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Civility and the Challenge of Ordered Liberty

Stephen Carter’s Civility is a sophisticated case for renewal of this virtue in American life. Carter is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale Law School, his book, subtitled Manners, Morals, and Etiquette of Democracy, speaks to what he deemed a uniquely uncivil moment in American history—the 1990s. And though it was written twenty years ago this year, Carter’s analysis could just as aptly describe today.

Civility adds a moral dimension to the way we interact with our fellow citizens—our “fellow travelers” as Carter calls them. He makes two distinct but related moral arguments for civility. First, our shared humanity gives us all a duty to respect one another. Second, life of our republic requires us to show regard for one another through our actions, great and small.

Carter’s work, which is more moral philosophy treatise than etiquette manual, is a refreshing departure from the typical manners genre. His wide-ranging musings on the importance of norms in modern American life offer deep reflections on human nature, unjust moments in American history, social science research, and the culture of cynicism in America.

Though some readers might find certain parts moralizing to excess, he makes no apologies for the way that his Christian faith informs his thinking. He ultimately offers a spiritual solution to a temporal problem. Americans suffer from a flagrant lack of respect for our fellow travelers, which he argues does harm to our souls and our republic. His antidote is a return to the religious foundations—the Judeo-Christian tradition—that give us reason to respect one another in the first place.

Civility and its Discontents

Carter wrote his defense for civility in the midst of an anti-civility backlash in the late 1990s, when national concern about the lack of civility was also quite high. In March 1997, this led to the creation of the Bipartisan Congressional Retreat. This was a gathering of political leaders across parties lies in the idyllic pastures of Hershey, Pennsylvania. The retreat’s stated purpose was to “seek a greater degree of civility, mutual respect and, when possible, bipartisanship among Members of the House of Representatives in order to foster an environment in which vigorous debate and mutual respect can co-exist.”

The thinking was that friendship and familiarity among Members of Congress would enable them to work together amidst deep differences of opinion. This rationale is corroborated by social research and lived experience: we are indeed less likely to unfairly malign and assume the worst about persons we know and enjoy being around.

Much in the spirit of Hillary Clinton’s now-infamous comments—“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about”—some Members thought the retreat a waste of time: after all, they thought, their political rivals were so detestable that there was no need to be civil with them. It was the “dumbest idea” that Joel Hefley (R-CO) had ever heard. “You can go to Hershey fifty times and it would not make a difference,” claimed David Obey (D-WI). Perhaps not co-incidentally, Obey—who ended up skipping the civility retreat—was involved in a shoving match with Republican Congressman Tom DeLay not too long after the retreat’s end.

Many people agree, denying the premise that we owe respect to others regardless of agreement. Carter addresses these and other objections before making his affirmative case. He notes the assertions of Michael Sandel and Ellen Goodman, who claim an overemphasis on manners is a harmful distraction from social solidarity. And Carter acknowledges Benjamin DeMott’s argument in a 1996 Nation essay entitled “Seduced by Civility” that manners mask the real issues of race and class at hand. Observing that slaveholders invoked “civility” to silence the abolitionists, DeMott claims that “when you’re in an argument with a thug, there are things much more important than civility.” When one’s views are so abhorrent and antithetical to justice, in other words, all bets are off. Maureen Dowd claimed that President Clinton’s call for renewed civility masked deep and important disagreement, and became a “kind of hypocrisy.”

But for Carter, these criticisms get civility wrong, because civility is “a set of sacrifices we make for the sake of our common journey with others, and out of respect for the very idea that there are others … who are every bit our equals before God.”

Contrary to being an act of hypocrisy, civility means acting with integrity. He draws a thread between respecting fundamental human rights and respecting others with our manners, giving the example of the process of “purification” that Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers used in their non-violent civil protests. Adherents to non-violence knew that rebelling against a violent and oppressive status quo would subject them to violence. But it was not just for tactical reasons that they took the moral high ground by conducting themselves more justly than their oppressors. And their aim in doing so was to prick the conscience of their nation, sensitizing their fellow citizens to the deep injustices of institutional racism.

