team is important or good is completely wrong. You should try to make the early team as non-diverse as possible. There are a few reasons for this. The most salient is that,as a startup, you’re underfunded and undermanned. It’s a big disadvantage; not only are you probably getting into trouble, but you don’t even know what trouble that may be. Speed is your only weapon. All you have is speed. […]The early PayPal team was four people from the University of Illinois and two from Stanford. There was the obligatory Russian Jew, an Asian kid, and a bunch of white guys. None of that mattered. What mattered was that they were not diverse in any important way. Quite the contrary: They were all nerds. They went to good schools. (The Illinois guys had done the exact same CS curriculum.) They read sci-fi. And they knew how to build stuff. […]One good hiring maxim is: whenever there’s any doubt, there’s no doubt. It’s a good heuristic. More often than not, any doubt precluded a hire. But once this very impressive woman came to interview. There were some doubts, since she seemed reluctant to solve a coding problem. But her talk and demeanor—she insisted on being interviewed over a ping-pong game, for instance—indicated that she’d fit into the ubernerd, ubercoder culture. She turned out to be reasonably good at ping-pong. Doubts were suppressed. That was a mistake. She turned out to not know how to code. She was a competent manager but a cultural outsider.

  53. ShanaC

    FG – in my short life one of things I am sure of is that my identity and my tolerance of others aren’t as closely linked as people say.I was at the holocaust museum last week, and slightly broader/more offensive versions of that statement were all over the place (in context of an exhibit about propaganda). I also grew up with people who would say “being in a ghetto of your own choosing is the best thing for your identity”No, this just means you have a weak sense of identity. The things that would make one scared about oneself as not true deserve to be tested – and junked if they aren’t true to you. If not, they’ll keep no matter what is tested by them.So I would warn against that statement

  54. ShanaC

    Care to explain that statement further?



  56. Matt A. Myers

    The issue I find with conservatives is they generally don’t think of the long-tail or how things will affect other people; Not thinking of others and taking them into consideration doesn’t mean you’re tolerant – more just ignorant (perhaps purposeful, which is far more dangerous for a society).



  58. ShanaC

    True, but what you stand for may or may not be equal to your identity in its entirety, which is why what you stand for should be tested.



  60. Dan Cornish

    I moved to Austin for the more relaxed environment. Very tolerant, small government and great BBQ, although I have never been able to make it to Franklin’s BBQ early enough.

  61. JLM

    You have to get over there by about 10:30 to ensure getting fed. Great new BBQ on N Lamar — Stiles Switch BBQ.

  62. raycote

    True but all shapes and sizes of intolerance tend to have one common attribute. They are based on a low sample rate !

  63. JamesHRH

    Sure, and I have a fairly long list of personal examples.Cons are concerned about the individual. Libs are concerned about a group or the entire group.Inherently, it is not enough for a lib to have a fair hearing with a con, they NEED to convince them to their side. They have a cause that is greater than themselves. That gives them a blinding sense of mission.Cons do not have the need to convince. They do not have a cause, they have a belief system. And, helpfully, their belief system is as @mattamyers:disqus states: individualistic. So, when they engage you & you disagree, try support your right to be an knucklehead ( from the con PoV ).Same sex marriage is like the abortion debate – it is a win / lose proposition. There is no middle ground f

  64. Matt A. Myers

    Looks like last sentence was cut-off … “There is no middle ground f”

  65. JamesHRH

    New disqus v good – still hates ipad

  66. fredwilson

    the entire tech business looks like thatour firm looks like thatit doesn’t make me feel good, but that is what the talent pool mostly looks like right nowi am trying to change that, starting with high school, college, and recent college grads

  67. fredwilson


  68. Guest

    It will be interesting to see what impact your Academy for Software Engineering has on this in years to come.

  69. Guest

    Why was my comment (that Fred’s comment above was in response to) deleted?

  70. Dave Pinsen

    It would be cool to see a list of favorite sci-fi books by various tech startup founders and see what authors/titles are most heavily represented.

  71. fredwilson

    exactly. you have to change the talent pool to change the way tech looks. you can’t hire people who don’t have the requisite skills and experience.

  72. fredwilson

    fun friday topic?

  73. Dave Pinsen

    Good idea.

  74. fredwilson

    bugs. i am trying to report them as fast as i see them.