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If Civility Is Out of Style, Where Do We End Up Next?

Yearning for the days when interrupting your debate opponent was considered the height of incivility.

During the 2012 election, this writer was appalled by the loutish behavior displayed by incumbent Joe Biden in his vice presidential debate against GOP challenger Paul Ryan, as Biden smirked and interrupted his way through the contest. In fact, my outraged column argued that Biden's behavior was "an affront to civility" because of its bullying nature. Civility doesn't meaning rolling over, but it does mean behaving with a little decorum.

I laughed out loud after coming across that long-forgotten diatribe. It brought to mind a term from the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York: "defining deviancy down." Basically, the Democratic senator argued that as society becomes accustomed to deviancy, societal standards are lowered. What seemed outrageous yesterday, is accepted today. Life begins to resemble a game of limbo. How low can you go?

I'm not the first one to use that phrase in the current environment, but that six-year-old debate wouldn't even be noteworthy today, given the antics of the current president and his foes. It's pretty clear from social media that the president's crudity and personal attacks are not a flaw in his presidency, but one of its high points. Many conservatives are thrilled to have someone who isn't playing by Marquess of Queensbury rules.

Many leftists—including folks who have shouted down conservative speakers on college campuses—now argue that Donald Trump's administration is such a fundamental threat to our democratic order that it's OK to harass members of his administration. "(I)f you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd," said U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles.

Although some Democrats castigated Waters, most people on both sides instinctively point to the other side as an example why it's OK that "our" side did something uncivil. It even has a term: "whataboutism." And conservative backers of Trump routinely chide "Never Trumpers" for trying to hold the president up to traditional standards of decency.

For example, former Republican Education Secretary William J. Bennett argued in 2016 that conservative Trump critics "suffer from a terrible case of moral superiority and put their own vanity and taste above the interest of the country." After hearing those comments on Fox News, I knew that the battle over civility was lost. Bennett, after all, is author of "The Book of Virtues," which sought to instill in young people some timeless principles.

The conservative National Review quoted Bennett's previous words to shame him for those comments about moral superiority: "Good people—people of character and moral literacy—can be conservative, and good people can be liberal. We must not permit our disputes over thorny political questions to obscure the obligation we have to offer instruction to all our young people in the area in which we have, as a society, reached a consensus: namely, on the importance of good character, and some of its pervasive particulars."

Now, that's a sentiment with which I agree, but one that is out of favor. Even some religious leaders have so thoroughly embraced the president that they've let their moral voices atrophy. The same folks who told us that character is what really matters, perhaps only believed that to be true when it comes to Bill Clinton and other politicians they don't like. That's not a virtue. It's hypocrisy.

But what about Hillary and the Left and the warriors of political correctness? So round and round we go. As I write this, by the way, I'm celebrating two major Supreme Court victories that came about largely because of Trump's victory and his appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Last week, on 5-4 votes, the court tossed aside the requirement that public-sector workers pay union dues and invalidated a noxious California law that forced pro-life crisis pregnancy centers to provide pro-abortion information to their clients.

Both decisions uphold freedom of speech, which is a foundation of a peaceful and civil society. But why can't we still criticize the president's assault on other aspects of civil society? Some of his supporters argue that "politics is binary." In other words, there are only going to be two real choices on any presidential ballot. But if that's the case, then we always need to pick a side rather than maintain a consistent standard lest we abet our political enemies.

It's easy to see where that kind of endless grudge match might lead. A new poll from Rasmussen Reports found that 31 percent of Americans believe that another civil war is likely in the next five years. We all see the anger and viciousness that has infected all manner of American discourse. I don't believe a war is by any means likely, but I'm fearful of the kind of discourse we might find acceptable by the start of the next presidential election.

Steven Greenhut is Western region director for the R Street Institute. He was a Register editorial writer from 1998-2009. Write to him at sgreenhut@rstreet.org.

Photo Credit: Ingram Publishing/Newscom

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  • DajjaI||

    I think the incivility is healthy. However I think Maxine Waters crossed the line. She was basically inciting witch hunts. That's silly. Because as long as we have free speech you don't need a group. Just go right up and speak your mind. Like the woman who confronted Pruitt the other day. In fact if you really need a group then maybe your message needs a tune-up. I am a practitioner of free speech and I have been called 'uncivil' and much worse. So what? As for civil war, the only issue I can see people getting sufficiently worked up about is gun control. But again, as long as Reason is here to educate the populace on the stupidity of that, I think we're safe. (As for socialism - it's a case of don't interrupt your enemy when it is self-destructing.)

  • Tony||

    Fucking FOX News junky zombie moron.

    Nothing Trump has said has crossed the line, but Maxine Waters has? Really? Were you dropped on your infant head when you were shat out of your mom's snatch?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Another F- trolling effort.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Is this an unintentional illustration of his point?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Tony, you are the stupidest, most dishonest piece of shit. Waters ordered you marxist drones to violently attack patriotic Americans. Trump has never done such a thing.

    We're good, you're evil. It's just that simple.

  • Tony||

    Kindly quote her saying that.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    You and your kind have no self control, so logically a number of you will lose control and become violent. Therefore her orders were for violent action.

  • Rossami||

    re: "Nothing Trump has said has crossed the line"

    And you find evidence for that statement in Dajjal's post where exactly?

    There is a reasonable argument about the value of civility in a debate. There is no argument whatsoever about the complete lack of value of irrational rants and logical fallacies.

  • Paloma||

    Maybe they could just challenge each other to a duel. Muskets or swords. Chainsaws too brutal.

  • perlchpr||

    A new poll from Rasmussen Reports found that 31 percent of Americans believe that another civil war is likely in the next five years.

    If that number gets much higher, I wonder at what point it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I've comsodered a civil war a likely outcome for a number of years. Progressives will not live under the rule of law, whether they win or lose. Unless something is done about them, I'm not sure how else to resolve the progressive problem.

    Maybe deport them en masse?

  • lulz farmer||

    You don't get to cry about "incivility" when you've been calling people nazis for the better part of half a century, using violence to deplatform anyone who they disagree with and deny them their first amendmend rights and then begins to weep crocodile tears at the slightest hint of being responded to in kind.

    Civility is a social contract and like with all contracts, once you've broken the contract then the other side has no obligation to maintain their end, either.

  • buybuydandavis||

    In fact, they have an obligation to make sure the other side doesn't get the benefit of the contract they've violated.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Progressivism should be stamped out completely. Then we can have a national debate on traditional values versus libertarianism, which would be much healthier, and raise libertarianism to a much more deserved role in America, versus progressivism, which has no place, except as a footnote in history, a cautionary tale.

  • Cathy L||

    Traditional values should be stamped out completely. Then we can have a national debate on progressivism versus libertarianism, which would be much healthier, and raise libertarianism to a much more deserved role in America, versus traditional values, which have no place, except as a footnote in history, a cautionary tale.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Progressivism is slavery. Ergo progressives are slavers. It is reasonable to destroy anyone who plans to enslave you.

    Basically if you progtarded trash really want to throw down, go for it. You are the worst kind of evil. Causing the deaths of over a hundred million people during the 20th century and even now we can see the marxist destruction of Venezuela play out.

    So no, progressivism must not survive, nor any progressives who refuse to abandon their beliefs.

  • Paloma||

    Progressives are the antithesis of libertarians, not conservatives or even liberals.

  • Salmonsnail||

    Conservatives were always mostly the types who placed emphasis on the superficial civility while they were throwing gay people in prisons or unleashing gangs of racist cops on poor people. All from the comfort of their country clubs and well manicured lawns. Trump is a breathe of freah air in way. He's the unmasked right winger.

  • JesseAz||

    Hey sweetie.......

    It wasn't conservatives wearing white robes and setting fire to crosses. It wasn't conservatives passing Jim crow and harassing business owners. It wasn't conservatives bombing army recruitment centers. It wasn't conservatives putting MLK under FBI surveillance. It wasn't conservatives egging young black children going to school. It wasn't conservatives holding galas celebrating Lopez or assata Shakur. It wasn't conservatives celebrating the mass murderer che Guevara.

    Do you wish to try again?

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    It wasn't conservatives wearing white robes and setting fire to crosses.

    Yeah it was actually. It's just that back then many conservatives were labeled Democrat.

    Wanting things like the way they were is the very essence of conservatism.

  • JesseAz||

    Jeff. I always guessed that you were an ignorant twat, now you've confirmed it. The Nixon Southern Strategy never paid off dumbass. The south didn't flip until the mid 90s, almost 30 years later. All of those true blood KKK members remained loyal democrats until they died off. Byrd was celebrated by the DNC as he retired. The KKK was formed by Democrats to push a political playbook based on racism. That same playbook moved to LBJ where he said he'd have those n*s voting for the DNC for generations. It continues today as we have HuffPost contributors being confused by black conservatives and Kanye being told to shut up and called a house n* for daring to walk off the DNC plantation. Where you have Rice, Powell, Thomas, Mia Love, and others all called uncle toms, aunt jamimas, and race traitors. The democrats still gain power through racial means in their whole victim based platforms today. You're a truly useful idiot Jeff.

