June 25, 2018

Harshing the Civic Mellow

Nail. Head. Hit.

When it comes to protests, mean words, civil disobedience, boycotts, public shunning, we may disagree when one or other is wise or called for. But these are entirely legitimate tools of political action, civic action. Many calls for civility are simply calls for unilateral disarmament from those protesting injustices and abuses of power.

That’s Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo.

Calls for civility almost always come from people with social, economic, and political power who don’t want their tender mellows harshed.

3 Responses

  1. I was recently reminded, by the Folger Library’s fine blog, of a simpler, happier, more civil time, such as when this pamphlet was written.


  2. acline 

    Ah, the pamphlet wars 🙂 I’m not one to suggest today is worse than the past content-wise. Recall that Washington was once accused of being a traitor.

  3. My personal take on civility is that we should have, as a society, a high standard of polite hypocrisy that insists we treat those to whom we are politically opposed like the potential partners in compromise that we want them to be.

    And I think that high standard of civility should be violated pretty much constantly on all sides.

    I mean, that’s my feeling about profanity, too—we should absolutely have high standards that it isn’t used in mixed company (using ‘mixed’ there to indicate register of formality rather than gender) but that it should also be quite common for people to violate that by swearing in moments of high emotion.