Carter quotes historian Albert J. Raboteau on Dr. King’s moral reasoning,

Nonviolence is based upon the belief that acceptance of suffering is redemptive, because suffering can transform both the sufferer and the oppressor; it is based on loving others regardless of worth or merit; it is based on the realization that all human beings are interrelated; and it is grounded in the confidence that justice will, in the end, triumph over injustice.

The goal of King’s non-violent protests was not to defeat the opponents to civil rights, but to convert them. King and his supporters succeeded in persuading a nation that black Americans both could and should become full participants in our democracy. The civility of the civil rights protesters was directly informed by their expressly Christian charge to love one’s enemies, and do good to those who seek to do harm. Indeed, the stated purpose of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, co-founded by Dr. King after the Montgomery Bus Boycott, was to “save the soul of the nation.”

This is why Carter claims that “only a resurgence in all that is best about religious faith will rescue civility in America, for there is no more profound vision of equality than equality before God,” and why “civility that rests on the shifting sands of secular morality might topple with the next stiff political wind.”

Carter is right that Christian charity, showing love and forgiveness to those who seek your harm, is a demanding standard of morality—and is one that secular readers may choose not to accept.

But civility need not have an explicitly Christian cast. Even secular readers may be comfortable with the idea that we all share a common human dignity—which in turn creates for us a shared moral obligation to one another. This is, after all the central tenet of the secular Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was originally adopted across national, religious, and philosophical lines and continues to enjoy support from people of all national and political affiliations.

But what does make us different, and what does that mean for the respect we owe to others?

Civility as Conduct That Marks, Recognizes, and Respects our Humanity

In the first place, Carter asserts that humans are uniquely worth of respect, in a way that plants and animals are not, because of our free will and morality. We are all equal before God, Carter is fond of saying, created in his image. We therefore share a nature with one another. This nature constitutes morality—the ability to discern right from wrong—and volition—the ability to choose right from wrong.  We are also fallible. We err, but we are self-aware enough to act differently in the future.  “Lower animals,” Carter writes, are programmed to act on instinct alone and do not have these characteristics.

Self-control is the common thread that runs through these facets of our humanity. We possess the ability to rise above instinct, discipline our desires, and choose how to act. This is Carter’s central take-away from Erasmus of Rotterdam’s A Handbook on Good Manners for Children, which he regularly cites throughout Civility. While it is mostly a list of dos and don’ts—“Some people, no sooner than they’ve sat down, immediately stick their hands into the dishes of food,” admonishes Erasmus, “This is the manner of wolves”—the underlying assumption is that we have the ability to choose to sacrifice our immediate desires and impulses for the sake of others and for community.

Carter argues that reflecting on the majesty of our humanity should have the effect of instilling “awe” in us every time meet a stranger: for Carter, we ought to see God in them. From this shared, partially divine nature, Carter derives the moral obligations we have to one another. These attributes of our humanity set us apart and make us uniquely deserving of respect.

For Carter, seeing one another as equals before God ought to inform the manner in which we treat one another with equal respect. America’s trend toward the casual is informed by our egalitarian impulse, Carter believes our equality should just as easily inform our formality. Carter notes how he is easily put off by the familiarity of strangers who address him by his first name. For him, it is presumptuous to presume the intimacy of being on a first name basis. He acknowledges the reason behind this particular sensitivity: “Black Americans fought hard and long for the right to be called “Mr.” and “Mrs.” rather than by their first names—only to discover, just as the battle is won, that an increasing number of white Americans think these politely formal sobriquets should be discarded.” Female professors and doctors have also made this point: in one study, research showed that women were less likely than men to be introduced by professional title when being introduced by men.

The point is well-taken: while it scalds the American egalitarian psyche to hear others insist on being addressed by honorifics like “Mr.” or “Dr.”, formality does not always mean one is exerting superiority. It can be a way of respecting the equal dignity of all. But apart from the inherent good of respecting others, there is also an instrumental good: civil norms of mutual respect are essential to our democracy.