    You have proven how big of an ignorant moron you truly are in your claim in this post.

    "Wanting things like the way they were is the very essence of conservatism."

    If this was true there would never be a conservative law or bill passed dumbass. My god Jeff, do you think before you type? You could be in competition with Kirkland for dumbest person on here. Thanks for showing your true colors.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Yes they were Democrats. They were also conservatives. You keep confusing the two, willfully. They aren't the same. In the recent past, it wasn't an oxymoron to have a "conservative Democrat" or a "liberal Republican". Back in the 20's, the Republicans were the liberal progressive party and the Democrats were the conservative party.

    And I didn't mention "Southern Strategy", that was you. I am personally suspicious of the idea that Nixon had some deliberate plan to court white racist voters in the South.

    You may want to look up the definition of conservative in the dictionary sometime. Bill Buckley famously said a conservative was someone who was "standing athwart history, yelling stop". Conservatism by its nature resists change and wants things to stay mostly the way they are.

    And I didn't say liberals were pure on the issue of racism either. Of course there are racists all over the place, both on the left and the right. But the racism of modern Democrats is qualitatively different than the racism of the KKK. The racism of the KKK was based in an essentially conservative understanding of how they thought society ought to be organized: whites on top, blacks on bottom, just like things had always been. The racism of modern liberals is patronizing segregation. It isn't about keeping minorities down. It is about keeping minorities as a segregated interest group for the purpose of power.

  • TeamsterX||

    Yeah the Left keeps their racisms minimized...they hate Asians, Jews and anyone of color that is a Republican...I am sure you think Rubio is a "white-Latino".

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    The red/blue transformation has to do with conservative northerners and midwesterners moving to the suburbs DFW, Houston, and Atlanta and the union workers and liberals staying behind. So that is why Republicans now have an advantage in the Electoral College—the states that had strong economies under Obama are red states that won't vote for a Democrat president. So I recently drove through Georgia and South Carolina and those states have been booming since around 2015 but Hillary received no benefit from that. And Texas has been booming since 2012 and obviously Obama opposed fracking so of course Texans would never vote for Hillary.

  • otto von doom||

    "Back in the 20's, the Republicans were the liberal progressive party and the Democrats were the conservative party."

    Did Calvin Coolidge know that?

  • Flinch||

    If I could add one thing it would be this: harvesting votes yields more cash than picking cotton for todays prog. The bottomless ability of the treasury to borrow has no margin, and daylight hours don't matter.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Yeah, the powerful southern Democrat senators were part of the "conservative caucus". Texas is successful today because of policies LBJ promoted as a conservative senator. As president he had to do things to appeal to the liberal Humphrey wing of the party so that is what confuses people although welfare was really expanded by Nixon and not really a focus of LBJ.

    So it was actually the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the development of ubiquitous air conditioning that made Texas appealing to northern conservatives and Texas started moving towards the Republican Party as more conservative northerners moves south to escape unions and taxes and regulations. So liberals are wrong when they argue the Republicans became the party of segregation because the transformation occurred because southerners moving towards the political beliefs of northern conservatives and moving past segregation...at least in Texas and Georgia and Florida.

    Now West Virginia has always been a big union state which is why it stayed Democrat longer but the Byrd supporters are now the strongest Trump supporters and you are implying they are racists.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    "Yeah it was actually. It's just that back then many conservatives were labeled Democrat."

    No, you stupid, soft headed fuck, it wasn't. You're confusing authoritarianism with conservatism. By that 'logic', Barak Obama is a conservative.

    You have now proven that you have no place having your own thoughts. You should just learn to obey.

  • Bill||

    You both need to define your terms more explicitly. There are social conservatives, religious conservatives, economic conservatives, traditional conservatives, etc.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    There isn't really a misunderstanding of the term. Jeff is just an idiot. As usual.

  • NashTiger||

    You should Google "The Progressive Era" some time

  • Flinch||

    With Al Gore lurking in the background? Instant garbage: we are still living in the age of socialism [which is what progressives were all about on balance], but maybe it is coming near a close. I reject the idea it ended in the 1920's completely. That pronouncement cannot happen until the US stops underwriting eurosocialism by ending NATO funding [which is what freed up all the cash they needed to live in fantasy land]. Shutter NATO funding, and the end of the era will arrive quickly. Until then, it trudges on and there is enough of an excuse for pickpockets around the world hiding behind a committee to engage in their legal theft, as they point to the "success" over there.

  • Magnitogorsk||

    I didn't know there were people dumb enough to actually believe this kind of revisionist history

  • Magnitogorsk||

    I didn't know there were people dumb enough to actually believe this kind of revisionist history

  • CE||

    It wasn't conservatives putting MLK under FBI surveillance.

    Yeah it was actually. Democrats were conservatives back then.

  • TeamsterX||

    Planned Parenthood was started by a Progressive to exterminate the African Americans through eugenics....but I bet you think Planned Parenthood flipped through Nixon's Southern Strategy.

  • harpac||

    Pure BS. Sad to be so filled with hate. I pity you..

  • leninsmummy||

    Really, and who was marching with MLK when it was dangerous, and who were the abolitionists? Conservatives have principles that progressives don't understand, because they come from actual values that don't change according to which way the wind is blowing. If you look deep within your angry cold heart, you'll realize that you're ok with Obama being against gay marriage then for it or not closing Guantanamo because his principles come from political expediency like most progressives. Love trumps hate? Not during the BushHitler years and certainly not now. Every time there's a republican president the mask of love and tolerance comes right off, why is that?

  • Sevo||

    "...Trump is a breathe of freah air in way. He's the unmasked right winger."

    Poor, poor loser.
    You and she lost, loser. Grow up.

  • buybuydandavis||

    A bitter clinger to the hem of Hillary's pantsuit.

  • Flinch||

    A free hand? That's news. I thought the clinging was to Silent Spring and The Population Bomb.

  • No Longer Amused||

    Aside from being breathtakingly incorrect in your assertions, you have apparently also managed to come to us from a mirror universe.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    I'll style your civility!

  • buybuydandavis||

    One way ceasefire is surrender
    One way rule of law is subjection
    One way civility is subservience

    The fundamental moral mistake of the Right, for a century, is mistaking complicity in one way rules as supporting the rules, instead of betraying them

  • Salmonsnail||

    I imagine Satan himself has the best manners.

  • Salmonsnail||

    I didn't mean to post this under your comment. But to expand on my thought. There's a certain repugnance to civility when it's masking something rotten underneath.

  • JesseAz||

    Democrats are rotten underneath as well as on the outside.

  • Nardz||

    They do tend to be rather ugly

  • Flinch||

    Pickpocket politics is the home of the lowest common denominator - we can always expect scoundrels inside that tent.

  • Sevo||

    "I didn't mean to post this under your comment. But to expand on my thought. There's a certain repugnance to civility when it's masking something rotten underneath."

    Speaking of rotten, that stinking pile of shit lost.

  • ||

    There's a certain repugnance to civility when it's masking something rotten underneath.

    Civil libertarianism FTW.

  • Tony||

    Yeah Hitler probably knew how to hold a teacup.

    The point is Trump can't even manage that shit.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Fuck off Tony. Your life has no value. You are a malignant tumor that somehow knows how to talk.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|7.6.18 @ 10:59AM|#
    "Yeah Hitler probably knew how to hold a teacup.
    The point is Trump can't even manage that shit."
    Our resident pile of shit compares a mass murderer to someone who has yet to drone-murder anyone, unlike the lying pile of shsit he supported.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Your TDS is showing.

    Trump spent decades running 5 star hotels. He knows all the rules. He knows when to break them too.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    He is a man of wealth and taste.

  • CE||

    So you're saying you have sympathy for him?

  • buybuydandavis||

    But what's puzzling you
    Is the nature of his game

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The fundamental moral mistake of right-wingers has been and is bigotry.

    Unless it's superstitious backwardness.

    Or belligerent ignorance.

    Carry on, clingers.

  • JesseAz||

    Your ignorance of history and reality is a beauty to behold.

  • leninsmummy||

    Must feel good to be filled with such righteous hate. Let it flow through you and take your power from it.

  • Troglodyte Rex||

    Rev is short for Revisionist?

  • Sevo||

    "Rev is short for Revisionist?"

    No, it's actually short for "asshole".

  • TeamsterX||

    I thought Rev was Latin for useless douchebag? Man I wasted my time in that class.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Arty, I'm sure your grandaddy was a proud klansman. You and your kind are the most bigoted creatures i the world.

