Intolerance
by Tool

Songfacts®:

  • The recurring line from this song that goes "Lie, cheat, and steal" comes from the West Point Military Academy's honor code: "I will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do." The song's premise is that those who sit by idly while others commit crimes are just as bad as the criminals. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bob - Tokyo, Japan

Comments: 11

  • Jeff from NjLie cheat steal is West Point honor code. He was dismissed. That’s exactly what it is. Nothing deeeper.
  • Chris from Longwood, Fl Could this song be about Hillary Clinton!?
  • Orion from Independence, Mo This, imho, is about what many songs by tool are about: organized religion and "god". I interpret this song as specifically about Jehovah. Original sin, for instance. "Our guilt, our blame" and so on. By the way, Jehova was/is an e.t., and one with a nasty disposition as well. Lol ;)
  • Ben from Hamilton, OhBob is definately right here (apologies to everyone else) but Maynard is maybe talking about his experience at West Point "I am not innocent, you are not innocent" maybe he feels guilty for not turning in cadets, or he's claiming that this is an impossible task, to turn on those like us, so that would mean that "no one is innocent" and one of the last lines, "even if i must go down beside you" means that he cannot be innocent, and that's ok, because no one is...i don't know really, but does anyone agree?
  • Mike from Lasalle, OnI think it's about a relashionship that Maynard was in and the women he was dating was cheating on him, lying to him about it, and taking or stealing Maynard's money by getting him to buy things that she doesn't need. May sound stupid, but oh well.
  • Rodssslive from Kelall, Czech RepublicWhen I listen to this song, I always think he obviously is singing it to a Preacher... A very mean one that continuaslly talks about sin and hell. And has a huge cult, that sings, and dances... But yet... He has come to understand, that this is guy is full of bs.
  • Anderz from Vernon, BcWell i really believe that in this song, Maynard is trying to express how he feels about women and how they work in society. He repeatedly says the phrase "lie, cheat, and steal"; i think that he's just expressing the women's instinct in society. It's a great song :)
  • Age from C-ville, PaI believe Maynard is drawing comparison to the West Point motto and socialism. In social environments, you can sit there and watch someone bulls--t their way through everything and just take it because its socially accepted. Where, at West Point per say, prosecuting these types of people is enforced. Great comparison.
  • Tom from Seattle, WaMaynard is talking about his experience at West point. He didn't want to "rot in an apathetic existance" by tolerating other cadets who broke the honor code. So he left. Maynard quit after attending the prep school. intolerance is a very personal and introspective song.
  • Rose from Seattle, WaI agree with Bob in Tokyo; that this song is about knowing what people do wrongfully ("lie, cheat and steal") and yet not doing anything about it makes you no different from them. "No one is innocent"
  • Falkor from Tampa, Fli think it has more to do with the fact that its ok to be hostile and violent, but not to lie cheat and steal....
    I don't want to be hostile
    And I don't want to be dismal
    But I don't want to rot in
    An apathetic existance

    See, I want to believe you
    And I wanted to trust you
    And I want to have faith to
    Put away the dagger

    But you lie, cheat and steal
    You lie, cheat and steal
    You lie, cheat and steal
    And yet I tolerate you
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Rosanne Cash

Rosanne CashSongwriter Interviews

Rosanne talks about the journey that inspired her songs on her album The River & the Thread, including a stop at the Tallahatchie Bridge.

Richard Marx

Richard MarxSongwriter Interviews

Richard explains how Joe Walsh kickstarted his career, and why he chose Hazard, Nebraska for a hit.

Angelo Moore of Fishbone

Angelo Moore of FishboneSongwriter Interviews

Fishbone has always enjoyed much more acclaim than popularity - Angelo might know why.

Mike Rutherford (Genesis, Mike + The Mechanics)

Mike Rutherford (Genesis, Mike + The Mechanics)Songwriter Interviews

Mike Rutherford talks about the "Silent Running" storyline and "Land Of Confusion" in the age of Trump.

Booker T. Jones

Booker T. JonesSongwriter Interviews

The Stax legend on how he cooked up "Green Onions," the first time he and Otis Redding saw hippies, and if he'll ever play a digital organ.

Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde

Johnette Napolitano of Concrete BlondeSongwriter Interviews

The singer/bassist for Concrete Blonde talks about how her songs come from clairvoyance, and takes us through the making of their hit "Joey."