Is 'Civility' Possible, Let Alone Desirable, in Trump's America?: Podcast

Reason editors grapple with disassociation etiquette, family separation, third-party legal doctrine, health association plans, and the existential despair of Fozzie Bear


Ben Garrison

Will the Red Hen episode lead to a "Red Wedding"-style breakdown of the American political family? It's been an unavoidable conversation these last 52 hours in American politics, so it kicks off this week's editor-roundtable version of the Reason Podcast, featuring Katherine Mangu-Ward, Peter Suderman, Nick Gillespie, and Matt Welch.

Aside from the legality, political efficacy, and etiquette of public-official-shaming, the editors share what they learned during the family-separation imbroglio, celebrate last week's Fourth Amendment victory at the Supreme Court, break down the advent of health association plans, and manage not to spoil the season finale of Westworld.

Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes. Listen at SoundCloud below:

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

Relevant links from the show:

"Everyone Has an Opinion About Whether Restaurants Should Serve Trump Staffers," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"A Libertarian Defense of the Red Hen's Right to Refuse Sarah Huckabee Sanders," by Robby Soave

"10 Things Libertarians Need to Know About Trump and Pence, Hamilton, and Political Correctness," by Robby Soave

"Beginning of the End of Trump's Zero Border (In)Tolerance?," by Shikha Dalmia

"Trump Signs Executive Order Reversing Family Separation Policy," by Christian Britschgi

"Huge Win for Everyone With a Cellphone (and for the Fourth Amendment) at the Supreme Court," by Damon Root

"First Thoughts on Carpenter v. United States," by Orin Kerr

"Neil Gorsuch Joins Sonia Sotomayor in Questioning the Third-Party Doctrine," by Jacob Sullum

"Database Nation," by Declan McCullagh

"Rand Paul–Endorsed 'Association Health Plans' Go Into Effect," by Brian Doherty

Muppet existentialism

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92 responses to “Is 'Civility' Possible, Let Alone Desirable, in Trump's America?: Podcast

  1. No

    1. I just got paid $6784 working off my laptop this month. And if you think that’s cool, my divorced friend has twin toddlers and made over $9k her first month. It feels so good making so much money RE when other people have to work for so much less. This is what I do?

      1. I disrespectfully agree.

        1. Pistols at dawn!

          1. What, are you nuts?

            Dawn is way too early.

            Pistols at 0-beer-thirty.

  2. You sometimes transcribe interviews, why not a transcript of your podcast?

    1. Epic +1 on that.

  3. There sure is a lot happening in that cartoon.

    1. The problem with political cartoons is that they have to explain EVERYTHING to get the joke across. And if you have to explain it, it’s not funny.

    2. Is this your first taste of Ben Garrison?

      1. No, and i am aware that, for Garrison, this is almost shockingly minimalist.

      2. Ben Garrison is a national treasure.

        1. This cartoon must be unbearably arousing for you.

          1. Citizen X is an H&R treasure.

    3. A lot of political correctness involved as well. I notice that the cartoon is transgender-ish, with the creature both laying an egg and possessing comb and wattles.

  4. At least it’s not yet another immigration post.

    1. What do you think they were protesting?

  5. Well, start with the inconvenient truth that it is not Trump’s America.
    Add in the source of the incivility is the left wing socialists.

    Draw your own conclusion as to who is the Nazi here.
    (hints: The Nazis were the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. The Nazis used mob violence to accomplish their political aims, and to suppress the political opposition.)

    1. Yeah, that’s the frustrating bit of “narrative framing” that keeps going on. This is not a big change for the left. And it isn’t directly in response to Trump.

      What has changed is that with Trump at the helm, Republicans now have someone who isn’t cowed by accusations of racism, sexism, classism or any other -ism you can think of. He’s seemingly immune to any criticism at all. In fact, his ego is so big that he refuses to acknowledge even the most basic and obvious of errors or contradictions.

      So they let fly with their usual bag of name-calling and intimidation tactics and Trump’s response is “Oh yeah? Well, you are fat, stupid and lazy!” They just cannot handle that irrational response to their irrational tactics. It sends them over the edge, because they’ve been using this tactic to win arguments for 40 years.

      But the fact remains, this isn’t a “Trump destroyed civility” situation. Nor is this a “both sides do it” situation. This is very clearly a case of Team R finally having one person who refuses to concede defeat in their game of PC gotcha.

        1. The same reason they think you have AIDS

      1. “This is not a big change for the left. And it isn’t directly in response to Trump.”