  • lulz farmer||

    "Right-wingers are superstitious and don't believe in science.

    BTW racial differences don't exist--evolution isn't real. It magically stopped from the neck up and only created superficial appearance differences."

    :^)

  • buybuydandavis||

    The fundamental moral mistake of the Right, for a century, is mistaking complicity in one way rules as supporting the rules, instead of betraying them

    But we are learning

  • buybuydandavis||

    The "Racist!" shriek is all he's got
    Sad

    Think he'll ever notice it just isn't working anymore?

  • Rock Lobster||

    I'm sure Margaret Sanger would be shocked to discover that she is actually a "clinger."

    How convenient for you and your fellow travelers that she's dead.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    The fatal flaw with your plan is that the end result is war.

  • JesseAz||

    Dont' you have some antifascist bombings to go plan? You could be the next Ayers!

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    What makes you think I'm Antifa?

    And how does that in any way address my pont?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    You're as dumb as antifa. Full of the same dumbs hit ideas.

  • Moo Cow||

    That was a smart comment. Hahahaaaaaahaha.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Obvious, but accurate anyway.

  • lulz farmer||

    Maybe that's what needs to happen then since we have irreconcilable differences and no compromise is possible.

  • buybuydandavis||

    The war has been waged against us for decades
    If we start fighting back, we might actually win

  • vek||

    Totally correct. The left got away with murder for decades, and Trump, for all his flaws, decided to take the gloves off... And has mostly been kicking their asses.

  • Paloma||

    This is true. But I don't think Trump is a conservative. Conservative would be Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley, George Will.

  • ||

    When Trump first started promoting himself (and it was a deliberate PR campaign) in the 1970s it was as a liberal democrat. The three major TV networks at the time gave him major coverage on the "magazine" shows (20/20 etc)as the bright young new real estate developer with a social conscience.

    The rhetoric of his 2016 campaign rhetoric was closer to Walter Mondale's 1984 campaign than it was to anything any Republican has ever run on.

    As for the earlier reference to Nixon, it is worth reflecting that Nixon was not a conservative, he was a "Cold War liberal" (there actually used to be such a thing as a Liberal Republican and Nixon* was one).

    As for "Jim Crow" segregationists being conservatives, many of them were ardent New Deal Democrats**.

    *See also Nelson Rockefeller, John Lindsey and John Anderson.

    **See for example J. William Fulbright, United States Senator representing Arkansas.

  • ||

    It would be really neat if we could determine political principles from party affiliation or if we could see a nice dichotomous divide between "us and them". Alas that will forever elude us.

    There are those who have ideas we agree with that also have ideas we abhor, and vice versa.

  • ||

    Thus it would seem that it would behoove us to engage in reasoned discourse with those with whom we disagree.

    But, fuck that, it's way easier to call each other names. :)

  • TeamsterX||

    Trump is a JFK Liberal, which is now to the Right of George Will and his ilk.

  • Flinch||

    I'll go with that. Real liberals are people I can live with. Progs on the other hand secrete misery from their every step.

  • vek||

    Trump is no hardcore, across the board conservative for sure.

    I'd personally call him a moderate Democrat OR Republican from a few decades ago, when the parties were more tolerant of varied views within the party. He could have been a conservative leaning Dem, or a liberal leaning R. Let us all remember that Bill Clinton in the 90s with his publicly stated views, and the way he governed, would be run out of the Democratic party for many of his views now... And begrudgingly accepted as a moderate Republican by the GOP establishment today... Although GOP voters would mostly still dislike him.

    He does hold a number of conservative views, but he's also got his "progressive" side. In the current paradigm this makes him HARD RIGHT... Which just goes to show how far left the whole spectrum has shifted over the last few decades :(

  • damikesc||

    George Will.

    George "Vote For Democrats who deeply hate you, have done nothing to earn your vote, and more actively oppose policies I have claimed to support for decades because Trump is a big meanie" Will?

    His insistence that we should vote for Democrats disqualifies him as a conservative.

  • Qsl||

    I don't think incivility is a problem per se, but the lack of honest engagement as each side shouts down each other while saying absolutely nothing of consequence.

    Back to Firing Line, there were veiled barbs and Buckley's shit eating grin, but there was discourse and confronting arguments as they stood.

    America's discourse lately resembles Britain's House of Commons, but without the intelligence or sense of purpose.

    Make an argument and may the best argument win.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    People with marxist ideals are the problem. they need to go.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Go where?

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Away from the US, and hopefully other humans. Les they attempt to enslave them too.

    Maybe Antarctica?

  • Flinch||

    An asylum. Declaring a right to other peoples stuff on an unconditinal basis in perpetuity is proof of a mental disorder. When it drifts from simple narcissism to blind hatred of anyone who has more than them [with religious like fervor] it could be labeled pre-psychosis.
    Your basic prog chant [if they ever could stomach their own truth] might be this: What do we want? Free Stuff. When do we want it? Now!
    I don't expect that to happen ever, as it throws away the props needed to serve their deluded minds.

  • CE||

    No one is interested in winning arguments anymore.
    They just want to signal which side of the argument they are on.

  • buybuydandavis||

    The Left does not believe in honest engagement

    All discussion is merely rhetoric to manipulate for advantage

  • Flinch||

    When it comes to computative power per gram, a bees brain might be superior to the human brain. Hence, we have leftists. Nothing on earth needs more training than the human mind it seems to me. So if we have an explosion of progressives, we must therefore have a training problem that leads to a thinking problem. Could progressivism have existed prior to the birth of public education and the selling of accolades from an ivory tower? I wonder... and my gut instinct is to say no.

  • kennybluray||

    It's okay to be rude, obnoxious, and otherwise "uncivil." But as a big fan of conversation and dialogue, and of talking things through, this sort of "shout 'em down if you don't approve" stuff is a bit disheartening.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    When you're talking with someone, why would they want to listen if you're going to be rude to them? As you say, the "shout 'em down if don't approve" will ruin discussions.

  • leninsmummy||

    We were taught in school that liberal principles were good. Therefore you get shock if you try to have a conversation about why they aren't. Liberalism is the new orthodoxy and every bit as oppressive as any religious orthodoxy. Asking for civility from people who have good/evil binary constructs in their brains about politics are pointless because you are automatically Satan before you say a thing. How brainwashed they are.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Universities are the Monasteries of the Marxist Theocracy

  • Flinch||

    It could be universities have become a modern variant of selling indulgances, which explains the behavior of grads of the SJW flavor: they really do believe they have purchased superiority. I recall the police interaction with a Harvard professor right after Obama was inaugurated. Didn't the professor play the card he had purchased by saying "do you know who I am?" Interesting reaction, and one that completely avoided problem solving, in favor of browbeating. Theocracy might be the perfect term, but it escapes easy scrutiny when it is man worshipping himself.

  • BillyG||

    I don't believe a war is by any means likely

    Depends, what do you consider Bloody Kansas?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Since Lefties want to destroy this society and they are feeling more and more desperate to do so, it makes perfect sense that they will progressive their way to less decorum.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    In related news, I am spending today cleaning up the char at a site where someone set off a fire cracker in a cardbord recycling dumpster.

  • Echo Chamber||

    The recycling dumpster is recycled? That's so woke

  • CE||

    Must need to keep it out of the rain.

  • Rhywun||

    So round and round we go.

    Yes. So people should stop fretting over "manners", which have always pedulumed one way and then the other, and focus on the issues.

  • Jerryskids||

    "(I)f you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd," said U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles.

    "And you push back"

    That's the key part of what she said - "you push back". If you're pushing *back*, obviously you were pushed first. And how were they pushing first? Why, their very existence is an assault on human decency. How are you going to civilly argue with somebody who believes you have no right to even exist?

  • Tony||

    Let me make pauses for effect. There. is. no. excuse. for. rudeness.

  • MasterThief||

    Let me fire right back!
    Let's say that I accept your assumed premise that the right are noticeably more rude than the left (and that is a huge stretch.)
    How does the left view political correctness? They claim it is just being polite or not being an asshole. Now, what happens when whole topics of conversation are considered rude and facts themselves aren't pc? Why, it seems like the people who control pc designations have effectively driven conversations they dislike from polite debate. The left is who currently controls pc and they assert that anything that doesn't advance their causes is bigotry. I'd rather be rude and right than allow someone to get away with controlling language and the power of government

  • Tony||

    Manners are about taking care not to make other people feel uncomfortable. That's pretty much it.

    If your big gripe in the world is that you can't say "nigger" in polite company, take it up with standards and practices.

    Oh, that's me! Bigotry is the worst form of rudeness. If you're not making other people uncomfortable, you're probably not being rude, and there's nothing to talk about.

  • ||

    What about threatening to drag some recalcitrant "kicking and screaming into" into "the 21st (it used to be the 20th) century?"

