Not incivil enough


Chuck Wendig eloquently says what I think.

There will be renewed calls for civility. Ignore them. They ask for civility as a way for you to grant them complicity in what they do.

Civility is for normalcy. When things are normal and working as intended, civility is part of maintaining balance. But when that balance is gone, civility does not help return it but rather, destabilize it further. Because your civility gives them cover for evil.

Note: this isn’t the same as calling for violence. But it is suggesting that you should not be shamed for using vigorous, vulgar language. Or for standing up in disobedience. Or for demanding acknowledgement and action in whatever way you must.

Fuck Trump. But he’s just the ugly fake-gold mask they’ve put on this thing. Fuck all the GOP, fuck that blubbering, bristling frat boy judge, fuck McConnell, Ryan, Grassley, Collins, every last one of them. Fuck them for how they’ve shamed victims and helped dismantle democracy.

They will tell you to smile, that we need to get back to business, that we gotta heal the rift and blah blah blah — but that’s the desire of a savvy bully, who wants you to stop crying after he hit you, who wants you not to fight back. But you can cry. And you can fight back.

They can eat shit. All of them. They can eat a boot covered in shit.

Winter is coming, you callous fucknecks, you prolapsed assholes, you grotesque monsters, you racists and rapists and wretched abusers, you vengeful petty horrors.

Sidenote: some will tell you to be civil because our rage and scorn will fuel the other side, but fuck that double standard in both its ears.

“Well, if you hadn’t said those SASSY WORDS and demonstrated ANGER at our whittled-down democracy, I for a second might’ve been convinced not to eat this baby. But fie! Fie on you! Your incivility MADE me eat this baby!”

Spoiler warning: they were always gonna eat that baby.

Meanwhile, over on the other side of entitled apologists for the status quo, we’ve got Jonathan Haidt blaming both sides:

He’s ably rebutted by Gretchen Koch, but I have a shorter response: fuck Jonathan Haidt.

Comments

  1. rpjohnston says

    Defy the Supreme Court.

    This is not Star Trek. When they decide it is your turn to die, do not meekly step into the disintegrator.

    This goes for regular folks and politicians. When the Supreme Court rules for evil, defy it. Make it pay, dearly, for every evil decision.

    And FWIW: It is not uncommon for “nonviolent” movement to work at the same time as, if not in concert with, more…aggressive movements. Tools are tools. If you want to get a nail in, you don’t use a wrench; and if you want to remind people that they are as fragile as the thousands of lives that they presumptuously cast away from on high and should perhaps not be so cavalier about it, well, that’s why we punch Nazis.

  2. nomdeplume says

    One of the many hypocrisies of the Right is the demand, after some appalling political event that they have won, that the Left “get over it”. In the reverse situation of course the Right never get over it, and keep on fighting until they get the situation reversed.

  3. Rob Grigjanis says

    They can eat a boot covered in shit.

    A hobnail boot. With fishhooks and caltrops, and more shit, inside it.

  4. willj says

    I read a lot of dystopian scifi novels as a kid. Never thought I’d be living in one, especially after Obama. How quickly the winds change. Hope that’s true in Nov, but I’m a skeptic. No more civility. Rage.

  5. angela78 says

    Note: this isn’t the same as calling for violence. But it is suggesting that you should not be shamed for using vigorous, vulgar language.

    I strongly disagree on this. Even if you know that you’re right and you’re fighting against stupid or dishonest people, you should not fall into vulgar and “incivil” attacks, for two important reasons:
    1) Everyone is always certain he is right: your opponents are, too: if you bring the debate to a lower level, into shouting and name calling, they will be entitled to do the same.
    2) It’s very easy to escalate from civil confrontation down to two parties shouting at each other. This quickly spreads to all the sociery, the media, the everyday language and behaviour.

    I say that with a reason: in my conutry we have just experienced this, a bunch of racists and populists took the power and is gaining power by playing the layman approach. The result is terrible.