Civility and Democracy

Carter is adamant about the responsibility that citizens in a free society of limited government must exercise self-restraint regarding how they use their freedom. Democracy rests on a set of democratic norms that are broadly accepted and adhered to. These norms are sub-legal, meaning they cannot and ought not be enforced by law, but have an important role of modulating our interactions and buttressing our institutions. Norms cannot be enforced by law and punishment—if they were, Carter notes, we would live in what many would consider a police state—but if too many people decide to flout societal expectations of behavior, the social cohesion falters and our institutions weaken.

Carter does not draw from the history of post-Soviet Europe, but his argument for civility as necessary to democracy is reinforced by Ernest Gellner’s 1996 book Conditions of Liberty: Civil Society and its Rivals, in which Gellner examines the influx of Western academic advisors into the newly formed democratic governments in previously Soviet countries. Many of these countries lacked civic organizations and suffered from low social cohesion. Gellner explains that this deficit was crucial, even as it was overlooked by the free-market economists counseling the new governments: civil society is “that set of diverse non-governmental institutions which is strong enough to counterbalance the state and, while not preventing the state from fulfilling its role of keeper of the peace and arbitrator among major interests, can nevertheless prevent it from dominating and atomising the rest of society.” Airlifting capitalist and democratic institutions into post-Soviet countries was insufficient; the cultural attitudes of citizens, toward government and one another, was also as essential. Relationships and respect for fellow citizens are a pre-political good, necessary to sustain strong democratic institutions and decent politics. Civility, or norms that promote trust, cohesion, and mutual respect, are the fundamental building block of a truly civilized society.

In some ways, in the two decades since Carter wrote this book, the world has become less hospitable to civility. This makes reviving his ideas all the more crucial. Our own moment may feel more uncivil than past eras, and we realize it’s not always to overcome our hurts and prejudices. But Carter rightly argues that it’s worth it.

The alternative is bleak. There is an abundant literature describing the collapse of civility and the consequences that collapse has for American communities, with Ben Sasse’s Them, Charles Murray’s Coming Apart, and Tim Carney’s forthcoming Alienated America just some of the most prominent.

But recent years have also seen a proliferation of groups trying to remedy this collapse and divide: Slate Star Codex Rationalist meet-ups that seek truth in group settings, Benjamin Franklin Circles that pursue virtue in group settings, the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation that gathers problem-solvers, as well as many other nationalstate-wide, and local initiatives. These trends are encouraging, as they demonstrate the widespread dissatisfaction of the direction of our nation, and the willingness of citizens to do something about it.

Civility is a profoundly earnest account of one man’s desire to find order and truth in a deeply divided time, and it can also guide us in our own. The result is a rewarding journey into the mind of a great modern thinker. Carter encourages his readers to see civility as more than mere etiquette, to instead see it as a moral obligation to others in light of our common humanity.

Carter claimed that the 1990s was a uniquely uncivil time for our nation. We hear people today claim the same of the tenor of our public discourse today. Both are incorrect. Since the first humans decided to live in community, there has been a need to have norms guide our interactions, lest our self-interestedness win out over our desire for relationship. The selfish and other-directed facets of our nature have always been, and always will be, in tension. In calling us to be civil, then, Carter calls us to an impossible standard. But it is an important—and explicitly Christian—one.

In a world that is increasingly Manichean, one where people view the world as a battle between good and evil, it is both more difficult but more necessary to abide by the high standard of civility to which Carter calls us: to be kind when we don’t have to, to trust when we don’t have to reason to, to love those who hurt us.

Reader Discussion

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on December 11, 2018 at 09:17:23 am

Civil manners are an aesthetic complement to a civil society, one that respects in actions the sovereignty of the individual suggested in the Gellner quote. Reagan's nine words of the government agent are most civil in tone, and for that very reason are insidious. Gellner's ideal state is incompatible with a society that continues to view and speak of government as a "problem-solver." Chartering the government to "solve problems" guarantees that a problem will always be found. Christian civility is rooted in a shared understanding of God as supreme and omniscient judge of a person's thought and deeds. Remove that, remove, more specifically, the social authority of a church that interprets and enforces such an understanding, remove a church as an acknowledged solver of certain kinds of problems--remove all this, I say, and, as Nietzsche observed, morality becomes far more imperativistic. Imperativistic moral agents are by definition uncivil in manner and in action. To such agents civility is merely a way of avoiding their imperatives, a free-floating aesthetic that no longer has a necessary foundation in civil institutions. The institutions gave rise to the aesthetic, but the practice of the aesthetic will not recreate the underlying institutions.