    The left has engaged in plenty of violent metaphorical speech (as well as plenty of actual physical - and often fatal - violence).

    Perhaps "nigger" is only more offensive than "goober" because you have been on the receiving end of neither one.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    If your big gripe in the world is that you can't say "nigger" in polite company, take it up with standards and practices.

    I don't believe that is what he said at all, but way to reductively mischaracterize his argument.

  • MasterThief||

    Not at all the point I was making, but I'll even take a stab at that. If "nigger" is an acceptable term for certain people to use but is effectively a prosecutable offense if uttered by the wrong type of person then PC is not at all egalitarian. It has nothing to do with politeness.
    The main thrust of my argument is that PC is pretty much controlled by a very activist part of our culture. By deeming ideas and facts unsuitable for discussion we are left moving in a direction without the guidance of all available facts and arguments. This is ultimately the core feature of "progressivism." It's the idea that because what they desire is a good thing that all actions intent upon that goal are also good and should not be impeded. Is it polite to cry slavery when people assert that health care is a human right (therefore healthcare providers are obliged to provide services regardless)? I don't suppose it is, but it is certainly an idea that should be considered before rushing into a policy that just might create slaves.

  • Brian||

    Yawn.

    Pearl clutching equals boring, and there's really no excuse for that, either.

  • Trollificus||

    Of course not. And since anyone who fails to follow the progressive line perfectly is BY DEFINITION a "Nazi homophobic misogynistic alt-right racist etc., etc", it isn't rudeness to hate them loudly and violently. Isn't that how it goes?

    Because that's what I see happening.

  • MarkLastname||

    You're kidding right? Have you ever listened to yourself?

  • Rock Lobster||

    "Fucking FOX News junky zombie moron.

    Nothing Trump has said has crossed the line, but Maxine Waters has? Really? Were you dropped on your infant head when you were shat out of your mom's snatch?"

    So, are you a different Tony than the guy who posted this upthread?

  • Thomas O.||

    "There. is. no. excuse. for. rudeness."

    Tell that to your SJW cohorts who scream "DON'T TELL ME TO CALM DOWN!"

  • vek||

    It sucks that things have degenerated to where they are... But it is what it is. The left has been the ones who have always been *allowed* to be uncivil. So they have been. The right let them get away with it for decades, always trying to take the higher ground. Which is good to a point... But ONLY to a point.

    I think we're at a point in time where we needed to say "Fuck it!" and take the gloves off. The level of crazy from the left has to be combated by any means necessary. If you just let somebody push you around endlessly you're never going to get your way. Since the left was fine with dirty tactics, at some point you have to just do what you gotta do.

    As far as the civil war goes... It depends on if the left burns itself out, and how centrists take to it all. I think it could be very possible. I know TONS of people IRL who are basically down to start capping people if shit goes down. If the left really tries to pull a coup, which they're basically openly talking about, then putting that down violently is greatly preferable to letting them take over!

    Personally I think we should break the country up in a neat and orderly manner. We're never going to put it back together again at this point, so breaking off a chunk for lefties to move to is the best solution. They get to have their socialism, and the rest of the country can swing right/libertarian and get what they want too. Win win!

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    No. Socialists get nothing. They should have one last opportunity to renounce marxism. If they don't, then what happens next is too bad for them.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    The name is actually a play on the Doctor Who episode 'Last of the Time Lords'. I wouldn't expect you to know something like that, whoever you are.

    Also, Shitlord does NOT mean bigot. It can have several meanings, but bigot does not appear to be amongst them. You appear confused by this, and likely a large number of relatively simple things.

    Thats ok though, I'm here to help straighten you out and correct you. You certainly need a lot of that.

  • perlchpr||

    Thats ok though, I'm here to help straighten you out and correct you. You certainly need a lot of that.

    Yeah, but unless you've figured out a way to administer antipsychotics via TCP/IP, I think you're going to be unable to solve his problems.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    You make a good point.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "How do you do, fellow kids?"

    It's just too funny.

  • vek||

    I guess it's just the side of me that DOESN'T want to have to slaughter millions of people. Splitting things up is a peaceful solution where everybody gets what they want.

    There is another side of me that DOES want to watch proggies get killed, because those cocksuckers deserve it for ruining this country, and really the world.

    The thing about crushing them in a military style situation is that you're still stuck with them! They'll still be there with their shit lib views, whining about things inside their own heads, even if they're too scared to say it out loud. They'll still vote for small bad things when they have the option. Etc.

    If you split the country you are rid of the problem. There is quite a bit of evidence that political views are largely inheritable (probably related to personality trait genes), so by creating a country that is greatly lacking in that genetic stock, it is likely to stay conservative/libertarian leaning for some generations.

  • lulz farmer||

    The downside of course is that you'll have a hostile threat on your border.

  • vek||

    True. But the lefty portion of the country can and should be smaller geographically, and population wise. Also I'm pretty sure they'll end up with a weak ass military because they'll be spending all their money on welfare and other stuff that's arguably even stupider than military spending... Before they go broke anyway.

    I wouldn't worry about them too much. Just need to have a good border patrol and it'll all be fine!

  • buybuydandavis||

    If you don't want slaughter of millions, it's more than past time to get the Marxists out of power.

  • vek||

    Obviously I don't want them to take over the whole USA. So if they ever try that one, we obviously need to crush them swiftly and harshly.

    But if they were their own country... Frankly I don't mind THAT much if they want to slaughter people in their own new country, or other countries that exist now. If China started mass murdering people again, I wouldn't want the USA to get involved. That's their fucking problem for putting up with that horrible government for so long. Same as Venezuela. They made their bed, let them sleep in it. If the People's Republic Of America went that route, that'd be their problem. It would be yet another great example to point at for why you don't want to go that route for the youngin's.

  • Silverleaf||

    As it's very difficult to find principled people anymore, it stands to reason that most debates are not based upon logic. If they're not based upon logic, they're most likely based upon emotion, with the end result being a competitive temper tantrum, the subjects of which, for each side, are only obliquely related.

  • JFree||

    As it's very difficult to find principled people anymore, it stands to reason that most debates are not based upon logic.

    I think most people are principled people. But that has never been the initiator of any public discussion/debate. It is the recipient/object of it. And 'being principled' is only part of who we are - we are also overgrown lizards who can be driven by instincts, impulses, habits, emotion, fear, greed, etc.

    The initiators/creators of public discussion - well they aren't principled at all and never have been. They are sociopaths who have always been driven by the need to manipulate others for their own self-interest. And the more that public discussion can be driven by mass outreach - the more knowledge we have about how the human brain functions - the more technology can make that mass communication 'invisible' - and the more public discussion itself gets concentrated economically -- the more likely that 'public' discussion will be to stroke our lizard brain not our cerebrum.

  • JFree||

    I wish I knew what the solution was. I was around in the very early days of the Internet - before the advertising model became the dominant/exclusive means of driving its technology/development. Hated what it turned into and basically dropped out of web 2.0 and all the social media stuff (except old-fashioned comment boards like this). Maybe what Facebook/Twitter/etc have proven is - maybe we all have a bit more of the sociopath in us than we care to admit. Those manipulative mass communication platforms - developed by sociopaths - aren't worth anything without the free content contributed by everyday mini-sociopaths.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Logic for the logical, rhetoric for the rhetorical.

    The problem with the Right, and particularly Libertarians, has been the commitment to logic against those who respond more to rhetoric.

    As Al Davis used to say, Just Win Baby.

  • No Longer Amused||

    It all goes in cycles. We went from outright stuffiness from my grandfather's time to "go fuck yourself" in a relatively short time. People will get tired of it, given time, and revert back. None of us will likely be around to see it.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    What it really boils down to, is that people on the left and the right no longer view the other tribe as just having mild disagreements, but as being actual traitors hostile to the very Republic itself.

    I think it is foolish and dangerous. The differences that we have today are mild compared to many of the differences we had in the past. There is no pressing modern issue on the same level as slavery, for instance, in scope and in moral seriousness. Social media and the Internet generally heighten these differences and make them seem more severe than they really are. And partisan media outlets actively lie to their viewers by deliberately highlighting the worst offenders of the opposite tribe and falsely portraying them as representing the mainstream.

    The correct solution is just to step back a moment and look at one's own personal relationships, not over social media, but in meatspace. Do you mostly get along with people? Or do you have seething contempt for them? It's probably the former, even though you may not know if your coworkers or your neighbors are actually flaming liberals or Bible-thumping conservatives. Treat people as people, not according to their labels but as human beings, and that is when we will have some civility again.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    I'm willing to bet, that the same people here and elsewhere, who make bravado statements like "time to get this Civil War started! We just can't coexist with these liberals/conservatives anymore!", probably have people in their own personal lives that they would spare from the violence, even if they are from the 'wrong tribe', because they are "nice people" or just personal friends. The animosity isn't really against people, but against some media-created bogeyman that partisan media outlets put forth as the Emmanuel Goldstein that tribal members in good standing ought to rage against. For those on the left, it's Donald Trump. For those on the right, it's Obama/Hillary/George Soros/you name it. But I'm willing to bet that if your neighbor had the exact same politics as Trump or Obama, you probably wouldn't shoot your neighbor over it.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    You say that like Trump and Obama are equivalent. They are not. Obama represents slavery and oppression. Trump represents freedom and opportunity.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Yes yes. Trump is Superman, Obama is Lex Luthor. LOL

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    That doesn't make sense either. You should just shut up and quietly nod.

