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November 04, 2004

Civility

David Neiwert on the calls for civility among opponents of Bush:

But I'll tell you what, all you conservatives who want us to bow and scrape at the altar of your newfound civility. I'll maybe start thinking you're sincere about "restoring civility" and "turning down the hate" when I stop seeing and hearing the following -- not just from the bottom feeders like Adam Yoshida, but leading conservatives like Bill Bennett, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter:
-- That liberals are the root of all evil.
-- That liberals are innately treasonous.
-- That they are internal enemies on a par with Al Qaeda.
-- That they are responsible for conservative failures.
-- That electing a liberal president would bring the end of the republic.
-- That the nation would be better off if liberals were just eliminated.

I'll start to believe you're sincere about civility when I'm no longer reading books with titles on these subjects, and seeing them reach the bestseller lists.

Most of all, I'll think there might be something to this civility thing when I see actual conservatives start standing up for basic human decency - which at one naïve time in my life I actually believed conservativism stood for - and publicly repudiating these people.

But when I read and hear these things, and I look around for supposedly decent conservatives to say something, what do I hear?

Silence.

Posted by Chris Clarke at November 4, 2004 02:02 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:
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Comments

You've got it backwards. We don't owe them civility. We owe it to ourselves to practice civility towards them.

& Gore's civility may well have saved the Republic. Do you really think Bush would have meekly stepped down after the Florida elections authority had called the election and the Supreme Court had recognized it as a valid result?

No. And if it had been civil war, do you think us binocular-wielding Environmentalists, or the guys with rifles in the racks of their pickup trucks -- not to mention the full support of the army -- would have won? This is just foolishness.

We're still able to post this sort of stuff on our blogs because of Gore's civility, in my opinion.

Posted by: dale at November 5, 2004 11:51 AM
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Fair point, Dale, about owing ourselves civility. But that's not the kind of civility we're being asked to offer. We're being told to shut up.

And if it had been civil war, do you think us binocular-wielding Environmentalists, or the guys with rifles in the racks of their pickup trucks -- not to mention the full support of the army -- would have won? This is just foolishness.

As is splitting people into "binocular-wielding enviros" and "gun-rack pickup drivers." But you know that.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at November 5, 2004 12:01 PM
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Touche :-) But I think lots of calls for civility are exactly what they purport to be. Of course they're intermixed with ones that are just calls for us to shut up, and that'a profoundly irritating. But I think it's better strategy to pretend to believe even those people.

After all, we don't know anyone's motives. The people whose motives are genuinely bad won't be affected by our disbelief, but those whose motives are good will be hurt and resentful. Nothing to win, something to lose.

Posted by: dale at November 5, 2004 12:30 PM
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