        Exactly. Trump is the proximate cause but not the general cause. All we need do is think back to election night and the weeks immediately following, up to and past the inauguration. The Left, old and new, had already whipped themselves into a frenzy. What we have now is a convenient excuse to take it nuclear; Trump simply being Trump and providing them with some fissile material. But the Left had already built the silos, launch vehicles and targeting systems long before Trump was a player. For them it’s a decades-long effort.

      2. Yeah, it’s like we are not supposed to remember how they all treated the Tea party types.

        Or notice how leftists are afforded every protection of libertarianism – even the things they explicitly reject. While anyone not on the left is held to a much higher standard.

      1. Awwwwww did “fuck your feelings” get you a wittle bit triggered there snowflake? The fact that you think that’s offensive or that it’s comparable to blacklisting SWATing race riots and campus assaults makes you look even dumber than usual.

      1. Yeah, “Trump is rude” doesn’t really address the argument in any substantive way.

        I don’t think Trump would even realize he was being uncivil. That seems to be what drives a lot of his behavior… just not even acknowledging that such a thing exists for him.

        But pretending that his social disorders are the root of the problem is even more narcissistic and delusional than Trump being unable to discern the civility of his own actions.

        1. Calling a racist a racist isn’t being uncivil. Being a racist is.

          Do you think Nixon was civil to the left? Or did they start it there?

          If you trace back, there has been levels of incivility dating back to before the founding of the country. I read a bunch of “Hamilton” (Damn, that’s a long book!). Things were much worse then, and Hamilton was a master.

          There is no “Started it”.

          1. No there is no “they started it”. Politics have always been nasty. But that means that the left’s and frequently Reason’s claim that Trump is somehow uniquely uncivil are absurd.

            1. Trump has brought the level of name calling and pettiness to a level that may never have been reached before, including when Preston Brooks went after Charles Sumner with a cane.

              1. Trump has brought the level of name calling and pettiness to a level that may never have been reached before,

                That statement shows a complete lack of knowledge of history. It is just an epic amount of willful ignorance. They called Bush and ape and Hitler. That was just over ten years ago.

                1. Who is “They”?

                2. They started calling Republicans “Hitler” with Wendell Wilkie. They’d have started sooner, but people would have been all, “Who’s Hitler?”

                  1. You still haven’t answered who “They” are.

                    Wilkie ran in 1940 as a Republican.

              2. Trump has brought the level of name calling and pettiness to a level that may never have been reached before

                Check out this historically ignorant dipshit here.

                1. Someone has never heard of Aaron fucking Burr, the former Vice President, who shot a man for issues related to name calling and pettiness. After that, he decided he’d had enough of this shit and tried to found his own country with himself as the head of government.

          2. “Calling a racist a racist isn’t being uncivil”

            You clearly don’t understand what “uncivil” means.

            1. I find racism uncivil.

              1. You don’t understand what “racism” means either. It would be a lot shorter to make a list of words that you do understand. Also go back to your other account. The sockpuppeting makes you look just a tiny bit more sad and pathetic than you actually are.

        2. Democrats have been accused of being against America for not supporting the war machine. Or, more precisely, not supporting the war machine enough. Was that nice and civil?

          Max Cleland, who lost his legs in Vietnam, was smeared as anti-American by a draft dodger.

          1. That is because Cleland sold out to the public employees unions and had he had his way DHS would have been even worse.

            They said Romney would put blacks back in slavery. They called Clarence Thomas an uncle Tom. Cry me a fucking river. Really, go cry to someone who cares.

            1. He fought for the working class, and was accused of being anti-American.

              Nobody said Romney would put blacks in slavery. Biden said something taken out of context that the fucking snowflake cried at. Is that how you do this?

              And Clarence Thomas is a fucking Uncle Tom.

              1. Biden said “He will put you back in chains.” How do you take that out of context. And no one is crying here but you. that is politics. That is the way it goes. That just means you can’t whine about Trump.

                Clearance Thomas grew up the only black student in a all white high school in 1975. He has more balls and nobility in his finger than you ever will have. You are a racist disgusting troll. You are nothing but a smug white person who thinks black people have a duty to think as you expect them to.; It is disgusting and you should be ashamed of yourself. You are a racist fuck.

                1. No he didn’t,

                  “The last time these guys unshackled the economy, to use their term, they put the middle class in shackles. That’s how we got where we are,” said Biden.

                  He was talking about the banks. It’s a fucking metaphor.

                  Trump said Rafael Cruz killed JFK.