  • Moo Cow||

    What are you...12?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Why, are you looking for a date?

  • Thomas O.||

    And a leftist would flip those representations around.

    But do continue to prove chemjeff's point.

  • TeamsterX||

    Jon Faverau, former speechwriter for Obama has started this entire 'separating families' BS...when he posted pictures from 2014 of kids in cages...taken during Obama's Presidency!

    So the Left has doubled down by wanting to #abolishICE....

    Funniest thing is,,,it is the Border Patrol not ICE separating the poor children.

    Idiots do not even know what they are protesting, just get their marching orders.

  • Flinch||

    The installation of Debbie Wasserman Schulz at the dnc years back should have informed us that facts are right out, and the left has washed their hands at any attempt to use them as a starting point. Things have gotten worse in the aftermath, to the point where they may make the Flat Earth Society look like a conservative think tank. Facts are stubborn and inconvenient; narrative on the other hand stays malleable and will work as long as the lobbyists [hiding behind journalist credentials] running major media outlets will carry the water. It is narrative that allows them to pick any starting point they want, reality be damned.

  • JFree||

    Treat people as people, not according to their labels but as human beings, and that is when we will have some civility again.

    I agree but disagree as well. Until the modalities by which we can treat others as individuals and vice versa become as powerful as the modalities which we can see everything as mere objects/labels; then the latter will dominate the public sphere and the former will be required to retreat from it.

    It's not just about what we ourselves may choose to do. It is about the ways in which that choice can be made effective in the world

    Just to cite an example. Mr Rogers is a pretty good example of exactly how to BE civil and other basic ethics to preschoolers - and how to persuade adults too. But ultimately - he was still just a show on TV which is a highly 'massified' modality. So his influence becomes just a passing phase - pissing into the wind - for those who continue to watch TV as they get older and become adults.

  • CE||

    You're underestimating how seriously the progs view the threat of slightly warmer temperatures.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "The differences that we have today are mild compared to many of the differences we had in the past."

    No. The Left have turned Marxist and are openly hostile to the fundamentals of the British conceptions of Liberty on which the country was based.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    No.

    Yes!

    The Left have turned Marxist

    By "The Left", do you mean a few fringe radicals? Sure, yes, you can find some fringe leftie radicals who are actual Marxists.

    By "The Left", do you mean institutions like the Democratic Party? Then the answer is no.

    By associating everyone on "the Left" with its fringiest elements is not honest and contributing the problem of lack of civil discourse. Just say honestly what you object to, specifically, without using this absurd hyperbole.

    What you are doing is no different than when some say "the Right has turned fascist".

    and are openly hostile to the fundamentals of the British conceptions of Liberty on which the country was based.

    Here is a news flash: a lot of people are hostile to 18th-century conceptions of liberty and it's not limited to the political left either. Why does the political left elicit special scorn from you on this measure?

  • vek||

    "The differences that we have today are mild compared to many of the differences we had in the past."

    Yes and no... I would say most people are more at odds than we have been since... The last civil war we had!

    The different positions people had in the 50s or 70s or 90s were far closer together than now. The left doesn't just want a few billion more for welfare like back in the day, they want to completely destroy EVERYTHING this country was founded on. That is NOT okay. And it IS acceptable to kill people for wanting to do what they want to do.

    The right mostly just wants to make things the way they used to be when the country functioned a hell of a lot better. They don't even really want to roll back almost any of the social gains gays/browns/etc have made either, despite what the left says. They do want a more moral society in general though.

    Frankly mass unskilled immigration is as important for the future of the country as slavery was. It has the power to change the country far more than having or not having slavery did. Whether or not we abolish free speech, the 2nd amendment, economic freedom... ALL more important than slavery because they effect everybody, not just a small chunk of the population.

  • vek||

    And to answer your question, you won't have to kill your neighbor unless he takes up arms. If he's just a whiner who won't go that far, they can be left alone. And if any of mine did take up arms to support a totalitarian socialist government, I would shoot them, or at least round them up and throw them in a POW camp until the thing was over. I'd feel bad about it, just like people did during the last civil war... Or the Revolutionary War... But you gotta do what you gotta do to fix shit.

    Lots of communists, and Nazis, and other stripes of fascists, and royalists, etc were ALL nice people on a personal level... It didn't change the fact that they had to either STFU and support the right side, or be killed/captured to resolve major political issues. George Washington had the balls to kill people he probably liked as people for something more important... And thank god he did.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    they want to completely destroy EVERYTHING this country was founded on.

    This is cartoonish nonsense and you know it.

    This is just the mirror image of the "Republicans are Nazis!" screech that emanates from some liberals.

  • vek||

    You may think it's an exaggeration but what was the country founded on? What was the POINT of it all? How were we trying to be different? I would say these are the big ones: Limited government in all ways. Absolute freedom of speech. The RIGHT, not privilege, of self defense via the 2A. And then a whole laundry list of specific things the government couldn't do, and things that were to be ensured, like protection from unreasonable searches and seizures etc.

    What does the left want? Bigger government, like orders of magnitude bigger. They see NO limit to the size or scope as long as it's some program some genius politician thinks is a good idea. The left no longer supports free speech, they want hate crime laws, and even to deny plain vanilla conservatives the ability to say things that don't jive with the leftists party line. They sure as hell don't support the 2A, hence don't believe people have a right to self defense. And then they're all for forcing individuals to behave the way THEY want in 1,000 little ways. Now conservatives have their busy body issues too, but a hell of a lot fewer. They don't want to force you to use a certain kind of light bulb, require a certain type of toilet in your house, ban straws, etc.

  • vek||

    So yeah, the left is fundamentally against ALL the major things that made America different from other hell holes in Europe.

    Not EVERYBODY on the left wants to go to extremes, but enough of them do where I sure as hell don't feel comfortable having any of them in power. I don't think we'd become the USSR if the Dems ran the country for the next 20 years straight... But we might end up England or Germany, which would be a horrendous, vile, awful thing. They're slaves to the state, we're still kinda-sorta free. I can't be locked up in prison for ANYTHING I say on this board... Not so in the UK. People are in PRISON for Facebook posts there. FUCK THAT.

    In America in 1850 you could buy a piece of land, build any damn thing you felt like on it with no permission slip, shooting your gun at targets on it, while smoking opium, yelling any damn horrible thing that came to mind... Because we were free. People might think you were a crazy idiot, but that was real freedom, including the freedom to be an idiot. THAT is what the founders were all about.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    The fundamental problem here, and I'm far from the first to notice, is that our innate mechanisms for moderating behavior and avoiding conflict are premised on face to face contact. Some of the population are sufficiently socialized that they're reflexively polite even without it, but a large part of the population loose all inhibitions if there isn't a face in front of them.

    And we spend so much of our time now communicating without those facial and voice cues to keep us civil, that it's eroding the habits of civility.

    Combine that with people living in echo chambers where they're never exposed to real world advocates of different views, and they grow to think there ARE no arguments for opposing views. Over and over I run into people who think their own idea of what's best is just obvious, and other people only pretend to disagree because they don't want what's best, they actively want to hurt others, are evil.

    That's why the left thinks, genuinely thinks, that everyone else are NAZIs: Because only evil could make you disagree with them.

    And I don't know how to rescue them from that place.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    But you are just contributing to the problem here.

    First, there is no singular "Left" just like there is no singular "Right". When you start lumping them all together into one scary bogeyman with these caricatured beliefs, then you are making it harder for dialogue to occur, not easier.

    Second, this tendency for many people to believe that their views are the only correct views is not limited just to "the left" or "the right", it's a very human tendency. Just look at the comments in this thread. Many hold the presumption that the reason why "the Left wins" is because Republicans haven't been mean enough in opposing them. This carries with it the implicit assumption that "the Left wins" by playing dirty pool, instead of, you know, having the better ideas on certain topics, as measured by democratic elections. It's equivalent to saying I'm right and they only win due to subterfuge.

  • vek||

    The left wins elections by promising FREE SHIT. Free shit is always popular. The founders had some good quotes about democracies collapsing when people realize they could vote themselves largess from other peoples pockets. That's where we're at now...

