When I look at the state of the American social and political landscape today and the issues that confront us as a people it is clear to me that out society has driven itself into the proverbial box canyon. We have arrived here by virtue of being persuaded that tolerance and inclusion are synonymous with freedom and fairness. We bought in on the basis of our overall desire for social equality (a good thing) but, sadly, most of us weren't able to connect the dots far enough into the future to see the dangers of such egalitarian thinking. And now across the board we face a reckoning. From illegal immigration to same-sex marriages to exposed underwear at the local WalMart - all brought to us courtesy of open-mindedness. These are perhaps "not" such good things. By now I would hope it is clear to many who took the bait from social progressives and embraced tolerance that being "nice" to all forms of behavior comes at a price - one conveniently not mentioned by the "reformers". Still, it seems to me that anyone willing to give this even a modicum of thought would realize that tolerance in not a one-way street. Perhaps our good-nature just got the best of us when we began to make the determination that standards and morality were impediments to fairness and freedom. But, for whatever reason, for the last several decades we have seen fit to invest our society's future with those who tell us that "out strength is our diversity". To that I politely ask: "to build a strong chain, do you make each link out of a different material?" Diversity is fine so long as all those diverse people are pulling in the same direction and unified in their cultural pursuits. And how do you accomplish such a thing? One word: STANDARDS. Standards, of course, is a dirty word to the social progressives because it smacks of intolerance and discrimination. But are standards really intolerant? To be sure they are discriminatory but is that necessarily a bad thing? It is my belief that maintaining high standards is really the most noble and high-minded form of tolerance because it sets the bar at a point above desire, adds accountability to the mix and aims the discrimination in the right direction - in favor of the good guys. You see, no matter what social behavior you decide to accept there is always someone negatively impacted by such behavior. Illegal aliens sometimes kill people, gay wedding often offend Christians and underwear hanging out at WalMart offends the sensibilities of pretty much everybody. Imposing standards against such behaviors certainly offends some but look who you are now offending and who you are protecting. To my mind this is a no-brainer. Add to this the fact that tolerance is an open-ended program. Once you decide to eschew standards and start tolerating, where do you stop? There is always another cause or put-upon group in the shadows that deserves to be "included". And so we are forced ever onward toward that supposed "nirvana" where everybody is free and no one is ever offended. Yet, even now, it is pretty easy to see the writing on the wall - the wall of the box canyon we are riding into. The simple fact is despite the derision hurled against high standards and moral codes by progressives as antiquated social directives they do two things that tolerance and inclusion can't. One, they elevate the overall level of social conduct and promote cohesiveness. And, two, they provide a consistent and predictable foundation on which to build a prosperous national entity. In short, they keep you out of box canyons.