                  1. Trump said Rafael Cruz killed JFK.

                    FACT CHECK: Inconclusive

                  2. (CBS News) DANVILLE, Va. — Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday told a diverse crowd here, including many African-Americans, that presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney would “put you all back in chains” by unshackling Wall Street.

                    Biden told more than 800 ticketed supporters that Romney wants to repeal the financial regulations enacted after the Wall Street crash of 2008. “He’s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules – unchain Wall Street!” Biden said. Then he added, “They’re going to put you all back in chains” with their economic and regulatory policies.

                2. What makes you think I’m white, you racist fuck?

                  1. Your obvious whiteness.

                    1. I’m more of a dull dull bronze

                    2. Take what you will with the repeat of “dull” there.

  6. Steve Scalise’s Call For Civility And Respect Draws Unbelievable Response

    Civility and respect always prevails over harassment and disrespect

    ? Rep. Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) June 24, 2018

    Hi Steve, the world would be a better place if you had succumbed to your wounds

  7. “Is ‘Civility’ Possible, Let Alone Desirable, in Trump’s America?: Podcast”

    Shut up, fascist cucks.

    1. Oops, I mean come on all you people, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now!

      I said RIGHT NOW, damn it!

      1. Because I have never heard the original song I read that in Krist Novalsec’s off-key voice.

      2. Fun fact, Novoselic sang that part on Territorial Pissings. And now he posts here under the name Diane Reynolds (Paul.). The world is a beautiful place.

  8. Oh shit, two for two, we got “Trump’s America”.

    Drinking game?

    1. glug glug glug glug

      Sure, what are the rules?

      1. One drink if someone says “Trump’s America”, two drinks if they say it in reference to civility, If they use it in an immigration post, chug like it’s your job.

        1. The entire commentariat will be dead of cirrhosis by Thursday at the latest.

          1. I think if we’re all being honest, it’s for the best.

  9. Civility – manners, customs, social niceties – are like a Prisoner’s Dilemma game. As long as we’re all playing the same game, everybody’s better off but any one person willing to break the rules gains an advantage over everybody else. Notice the calls for civility are coming from people who are civil, nice, polite, willing to give others the benefit of the doubt. Saps, in other words. The people who aren’t civil, who riot and bully and attack the civil ones are winning the day. Right up until the polite people figure out it’s time to stop being polite and suddenly you’re going to hear a lot of these thugs whining about “can’t we all just get along?”, like a burglar caught by an armed homeowner who’s suddenly “look, how about I admit I made a mistake and I’ll just go away and we’ll pretend this never happened”.

    1. Pretty much that. And ultimately, what difference does it make? The Democrats have been nasty and vicious for decades and it doesn’t seem to have hurt them. And in fairness since when is civility some kind of end in itself? Politics is generally a nasty business where nice guys finish last. That is why we should keep politics out of the rest of our lives to the greatest extent possible. The solution is not to try and make politics civil.

      1. I like the way the Brits used to do it in their questions period. C-SPAN brought me Maggie Thatcher in all her glory back in the day, and I finally understood why people over there liked her. She was sharp as a tack and extremely quick – and could eviscerate anyone who dared to cross swords with her with only one or two sentences.

        I don’t think we have anyone like that in today’s politics. But Trump does have a bit of her “punch back” style, I suppose.

        Actually, now that I think about it, so did team Clinton back in the 90’s. They’d build a response team and hit back hard within a day of any attack. Not really the same thing, but it was of the “politics ain’t bean-bag” philosophy.

        Unlike most modern Republicans…. Bush the elder was basically a nice guy and not much of a politician (whatever his policies might have been). Dole was quick witted, but notoriously respectful. Bush II was a bit incoherent as a rhetorician, but basically stuck to civility among American polity. McCain famously chided his own people for making fun of Obama. Romney was super polite and terribly worried about coming off as a bully.

        1. Contrast that with Trump, who doesn’t seem to know when he’s trapped in a political conundrum. He just goes full tilt – even if he has no clue where or why. And he’s the first (R) at the national level since the 60’s who meets accusations of racism with nonchalance or counter-punches. Heck, he’s probably the first since Jesse Helms at any level who wasn’t completely cowed by the notion.

          This is the crux of all of the “incivility” charges. He’s such a boor that he hasn’t got the sense to know that he’s supposed to cower in fear every time they trot out the race card.