    And the left does fight dirty. Which is fine. I've never been one against a little subterfuge really. And the Rs have been idiots for not calling them on it more a LONG time ago. Trump was practically the first one ever to call them on it, and it has served him well since millions of individuals already could see how slanted the media etc was against any conservative/libertarian ideas.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Exactly when did the mythical golden age of civility actually exist?

    Was it back when Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel?

    Was it in the immediate pre-civil war era when members of Congress were physically beating each other up?

    Go back and read some of the things that Thomas Jefferson and John Adams called each other.

    The current age is no different than prior ages.

  • marshaul||

    I think it's cyclical, probably essentially sinusoidal. I think the amplitude (maximum deviation from the mean) isn't especially high, but it's enough that every few decades someone can look back, "member when..." or "in my day..."

    That being said, politics is a curse and a plague upon the minds and souls of people. This is why I suspect that some form of voluntaryism is the only path to further improvement when it comes to the political sphere. The existence of a ruling class, however construed, reifies tribal instincts in a world where they would otherwise have about as much utility as the instinct to overeat in a world of caloric superabundance.

  • creech||

    "What seemed outrageous yesterday, is accepted today. "
    So there is a chance that libertarianism is the wave of the future?

  • NoVaNick||

    No, because non-aggression principle. Only political parties that seek to destroy their opponents will be tolerated in the future

  • lulz farmer||

    The NAP supposed to be is a guideline of where and how force get used. Not that it doesn't get used. Well, it's not like the weed-smoking idiots who write and comment here know much about that.

  • lulz farmer||

    Seeing as the only demographic who buys into libertarianism--which is essentially Astrology for men--are whites and specifically white men and they are disappearing as a result of open borders lunacy, then the answer is probably no.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Historically our politicians would write anonymous op eds about their opponents and then challenge them to a duel.

    So I am not sure what standard of civility we are discussing.

  • CE||

    Even our wars were civil back then.

  • NoVaNick||

    Here are some examples of prog civility I have seen in my neighborhood or heard of:

    1. In 2008-a woman had her dog pee on someone's McCain yard sign.
    2. 2017-someone smeared shit (couldn't tell if it was human or canine) all over a yard sign for a GOP candidate for governor.
    3. Sticker on a car that read "Fuck Trump, and Fuck those who voted for him:"
    4. Woman who ripped out multiple Trump yard signs in Maine (I think she got busted and had to do community service)

    Yes, progs are a very civilized bunch.

  • Brian||

    Says the crazy old man who can't stop screaming about how everyone else ruined libertarianism for him.

  • Mock-star||

    91%

  • JWatts||

    I think we can all agree that the height of incivility is maintaining an enemies list.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    And since this isn't even Hihn, or Hihn's website, he's maintaining an enemies list for someone else.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Left - Right = Zero"

    Bwahahahaha!

    I keep waiting for the hashtag to catch fire, but it never does!

  • Rock Lobster||

    Left - Right = Hihn

    THE LAST OF THE TRUE LIBERTARIANS!!!

    Take that, you nefarious right wing Goobers!

  • Moo Cow||

    Gosh. Thats horrible. I feel so sorry for you hun.

  • Dadlobby||

    It is the left, liberal progressive socialists, who drive uncivil actions. Especially gynocentric sexists pushing the "oppressed female victim of patriarchy" and the all men are evil "toxically masculine" and potential rapist and abusers of women and children. This fueling a sense of entitlement to "free" everything and zero responsibility. How long do men have to take the insults, and outright oppressive treatment by government intent at "equality" at their expense before they set aside chivalry and say, "Fuck me? No fuck YOU!" As the expression goes, be careful what you ask for, you might get it.

  • Deplorable Victor||

    It's a virtue to hate liberal cunts - in other words, all of them.

  • Trollificus||

    That's anger, not hate. Justified, unjustified? Guess we can suss that out on our own.

    Your seeing it as hate, though, is most likely an example of projection.

  • NoVaNick||

    gynocentric sexists

    These tend to fall into two categories: (1) The bitter ugly ones who will never find someone to marry/date. (2) The ones who marry/date complete wusses

  • Ron||

    Considering in the past there were knife fights on the senate floor and even a few duals and news papers making even bigger lies about politicians than what we see today. I think the civility was only a temporary ploy used by the democrats to keep republicans from responding to the democrat hatred. And it worked for about 50 years thankfully Trump saw the people were tired of republicans being beat on like a rented mule without so much as a whinny. The GOP are cowards and Trump is the answer

  • Deplorable Victor||

    Yes.

  • Trollificus||

    Trump saw Bush and all other "inside the Beltway" professional Republican politicians being hated viciously and must have thought "Why be a pussy? They're gonna hate me as much as they can no matter what I do, so I not only won't be civil, I'm gonna poke 'em. Maybe we'll find out if a person can actually die from smug moral indignation. No downside to that experiment."

  • Eddy||

    I think that we should take things gradually. We're not going to get civility right away, motherfucker. In fact, we've never had it (see posts above about Burr/Hamilton, etc.)

    But we can go out of our way to promote, and watch, debates held under civil conditions - i. e., each honestly stating its views and the rational arguments which can be made for those view, and responding to the other side's arguments without straw-manning.

    Then they can go outside and call each other names.

  • Eddy||

    PS - I don't have a lot of hopes for the new Firing line with its "conservative" abortion-loving hostess.

  • Deplorable Victor||

    You shouldn't be against baby murder. The people who murder their babies shouldn't have any.

  • Trollificus||

    Considering advances in abortion rights were initiated as a way to have fewer "poor people" (by which they meant, "people congenitally incapable of being successful" (by which they meant "colored people"*.)), it's hard to find a moral justification for it, so the practical consideration you mention has to be taken into account.

    *-And the fuckin' Irish, I think. It's hard to keep track of who discriminated against who, when. (though a good general guideline is "everybody, against everybody else, all the time".)

  • vek||

    Well, the funny thing is that it is highly likely that mass abortion has in fact lowered crime rates and welfare use. IQ is inheritable in individuals, this is not disputed at all, even by proggie scientists. Low IQ people commit more crimes, and make less money etc. Mostly low income blow it cases get abortions statistically speaking... So it stands to reason there have been a lot fewer welfare babies, and future criminals that have been aborted, versus people destined to be great successes.

  • Eddy||

    I would think each side ought logically to be confident enough in its cause that it's willing to use traditional rhetorical and debating techniques to win over the uncommitted.

    Any side which has a supply of intelligent, articulate speakers ought to be able to play this game.

  • dpbisme||

    I have not notice in the last thirty years the "righties" rioting, creating false narratives like White Privilege, trying to control our lives from Washington DC with economy hobbling laws like Dodd-Frank and Obamacare, trying to change things faster than the majority of the people want. Who can forget the LEFTS apology Tour of the Middle East which pretended that Nation States do not do things in their own interest? The removal of Historical Statues because they conflict with THIS WEEKS morality... Ya the silly Leftists that compare the US to places like Norway and France... They are ignorant and confused. They pay no attention to their failing and murderous cities and States caused by their policies.... YA, it is the Republicans fault that Detroit, New Orleans, Baltimore, and St. Louis are on the list of 50 Most dangerous cities in the world...… Ya, that makes sense.... NOTE that did not include Chicago, Cleveland, Hartford, Trenton, Flint, Compton, or Philadelphia…. All Murderous cities controlled by the Democrats....

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Still true: Left - Right = Further Left

    FTFY

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Trump invented Marxist thuggery"

    "For most of the 50+ years I've read Reason, it would (properly) hold both sides to a higher standard"

    Cucks, then?

    "then they sold out to the very worst faction on the right"

    The Cheap Labor Uber Alles crowd.

  • RoninX||

    I agree that the right is as much to blame as the left for the current political dumpster fire, but it's just as ridiculous to say that Reason has "sold out to the right" as it is for all of the Trump-supporters in the comment section to say that Reason has "sold out to the SJWs".

    Then again, I've only been reading Reason for about 30 years...

  • dpbisme||

    Since we have only been going down... Violence is what is coming next. When (not if) the Left will try to again shove their horrible ideas down the throats of the people.

    They will try to enact a single payer healthcare system, pass laws limiting people firearms rights, target businesses they do not like, and continue to think they are morally superior and that they are "the people they have been waiting for".

    These LEFTISTS already riot but what happens when the Conservatives do? Same as when Obama emboldened the Black Live Matter, the fringe and the crazies will come out and they will ONE UP the LEFTISTS with much more violence. They have the Firearms after all...

  • Deplorable Victor||

    Yes. Pussyhats vs rifles.

  • buybuydandavis||

    It's the lack of pushback and law enforcement that kept the Left ever expanding their attacks and violence.

    And why not? Why stop if you're never made to *pay a price* for your aggression?

    Any place, anywhere where the Right holds its ground, the Right wins.