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QET
on December 11, 2018 at 10:44:26 am

Ms. Hudson's fond remembrance of a book from 20 years ago on the virtue of civility might better be read as an elegy. Then an optimistic Christian humanist, Professor Carter, an advocate of civility (who's against it?) which he said was in dire crisis in 1999, wrote a book on the practical value of restoring social and political civility. The book's promotional summary states, "A leading intellectual and scholar considers the causes and nature of the moral crisis in America today (1999) and offers ways in which families, individuals, and politicians can improve the country by adhering to basic principles of civility."

Reading that cultural meme evokes almost a fond memory of lost time in comparison to reflecting on daily life in the uncivil Hell of 2018. How far in 20 years hath civility fallen while the nation's elite have mindlessly preached its importance! If civility was in "moral crisis" then, what description of civility's plight today could be adequate? "What is it, that thing you call civility?'' "It's in the dictionary, but it's not in the law, the schools or the culture, so it must not be important." "If it's unknown, unstudied, unrequired or unpopular it's unimportant." "In extremis. Terminally ill. On life support. Do not resuscitate." "Everyone despairs of civility's loss but no one cares about it."

Professor Crater's 1999 book draws, per Ms. Hudson's summary, on "A Handbook on Good Manners for Children," a how-to-raise-kids book written in 1530 by the great Renaissance Catholic humanist, Erasmus of Rotterdam. Ms. Hudson's optimistic take-away from Erasmus is that, then and now, we possess the "ability to choose to sacrifice our immediate desires and impulses for the sake of others and for community."

Christianity affirms the point. History proves it to be so. Indeed, the statement is a mere moral truism, a statement of the empirically-obvious.

So what? And anyway, what's that got to do with the virtue of civility and the political and social value of restoring civility and community? And how does one restore the Christian humanism of civility and community by mere preaching of their practical utility in an atheistic world gone mad with hostile aggression against Christianity, the psychosis of self-deception and the omnipresence of personal and public corruption, solipsism, moral nihilism, amoral atomistic individualism, materialistic hedonism and socially- destructive, self-seeking self-aggrandizement?

In 1511 Erasmus wrote another book, "Moriae Encomium," "In Praise of Folly." That's the book to read if we are to see where piously imploring the impious to civility and community leads us.

We need far fewer Ben Sasses, John McCains, Jeff Flakes, George Herbert Walker Bushes and Pope Francises, who talk the easy, self-righteous talk of civility but fail to walk the tough walk of defending its constitutional, religious, educational, cultural and institutional foundations, and we need more leaders in politics, religion, education, business, culture and law who are prepared to walk the hard walk and dispense with the nice talk.

To piously preach mere civility to and then expect mere civility from the implacable enemies of the true, the good and the beautiful while, in the name of civility, quietly tolerating the omnipresence of their evil is sheer folly. Civilty is not the country club good manners of GHW Bush. It's Jesus in the Temple smashing the Pharisees. The virtue of civility and community will survive and thrive only in the ashes of defeat for the ascending forces of darkness.

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Pukka Luftmensch
on December 11, 2018 at 11:02:00 am

You beat me to the punch, re: Ole Freddie Nietzsche.

Had Freddie read this saccharin saga on civility, he surely would have employed even more intemperate prose in his critique of Christianity as the religion of the slave. Yes, Freddie's take on Christianity was wrong, incomplete, etc and lacking the suppleness of QET's assessment which recognizes the "reciprocity' of civility / morality but Freddie observed the enervating effects of 'cheek-turning' and the resultant inability to effectively moderate the incivility of others and cast off the yoke of oppression.

Civility may only properly operate in a regime of reciprocity.

Insult me once, Shame on you!
Insult me twice, SHAME on ME!!!!!

I must confess to a certain bemusement at the current clamor for civility and more specifically with such calls from the NRO types who themselves belittle The Trumpster for his plebian communication style.