          1. Jesse Helms was a great American. Helms was a strong proponent of free speech and non-interventionism.

          2. Are you too young to remember Newt Gingrich? Dick Cheney?

            1. Are you too young to remember Bill Clinton blaming the Oklahoma City bombing on Fox News and Rush Limbaugh or the Democrats claiming George W. Bush told FEMA to stand down and let people die in New Orleans?

              Are you really this stupid or really this dishonest? Either way, stop wasting our time.

              1. Bill Clinton blaming the Oklahoma City bombing on Fox News and Rush Limbaugh

                Minot nit: Fox News wasn’t founded until 1996, the OK City bombing was in 1994. Clinton blamed OK City on right wing militia/ hate groups who were allegedly incited by Limbaugh and other conservative radio hosts.

                1. Good catch asshole. He blamed it on Right wing radio. My mistake.

                2. Remind me again who did it?

                    1. He never mentioned right wing radio.

                      When they talk of hatred, we must stand against them,” he said, never putting a noun to the pronoun. “When they talk of violence, we must stand against them. When they say things that are irresponsible, that may have egregious consequences, we must call them on it. The exercise of their freedom of speech makes our silence all the more unforgivable.

                      “If we are to have freedom to speak, freedom to assemble, and, yes, the freedom to bear arms, we must have responsibility as well. And to those of us who do not agree with the purveyors of hatred and division, with the promoters of paranoia, I remind you that we have freedom of speech, too, and we have responsibilities, too.”

                      If Rush thought that he fit that bill, maybe that says more about Rush?

                    2. No, I’m saying he was the one who bombed the towers. Check out my website for more details.

                  1. A self-identified libertarian.

                3. the OK City bombing was in 1994

                  Minot nit to your minot nit: the OK City bombing was in April of 1995. 🙂

        2. It was probably fake history from a bunch of old fat white guys, but I read in a book (yep, dead trees and all) that the distance between the ‘benches’ in Parliament was designed as “two sword lengths, plus an inch. That’s what I would call common sense sword control.

    2. Right up until the polite people figure out it’s time to stop being polite…

      …and start being real?

  10. It’s “Trump’s America” when Democrats harass and attack the Right

    The Dems did the same when Obama was President
    See all the Leftist riots to suppress right wing speakers at university campuses for details

  11. They didn’t treat W any better than Trump. And then there was Palin. It has gotten worse but not just because Trump is President (he does play the part for him though). It’s because of the rise of identity power politics on college campuses and the social media that gets produced from it. It’s everyone vs the white cis patriarchy. This is just going to escalate because the anger and escalated rhetoric serves the DNC. Or so they think. We’ll see next election is acting like upset toddlers has worked for them.

    1. Remember when W. was the world’s most famous dumbfuck? Remember when it was Palin? What’s after Trump, an actual monkey?

      Oh you were complaining about these people’s poor poor treatment by whiny people.

      1. Remember when Romney was the world’s most famous dumbfuck for calling Russia our geopolitical foe?

        Oh you were having trouble keeping track of your talking points.

      2. Remember when you weren’t a drooling one-dimensional retarded simpleton? Neither does anyone else.

  12. I don’t really care much about incivility.

    It’s the perpetual petulant whininess and victimhood that makes me wonder if America has turned into a particularly immature kindergarten.

  13. Is ‘Civility’ Possible, Let Alone Desirable, in Trump’s America?: Podcast

    Civility is always possible.

    However, it’s not always desirable. Incivility on the part of Democrats, progressives, and Reason staff speaks volumes about those groups, and what it says isn’t very flattering.

  14. I saw a interesting rant at

    Looks like those who destroyed the business of Memories Pizza in 2015 lacked civility.

  15. The issue isn’t Trump. We’ve had loudmouthed jerks in the White House before, during periods of comparative civility (think LBJ). The issue is that the Progressive Left has curdled to the point that they believe that ascendency is theirs by right, and when they don’t get it they have a multi-year tantrum.

    What needs to happen, is the rest of us need to stop tolerating this kind of behavior. Lefties who make terroristic threats need to be investigated. Maybe not charged, but seriously inconvenienced at least. Antifidiots who turn up at a protest armed and armored should be detained, and if they get violent with the cops (and they will, because they lack the common sense God gave a turnip) they should be treated roughly (legally, but if you hit a cop he gets to hot you back) and hauled downtown.

    The pestiferous Left needs to be reminded that the alternative to civility is unpleasant for them, too.

  16. Perhaps if everyone had actually accepted the 2016 election results?
    Maybe for 2018 we should ask ALL candidates, not just Trump “Will you accept the results of the election”?

  17. Pretty hard to find common ground when the other side wants you dead.