    The price of Liberty is not eternal vigilance
    The price of Liberty is *fighting back*

  • Deplorable Victor||

    No, we don't want civil dems. We want rioting dems, because rioting will get them shot - and the more the better.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    We would be better off if they were all dead.

  • John B. Egan||

    I think what the author is missing is that the 'Left' have traditionally been the 'turn the other cheek' crowd... But faced with a major onslaught by the Alt-Right have decided that when you do that, all that happens is you get slapped on the other cheek as well.... I've voted GOP most of my life, and voted Libertarian in Bush Jr's 2nd term.. Then voted Democrat after that. I'm not the least bit interested in being the bitch in this situation. The only alternative is to get in the sty with the pigs and duke it out. Sorry. That is the way it has become.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Seriously, just what is this Alt-Right onslaught you've witnessed?

    I entirely missed it.

    The Right has been cucking for decades, and can barely summon the will to defend itself when directly attacked.

    Most of the Right soiled it's pants when Laura Loomer interrupted a play for 30 seconds in Manhattan. That's as far as the Right has gone in actually taking the fight to the Left.

    Or perhaps it was the theft of the HWNDU flag that is the "onslaught"?

    Meanwhile, the Left sends masked thugs, dressed in black, to play stormtroopers against political rallies of the Right. The Left uses the resources of the Deep State to attack the Right. The Left engages in group spoils and out group attack anywhere they have institutional power.

  • otto von doom||

    I'm still a young'un, so forgive me if I'm not reaching back super far, but as far as big movements go:

    Bush Jr: Democrats protest results of election, then back war, then protest war for the remainder of the terms
    Obama: Tea Party Protests, OWS riots, BLM riots
    Trump: Democrats protest results of election, Antifa riots

    I've not lived long enough to ever see the left 'turn the other cheek'. In fact, it seems like they live to either riot or protest about something at all times.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    I think what the author is missing is that the 'Left' have traditionally been the 'turn the other cheek' crowd

    This is as hilariously wrong as your gun control and Net Neutrality talking points.

  • Cumbubbulus||

    What I really wanna know is . . . when do we start killing each other? I mean, I want this civil war to actually begin already. Come on guys and gals (and trans, pans, glans, etc) . . . time to stop the heated rhetorics and start the skull crushing!

  • Robes Pierre||

    This would be an excellent opportunity for Reason to contemplate their own role in this phenomena. Every article is accompanied by an excruciating commentary filled with right-wing, big-government vitriol that would make Brietbart proud.

    How did that happen? Not by happenstance.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    If you think Reason is 'right wing' then you are so flawed that only suicide can be the answer for you.

  • jomo||

    The biggest wussies are the ones saying they "want" Civil War. These are the same who support having 8 armored cops shoot an unarmed black boy because they feel "threatened." These are the same type of wussies who back in the day needed a gun because they knew they could never last in a fistfight with their slaves one on one.

    If you really do have all the guns, and all it takes to get you to think about using them is feeling" threatened" by anti-rape groups, feeling threatened by the fact that women are allowed to speak and hold positions of power "(notice how important it is to keep Liz Warren down, as she embodies the "loss of power" you cuck wussy "cold dead hands" crowd thrives on), and losing your entitled status that you were born into and never had to have challenged before, never had to work to maintain, then you are the wussies.

    You can't win in a real debate, you can't win in a straight up fist fight, and you can't win by just being a member of the chosen class anymore, so you resort to threats and stockpile more guns. And deep down, knowing that you're a wussy causes you to defensively strut like a peacock and show your plumage (guns).

    BTW I am fully in support of the 2nd A. But it's the jingoistic attitude I am not in support of. You all claim you are defenders of the 2nd A but I bet if there was a sudden rise in LEGAL applications for CCW permits amongst inner city black Americans, y'all would be first in line to say we suddenly need gun control laws.

  • kaspen||

    And the people you are talking about have not served in the military or done one GD thing to make the USA a better place other than posting on Brietbart 12k times.

  • buybuydandavis||

    You can't win in a real debate
    You can't win in a straight up fist fight
    You can't win by just being a member of the chosen class

    It's the Left that refuses to engage in debate
    It's the Left that organizes as masked thugs to swarm, surround, and attack individuals on the Right
    It's the Left that institutes governmental and institutional privilege based on identity group

  • jomo||

    Further proof that you're probably a wussy.

    There might be 200-400 people in this entire country that are actually seriously part of "Antifa" but just like how you and other Fox drones probably believe that behind every bush there is a Muslim waiting to convert you to Sharia, you believe that Antifa and the "Deep State" are just everywhere waiting to attack you.

    So let me get this straight: when actual Nazis march in the streets, many carrying weapons, and all advocating genocide of non-whites and Jews, you're okay with that and argue it should be "protected" but when others say "hmm I'm not really down with genocide of non-whites and Jews" and prepare to fight the Nazis with their own tactics (aka mobilization and being armed just in case) you lose your shit over it.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    How does it feel knowing that you and your class are considered little more than semi-feral attack dogs by your white Democratic betters?

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Dude;s a fake Black Nationalist. You really think if jomomma was real he'd use Dizzy Lizzie as a talking point, a pasty white bourgeoisie. It's the hole in a pretty decent troll job.

  • jomo||

    No. I am neither fake, nor black, nor black nationalist. I'm this thing that I thought Reason was supposed to be about but clearly isn't: a person who decides how he feels on each issue based on the actual issue, not because of what "team" I think I'm supposed to be on. This confuses you because you can't pin me completely down to either "side" of your binary thinking so you lash out and try desperately to place me into a grouping that makes sense in your tribalized mind.

    I've been reading this site for many years but didn't start posting until recently. I've read countless comments by many of the major "players" on these comment boards and tried to sort out who the trolls are myself. One thing I've learned is that anyone who can't be easily stuffed into a group label ends up being just called a "troll" for basically refusing to follow the rules of being either Team Red or Team Blue, which is the sad irony of this website. Over the past five years it's steadily devolved into pretty much another Breitbart but more geared toward the type of "conservatives" who want to be all "conservative" during the day but be able to get fucked up and maybe bang a hooker at night. I've also learned that for many on this site, "individual freedom" is little else other than a cover for "I want to be free to make money or otherwise enrich my power off of other people's suffering."

  • vek||

    LOL

    Since others already hit you on other things, I will merely point out one other stupid bit.

    You say white men are complaining about losing power we don't deserve or whatever... That's bullshit. What white men are pissed about is the fact that the entire apparatus of government has been weaponized against us, to take EARNED power away from us, and give it to people who aren't as good. I have no problem with a black guy getting into Harvard... I have a problem with the fact that they require LOWER TEST SCORES for black people, Hispanics, women, etc than they do for white and Asian men to get into the same university.

    The same thing goes on in the big business world, where companies feel that they have to have diversity hires, even if they don't have as good a resume, just to "look good." If women/minorities are sooo fucking capable of actually competing against white men, how about we allow a real level playing field and see how they do. Cheating doesn't make somebody equal... Asian men don't seem to have a problem competing, and often besting us. Aren't blacks and women up to snuff for a fair competition???

    The fact is if all this BS wasn't going on, white men and Asian men would still be highly dominant at the top of most fields... We STILL ARE even with all the intentional slanting things against us. So STFU.

  • jomo||

    Your "logic" reminds me specifically of the poor white folk I used to see on the bus who would spend most of the ride complaining about minorities and Muslims "taking their jobs" right before they got off the bus at the stop where they would go to collect their welfare checks.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Troll score=C-, you lose a grade for the Fauxcahontas schtick.

  • CE||

    Democracy only works if everyone agrees to respect the outcome, even when they don't like it. You're supposed to live with the results, and organize your opposition for the next election if you want to make changes. Otherwise it just devolves into mob rule. That's what's next.

  • Robert Arvanitis||

    You mention "limbo" in the context of going low.
    The correct metaphor is Gresham's Law - elections corollary. As with debased specie, the bad politicos drive out the good (or "less-bad").
    Natural selection has worked more vigorously on the Democrats than the Republicans. Because the Democrats have marched through the institutions, they now get cover from media, academia and Hollywood. The Democrats are more virulent than the Republicans and have the advantage in elections. At least until recently.
    The left suppressed the Tea Party, with the active efforts of the rogue "Deep State." When you suppress the decent Tea Party, you get Trump, The Democrats finally got so vicious that the people chose Trump to slap the cheaters down. Now the only issue is to keep playing red until the Democrats and their RINO enablers stop cheating.

  • Robert Arvanitis||

    You mention "limbo" in the context of going low. The correct metaphor is Gresham's Law - elections corollary. As with debased specie, the bad politicos drive out the good (or "less-bad").
    The left suppressed the Tea Party, with the active efforts of the rogue "Deep State." When you suppress the decent Tea Party, you get Trump, The Democrats finally got so vicious that the people chose Trump to slap the cheaters down. Now the only issue is to keep playing red until the Democrats and their RINO enablers stop cheating.