I am old enough to remember their revered founder, W. F. Buckley who had some rather sharp rejoinders to those foolish enough to criticize one of Buckley's positions. Recall his exchange with Norman Mailer (look it up).
The difference is that Buckley did it with pananche; The Trumpster does it with working class, Borough of Queens bluntness.
Sharp or blunt, the retort is still a retort and neither more nor less civil NOR inappropriate than the other.

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gabe
on December 11, 2018 at 11:04:52 am

Oops, forgot this:

Nietzsche:

"But what if Truth be a woman; she wishes to be conquered."

The ability to apprehend the Truth is not a function of how many cheeks one has available for turning."

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gabe
on December 11, 2018 at 11:27:33 am

Actually, I always found his take on Christianity to be quite on the mark. Like Kierkegaard, Nietzsche understood true Christianity as something to be lived, not merely recited. He had great respect for the ascetic Christian, not so much for the bourgeois church-on-Sunday-only Christian.

Unfortunately, the Gospels and Pauline letters set forth a Christian practice informed by the active belief in the imminence of Christ's return and judgment, making it not just easy(ier) but imperative to turn away from the world. Once it became clear that this was not going to happen, the Church had to find a way to accommodate an orientation toward the world with an orientation toward eternity, which it did, and so well that it came closer to becoming a universal state than even Rome had been. But the form of worldly, diluted, rhetorical form of Christianity that evolved eventually degenerated into an ineffectual hypocrisy, sort of like civil manners without the necessary civil practices.

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QET
on December 11, 2018 at 11:45:57 am

Hmmm! I wonder what nietzsche's take on Fear and Trembling would be, where the individual takes it upon himself to depart from "the herd" pursuing what he believes to be a higher duty?

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gabe
on December 11, 2018 at 12:37:48 pm

I think the brilliant N, blessed with one flash of genius in which he saw the civilizational consequences of the death of God and cursed with myriad assaults of bitter despair and ultimate madness which blinded him to Christianity rightly understood (which he never did,) would have abhorred and scorned K's disfavored knights of infinite resignation, whom K saw as faux-Christians but whom N would have seen as quotidian, typical Christians, and honored in Christianity's breach K's revered knights of faith, his only true Christians, whom N would have seen (wrongly) as not embodying but transcending Christianity.

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Pukka Luftmensch
on December 11, 2018 at 19:09:42 pm

The review brings to mind the Nicomachean Ethics, though Aristotle provides no description of civility per se in his account of the good life. Yet, there are an array of minor virtues (gentleness, honesty, wit, tact, etc.) of which civility could be derived. So using Aristotle as a guide, at first blush, Carter and Hudson paint a picture of what it means to be human via civility - all while reminding that we are limited, relational beings. Yes, "civility adds a moral dimension to the way we interact with our fellow citizens." Carter and Hudson think (believe) in being civil we may learn to most fully govern ourselves. They are definitely suggesting that civility is more than a conversational virtue (it means more than being nice or polite - though that's a start). They are on to something sorely needed.

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Anthony
on December 11, 2018 at 19:52:42 pm

I agree that Professor Carter and Ms. Hudson are talking about more that conversational nicety and social decency. They suggest that their brand of civility has a serious role to play in resolving or at least tamping down political and social conflict, but they do not argue that such civility can usher in an era of mutual respect between disputants who harbor deep disagreements and personal animosities.

And if it can't do that, what, exactly is it supposed to accomplish?
Its objective seems to be what Professor Bejan in her recent book of the same name called "Mere Civilty," a mutual acceptance of the social right and political necessity of confrontational, heated argumentation and advocacy that stops just short of the temperature at which the conversation ends and the fighting begins. Argue without reservation so long as the conversation is kept alive and violence is avoided.
If that is what is meant, then how to establish and institutionalize such a cultural ritual is the question. Mere admonition will not lead to mere civility.

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Pukka Luftmensch
on December 11, 2018 at 21:29:28 pm

Teresa Bejan highlights that civility, by her lights, is more than a set of procedural rules but rather a way of engaging with those with whom one fundamentally disagrees - similar to your example above: disputants who harbor.... On the other hand, Carter and Hudson appear to be asking that we humans attempt more than "tone policing" of disputants. My read is that Stephen Carter and Alexandra Hudson view civility as an ethical necessity facilitating (cultivating) social order. Now, whether either argues "civility" alone can usher in an era...extends treatise's intent.

