That nice guy Chris Clarke has written a paean to speaking one’s mind. It’s wonderfully not-nice.
My point: it is not civil to discuss things quietly and collegially while people are dying because they can’t afford medicine. It is not civil to speak in even, chuckling sardonicism as one beleaguered wild place after another is paved for profit. It is not civil to calmly raise logical arguments against torture, against kidnapping, against using nuclear weapons on civilians to show our resolve.
There’s also a bit in there about “Minnesota Nice liberals.” I should explain that when you first come to Minnesota, you discover that everyone is unflaggingly polite, they smile, they rarely utter a cross word, and even in the most dire situations they struggle to say something positive. It seems admirable at first, but after a while you discover it is a mask covering some of the meanest, most petty, passive-aggressive backbiting you’ll ever experience, as well as a way to justify some seriously screwed up opinions. I have actually heard a Minnesota WWII veteran tell me that Hitler’s Germany was a nice and tidy place, and that maybe he wasn’t all bad.
I’m all for outrage! Especially since lately there have been a few too many commenting whiners who are getting pissy because I think goose-stepping theocrats are evil, or that creationists are idiots, or that politicians who monitor our phone calls are tyrannical scumbags. If you’re complaining because I don’t compromise in damning these people, rather than complaining about what they do, the problem isn’t me: it’s your superficiality.