  • Robert Arvanitis||

    The left suppressed the Tea Party, with the active efforts of the rogue "Deep State." When you suppress the decent Tea Party, you get Trump, The Democrats finally got so vicious that the people chose Trump to slap the cheaters down. Now, as in "Tit-for-Tat," the only issue is to keep playing red until the Democrats and their RINO enablers stop cheating.

  • ||

    It's like this pearl-clutching, white-paper issuing, Country Club author never read Alinsky's Rules For Radicals.

    #4. Always make the enemy live up to its own rules {and unilateral codes of civility}, while never hamstringing yourself with that same handicap.

    Thankfully, a younger, smarter generation of conservatives and conservatarians has figured out that what's needed isn't moral-signaling. It's winning. For 40 years, we've been marched inexorably to this ungodly Axis of Socialism meets International Corporatist Serfdom. i.e Globalism. A crony capitalist hell-child of dead Free Market parents. We will not go quietly into the night. Like "civilized" serfs.

    We will fight them on both fronts. And return the West to a fair & free-market bastion of individual freedom and self-directed economic destiny.

  • buybuydandavis||

    I like the cut of your jib

  • Rock Cowles||

    The Golden Rule is Common Sense and Common Courtesy unfortunately neither is common anymore.

  • Severely Ltd||

    Good policy versus bad manners or the reverse? Is this a serious question?

  • Severely Ltd||

    I should've said 'Good policy and bad manners versus the reverse'. But you got the idea,I hope.

  • damikesc||

    And conservative backers of Trump routinely chide "Never Trumpers" for trying to hold the president up to traditional standards of decency.

    I chastise guys like Will and Boot for insisting we vote for a party that has done literally nothing to earn that vote (Democrats have done what, precisely, to reach out to Republicans? Trump, for all of his faults, has significantly cut black and Hispanic unemployment), have gone further to oppose policies they proclaim to support...all because Trump is rude.

  • Flinch||

    It's been many decades since I went to high school, and even then something of note existed: we don't value debate, really. That's not necessarily true for college [so I will not address that], but love of learning has to start much earlier. My high school did have a debate team - they were shoved off in a corner somewhere and absolutely no one outside of that team knew what they did or when they did it. Band members by contrast seemed almost famous despite their own clique happenings. The football team [in predictable fashion] was always known and celebrated at official gatherings. Adults setup that environment.
    Modern conflict resolution is a pale substitute for debate, as its all about feelings and disarming people. Nobody really gets to "win" and receive accolades. I could ramble more, but the short version is we are failing our children: they need to face genuine disagreement and stand against it [even if its just for a few short minutes] if they can actually internalize anything about civility. Todays HS diploma is nearly worthless and we owe kids an overhaul of government/union centered education that used to be public.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    The thing is, Civility has been a now way street; everybody is supposed to be civil to the Left. Or, rather, Civility is one of those scary multi-lane roads that suddenly become one-way during rush hour. They were popular with Urban Planners of the mid-20th century, and I have had one or two REALLY unpleasant experiences on them.

    The Left really didn't have much in the way of arguments they could field against Bush, so they called him Hitler (which was simply ridiculous) and accused his of having the Towers wired for demolition (which was bizarre).

    Now they are up against Trump. He knows goddamned well that any civility they offer him is subject to reversal the minute they think they have him in a bad spot, so he doesn't bother to be civil to them.

    Boo Hoo.

    If they try to escalate to violence outside of their own territory, I think their hobby-protesters are likely to come home with their protest signs rammed up their backsides. An awful lot of people seem to be awfully sick of their antics.

    I guess we'll see in November.

  • damikesc||

    I'm not gung-ho for "civility" because I remember 2012, when the exceptionally nice and decent Romney was dragged thru the mud. I didn't see calls for civility there. If they will basically portray a comment about trying to find competent women for jobs as sexist, then there is no reasoning with them and trying to find a "nice" conservative that "people will vote for" is a fool's errand.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    The Political Left had it their own way for a while and forgot what it's like to have real opposition. They aren't adapting well.

  • Mark22||

    "Good people—people of character and moral literacy—can be conservative, and good people can be liberal. We must not permit our disputes over thorny political questions to obscure the obligation we have to offer instruction to all our young people in the area in which we have, as a society, reached a consensus: namely, on the importance of good character, and some of its pervasive particulars."

    Translation:

    Just because we add a trillion dollars to the national debt every year, bomb civilians around the globe, are racists and sexists, abscond with billions of dollars, cheat on our wives, and will do anything to stay in power doesn't mean we don't have 'good moral character'. After all, these are all "thorny issues". Show some respect to Your Betters!

    In the spirit of your article: f*ck you, Steve. Some people just don't deserve civility.

  • SimonP||

    Debates devolve into fights over "civility" and "tone policing" when the participants no longer have the knowledge or intelligence to debate on the substance. That's all that it is.

    Take it from someone who has been in the trenches for many years with the SJWs. What do you think SJW trolling is all about? It's about deflecting from any kind of substantive discussion into fights about discussing, invoking and inventing rules that have no basis in any logical or rhetorical principle. This left/right who-started-it bunk I'm seeing up and down the thread is just the same kind of thing. SJWs call those who disagree with them, "racist," "sexist," "homophobic," "transphobic," etc. The Reason version of the same phenomenon use epithets like "Marxist," "communist," "progtards," and the like.

    So I don't think crying about civility is helpful or productive. If you want civility, the way to achieve it is to return the debate not to matters of who's being more civil, but who's discussing the substance. Who's using facts? Who's using proper reasoning? Ignore everything else.

  • Naturalization Act 1790||

    It's not that civility is out of style - it's that leftism must be MADE to become out of style, by any means necessary.


    .
    "Hold Back This Day" - a novel every rational American should read

  • hive of scum||

    So Steven Greenhut's poster boy for civility is William Bennett, "drug czar" under Bush the First. One of the "virtues" in Bennett's Book of Virtues is, apparently, sending people to prison for getting high in ways the government disapproves of.

  • Widhalm19||

    What will politics look like now? Like the foul-mouthed Leftists found in every major city .... vulgar, un-educated, driven by emotion, violence for violence sake.

  • Harold||

    Our heading has not changed for the past 50 years. We are heading to the dissolution of the USA as a viable nation.

    If we had quickly applied the "Brewster Solution" as I have been suggesting for about 10 years, we might have had a chance.

    BTW the "Brewster Solution" involves a large almost unpopulated county in west Texas, the top 10000, [BY INCOME] CEO's, CFO's, Bankers, including FED Board members, top 10000 [BY INCOME] Laywers, Judges, "law-makers" and a goodly mix of the top 10,000 "Un-Educators," "Entertainers" and Media "Personalities" thrown in with a "length" of concertina wire and NUMEROUS cinder blocks. For their "safety" of course I'd give them 1000 shovels [to look for water of course} and 1000 baseball bats, for "hunting."

    Yes, civility is dead! When 60 million plus, ignorati, vote twice [TWICE] for the most evil, unqualified man to ever be POTUS, there is no hope for the U.S.A.

    An old friend of 50 years has said for st lease 8 years that the USA has gone below Abraham's: "What if there are only 10?" We know what happened after that question!

  • XM||

    Something like the Rand Paul incident isn't "incivility". That's just straight up criminal. Sue them, and let their family deal with the disgrace and fallout from their mom or dad acting out in a single moment of stupidity.

    If a restaurant kicked me out of a restaurant because I'm "right wing" I would sue them. I'm not white, so my chances at court improve dramatically. 500 thousand settlement and an apology and maybe I leave you and your sorry SJW ass alone. If libs want broader freedom of association, they're more than welcome to join the libertarians.

    This age of smart phones. If you yell at me any place while I mind my own business (because Trump or whatever) your ass is MINE. "But I was only peacefully confronting you" yeah that won't work in a court of law.

  • DerDuck||

    Just reading these posts pretty much confirms that Civility Is Out of Style.

    Wouldn't it be great to read rational appeals over emotional tantrums salted with "naughty words." Sure miss the adults.

  • Michael Cook||

    I am so damn old I actually studied rhetoric and formal debate. There was more to it than just being civil and pretending to listen seriously without interrupting when the opposition was speaking.

    We actually had to be prepared to stand up and argue the opposition's case for them. Argue to win, as well. No straw men, no dwelling on their weakest talking points and mysteriously forgetting all of their strongest evidence and talking points.

    Nope, we actually had to be able to argue not only both sides with equal talent and vigor, we had to be able to create a third or fourth side as well and argue those lines of thought to their conclusions. All that is what it takes to be not only intellectually honest, but to convince others that you are not a silver-tongued snake. If you could manage all that, maybe even manage to show a flash of humor and some humanity, you just might make the debate team.

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