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Anthony
on December 13, 2018 at 05:44:14 am

I appreciate Ms. Hudson’s post for two reasons. First, I share, below, Carter’s aid in my path to “civic integrity” to promote widespread use of the preamble to the U.S. Constitution (U.S. preamble). Second, it empowered my attention to the-objective-truth as the standard for integrity. Wondering what philosophers have to say about “civility,” I reduced my ignorance of “public reason.”

Taking the second point first, Jonathan Quong, in "Public Reason", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2018 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = wrote, “Because we make moral and political demands of each other, if we are to comply with the ideal of public reason, we must refrain from advocating or supporting rules that cannot be justified to those on whom the rules would be imposed. We should instead, some insist, only support those rules we sincerely believe can be justified by appeal to suitably shared or public considerations—for example, widely endorsed political values such as freedom and equality—and abstain from appealing to religious arguments, or other controversial views over which reasonable people are assumed to disagree.” I will study Quong's article.

Regarding my first mentioned appreciation, readers might enjoy Stephen L. Carter’s 1996 article, “The Insufficiency of Honesty,” online at https://learning.hccs.edu/faculty/bruce.brogdon/engl1301/bruce.brogdon/201cthe-insufficiency-of-honesty201d-by-stephen-carter/view. I quote it often, but have modified his formula so extensively I often do not credit Carter.

I assert that integrity is a process that includes the following: a heartfelt concern, the work to discover that the concern is motivated by actual reality rather than a mirage, the work to understand how to benefit from the discovery, behaving according to the resulting understanding, publicly sharing the reasons for your behavior and listening to public responses so as to collaborate for possible improvement, and being alert for new discovery that demands change. If most fellow citizens practice this process, civic integrity prevails and gradually discover the-objective-truth. The U.S. preamble tacitly offers fellow citizens individual happiness with civic integrity and citizens are free to dissent.

One other point: Sadly, on December 7, Dr. P.M. Forni, co-founder of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project (http://krieger2.jhu.edu/civility/), passed away. See https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/07/obituaries/pm-forni-dies.html.

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Phil Beaver
on December 13, 2018 at 08:57:08 am

The classical scholarship is made difficult by the mingling of semantics and mystery (for example, religious beliefs).

From https://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/politics/section3/, "Aristotle begins with an inquiry into the nature of citizenship. It is not enough to say a citizen is someone who lives in the city or has access to the courts of law, since these rights are open to resident aliens and even slaves. Rather, Aristotle suggests that a citizen is someone who shares in the administration of justice and the holding of public office. Aristotle then broadens this definition, which is limited to individuals in democracies, by stating that a citizen is anyone who is entitled to share in deliberative or judicial office."

In the U.S., fellow citizens agree to equal justice under law by the collaboration to achieve the purpose and goals stated in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution (the U.S. preamble). Under the U.S. preamble, civic discipline of, by, and for the people may be developed, and the civic people (Aristotle) may use the rest of the U.S. Constitution to manage the officials and institutions fellow citizens authorize and constraint. Fellow citizens may freely dissent, but if one causes actual harm may face statutory justice.

Willing citizens collaborate to discover the-objective-truth rather than conflict for a dominant opinion and thereby develop a culture of individual happiness with civic integrity.

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Phil Beaver
on December 13, 2018 at 09:55:46 am

I agree with your statement, "we need more leaders in politics, religion, education, business, culture and law who are prepared to walk the hard walk and dispense with the nice talk."

But this is not possible when "walk the hard walk" remains a matter of opinion, a human construct, or sheer mystery.

I'm reading the enlightening book, "Scalia Speaks," and in the chapter "Being Different," Scalia quotes John 15:18-19 ASV, “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you."

It's bad enough to justify being different by assuming and asserting that non-believers are guilty of hate. However, it becomes worse at Verse 23: "Whoever hates me also hates my Father."

