Joining The Call For Civility In Discourse

Joining The Call For Civility In Discourse


Given all of the heated rhetoric and personal attacks lately, Matt Lewis has a great suggestion:

Conservatives, of course, will point to liberal examples of hatred and bitterness and say, “they do it, too!” Both sides do this. Both sides should be more civil. Both sides should show more character.

But since I suspect I’m reaching more conservatives here, let me make the case that you should not allow yourself to become obsessed with the political fight. In this, I agree with Peggy Noonan, who writes, “[I]n their fight against liberalism and its demands, too many conservatives have unconsciously come to ape the left. They too became all politics all the time.”

At the end of the day — at the end of our lives — shouldn’t our life’s work — our purpose — have been noble? (Yes, political participation is honorable. Fighting for freedom is certainly honorable. But it is noble only if done in an honorable manner.)

This, of course, is a lesson that even the most introspective person must learn and re-learn. But it’s anything but new. “Consider your origins,” Dante wrote, “you were not made that you might live as brutes, but so as to follow virtue and knowledge.”

My emphasis.

Yes. Yes. Y-E-S.

Lewis is right on here. Both sides are guilty. Both sides participate in nasty, cringe-worthy, vomit-inducing attacks on perceived political enemies.

I blame the Political Loudmouth Class: Limbaugh, Maher, Olbermann, Hannity, and anyone else who has a metaphorical megaphone and chooses to indulge in mean-spirited personal attacks on people, rather than ideas. BUT, the over-arching problem is that the Loudmouths get paid for being louder. For being over-the-top. For being, well, uncivil. The more crazy their rhetoric, the higher their ratings get.

Case-in-point: Pamela Geller.

A 30-year-old poses as a 23-year-old, chooses a Catholic University to attend at $65,000 per year and can not afford ALL the birth control pills she needs… so she wants the US taxpayers to pay for her rampant sexual activity. By all accounts she is banging it five times a day. She sounds more like a prostitute to me. She must have an gyno bill to choke a horse (pun intended). Slut was a softball.

Obama calls her and tells Sandra Slut Fluke that her parents should be so proud of her.
He’s a pimp.

Wow. Sick yet?

But, what can we do about it? Pointing out the incivility is too easy — for it is everywhere in politics these days. Fixing it is something different altogether…


  • cranky critter

    Idea 1: Practice it yourself when you can.

    Idea 2: teach manners in school. Not word by word censorship. Actual virtues, anmd more importantly, why they matter.

    Idea 3: identify public figures who are really just anger and outrage salesmen. Do not engage them. Ignore them.

  • Mike A.

    I think Cranky’s points are a good start, but I would modify Idea 2 to “Teach it to your children” and would use schools only as a backup.

    The interpretation of acceptable manners is culturally-dependent, as is evident whenever I travel to China where it seems some western manners are viewed more as a weakness to be taken advantage of. Maybe it’s age, but I do remember our culture in America being much more polite that it is now. The reasons why it has changed are probably not wholly understood and it seems that each successive generation appears less well-mannered to it’s predecessor. Maybe this is an indication of a natural degression that is difficult to stop.

    I would hope this trend could be reversed, but deep inside I believe the degradation of manners is continuous and inevitable. And with that, I would say there’s a reason we don’t live forever. At some point, we would be unable to stand it.

  • The Pajama Pundit

    Excellent suggestions cranky & Mike! Now, if only we could get the rest of the Internet to hop on board…

  • mw

    “if only we could get the rest of the Internet to hop on board…

    Good stuff, and as long as we are dreaming impossible dreams, perhaps we could go back in time and get some of the Founding Fathers to set a better tone right off the bat.

  • Tom D

    Try contacting the advertisers of the publisher presenting the imflamatory message. Rush Limbaugh just proved that a lot of sponsers will flee from someone they believe will effect their bottom line.

  • Angela

    The younger generations don’t read the news. If they do, its only in tidbits with flashy headliners. Extreme, exaggerated ploys attract them. Thoughtful political analysis is too mundane for these youngsters. Expect more Rush-types to surface.