Fear, I repeat it, is at the bottom of all intolerance.
No matter what form or shape a persecution may take, it is caused by fear and its very vehemence is indicative of the degree of anguish experienced by those who erect the gallows or throw logs upon the funeral pyre.
Once we recognize this fact, the solution of the difficulty immediately presents itself.
Man, when not under the influence of fear, is strongly inclined to be righteous and just.
But I cannot for the life of me see that this matters overmuch. It is part of the necessary development of the human race. And that race is young, hopelessly, almost ridiculously young. To ask that a certain form of mammal, which began its independent career only a few thousand years ago should already have acquired those virtues which go only with age and experience, seems both unreasonable and unfair.
And furthermore, it warps our point of view.
It causes us to be irritated when we should be patient.
It makes us say harsh things where we should only feel pity.
The day will come when tolerance shall be the rule, when intolerance shall be a myth like the slaughter of innocent captives, the burning of widows, the blind worship of a printed page.
It may take ten thousand years, it may take a hundred thousand.
But it will come, and it will follow close upon the first true victory of which history shall have any record, the triumph of man over his own fear.
—Hendrik Van Loon, Tolerance