It's bad enough that some Christains do not think, as some Catholics do, that the Eucharistic host is God since Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are the same. But to me, the entire passage is psychological violence because of the use of the word "hate" as an assumption about non-believers. There's no excuse for the word "hate" to express human connections.

Maybe there's a place for John 15:18-25 in the privacy of an individual's mind, but I doubt it. I certainly deny that I hate Christians, Jesus, God, or the Holy Ghost. I just have not accepted the formula of fear and salvation of believing.

However, I do accept that my body, mind, and person will stop functioning. I am prepared for my death, but do not wish anyone to mimic my preparation for my afterdeath. Let each person responsibly pursue private happiness.

However, I do want fellow citizens to use the U.S. preamble and collaboration to discover the-objective-truth in order to develop statutory justice and practice civic integrity.

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Phil Beaver
on December 13, 2018 at 10:49:17 am

I agree with your statement, “Sharp or blunt, the retort is still a retort and neither more nor less civil NOR inappropriate than the other.”

Buckley’s mean passion was merely misunderstood by the English ignorance in 1965 at Cambridge (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFeoS41xe7w&t=22s) but it became a matter of terminal pity in 1968 Chicago (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZY_nq4tfi24). (Incidentally, Vidal mentions Mailer.) View especially from 9’45” until the end, where Vidal says with a smile, there’s no more to say after we experienced Mr. Buckley’s passions. In 1967, a student question at the end disclosed Alinsky’s propensity for violence Buckley’s adversarial style could not bring out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsfxnaFaHWI&t=4s.

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Phil Beaver
on December 13, 2018 at 11:59:35 am

“Christian civility is rooted in a shared understanding of God as supreme and omniscient judge of a person’s thought and deeds.”

Christian civility is a private pursuit and squabble among believers, and only by a lack of integrity can believers insist on involving non-believers. For example, the Civil War was started over erroneous Bible beliefs held in the South (see the CSA Declaration of Secession and R.E. Lee’s December 1856 letter to his wife). Those same Christian beliefs kept the South opposed to fellow citizens for a century. Black church was instrumental in the passage of the 1964 act against discrimination on race or color, and beginning in 1968 black civility combined to form African American Christianity. Black Christian civility accuses white Christian civility. Non-believers, like me, unjustly share in the costs, especially the failure of civic integrity in this nation.

It is time for fellow citizens who squabble over Christian civility to admit to themselves the need for equal justice under law (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_justice_under_law#Following_ancient_tradition), a recognition that predates Christianity.

In the U.S., the agreement for civic, civil, and legal civility is offered in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. When combined with collaboration to discover and use the-objective-truth rather than conflict for a dominant opinion, the agreement offers willing citizens individual happiness with civic integrity. Believers in their individual, responsible motivations and inspirations may pursue their religious civility or no religion in mutual safety and security. Dissidents against statutory justice invite subjugation to law enforcement if they cause actually real harm.

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Phil Beaver
on January 09, 2019 at 11:45:38 am

[…] the basis for future behaviors and motivations to act.” I want to end with this recent essay https://www.lawliberty.org/2018/12/11/civility-and-the-challenge-of-ordered-liberty/ because it illustrates well how the same Progressive concepts and ends can be pitched with […]

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Image of Systematizing Human Nature Via Internalized Marxian Standards of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty | Invisible Serfs Collar
Systematizing Human Nature Via Internalized Marxian Standards of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty | Invisible Serfs Collar
on February 04, 2019 at 11:15:25 am

I found this topic following a post I made myself on civilty. Debating politics or God is not why I am joining this conversation, only to say that I agree with the idea of having respectful debates and moving forward with integrity to better our situation as a whole. I thank you in advance if you read my thoughts on this subject. https://noelliesplace.com/2019/02/03/manly-men/

Sincerely and best wishes,
Noellie

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Noellie
on February 23, 2019 at 04:44:32 am

[…] very best aim is always https://www.lawliberty.org/2018/12/11/civility-and-the-challenge-of-ordered-liberty/ to stimulate you to identify one which work especially to suit your needs. Get clearness, really, […]

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Image of The most common Troubles in Higher education Cardstock Publishing - Asset Pro Group
The most common Troubles in Higher education Cardstock Publishing - Asset Pro Group

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