  6. leerudolph says

    angela78, in my country (the one under discussion), someone who wrote what you just wrote in this thread would be called a “concern troll”. Maybe you aren’t one. And even if you are, I’ll withhold my vigorous, vulgar language. For now. In vigorous, non-vulgar language: your advice is bad, and I don’t intend to take it.

  7. rpjohnston says

    @7:

    1: “Why, if we start being rude and mean, the Republicans might start being rude and mean!” They’re already fucking doing it, have been for a long time, and to a far greater degree than we ever will short of adopting a general Left-wide consensus and extermination and torture of Republicans for the lulz. Also: “why, everybody thinks they are right, and what is truth, really?” The bullet won’t care about your vacuous bullshit as it come down the fascist’s barrel. The Truth is, it will tear your flesh from your body and you will die.

    More fucking equivocation that I no longer feel like being witty about. Truth is real and the truth of the damage that they have done and intend to do to us is real. Don’t fuck with us.

  8. ardipithecus says

    @7 angela78

    “The result is terrible.”

    Civil discourse is great, but it is only useful when all parties engage in it. When authoritarianism or tyranny raises its head, civility becomes a liability. How well did civility work for you?

  9. mcfrank0 says

    “In the reverse situation of course the Right never get over it, and keep on fighting until they get the situation reversed.”

    Actually, they NEVER get over it. Nursing grudges is one their most powerful means of getting shit done. In fact, I believe that one of the reasons for the push for Kavanaugh in particular was a way to renew the festering wound of Bork’s dismissal as that incident was slowly becoming the distant past.

  10. Saad says

    I shudder to think how many grudges and biases this frat bro jock asshole will be bringing to the SCOTUS. Fuck this country.

  11. Akira MacKenzie says

    To summarize Haidet’s tweet:

    ”WAAAAH! STOP IT! I HATE IT WHEN YOU FIGHT! STOP IT!”

  12. angela78 says

    @10 ardipithecus:
    What is happening here is that, to fight against incivil populists, many of the liberal and democratic groups are taking up their methods. So we have “civil” and sensible people with quite a limited success, and vulgar and verbally violent “liberals” who are becoming more and more like the populist.
    And “very normal” 10 yo children in the school who start saying “fuck you” or “I’ll wipe my ass with the national flag” to the teachers, just because that’s what they read everyday in the news from politicians.

  13. angela78 says

    @8 leerudolph:
    I ‘m not here to troll. And I’m not saying that libertarians should not fight againsts bad ideas and bad persons with all their strenght and in a very firm manner. But you can be sarcastic and let your opponents show their own stupidity without going out and shouting “stupid! stupid! stupid!”: only, it takes much more effort. But it’s worth it.

  14. EigenSprocketUK says

    The difference, @7+14 angela78, is that we can say “fuck your pathetic and obvious lies, and here’s the reason why. Yes indeed, it’s uncivil to swear, but here’s why we’re swearing; here’s why we’re not falling for your right-wing horseshit.” They, on the other hand, have no justification to be uncivil in return.

  15. gijoel says

    @14. No, and if you want to be civil then perhaps you shouldn’t patronizingly compare us to children.

  16. melonpie says

    Sidenote: some will tell you to be civil because our rage and scorn will fuel the other side, but fuck that double standard in both its ears.

    I don’t disagree that the reason for being civil cited here is a bad one, but I do think that while anger, and it’s certainly justified – no doubt, might have a role to play in pushing back against the currently ascendant fascist resurgence, I think “civility” has a role to play too! The problem is whole sections of the population have been radicalized and anger works in some cases while cooler engagement also works in other cases. I know it’s definitely too much to ask of the people directly affected to affect civility in the face of their rights and lives being crushed and I would never ask them of that. But “allies” who have the spoons and the means and a reasonable expectation that cooler engagement(in some cases) will work, shouldn’t be discouraged from doing so.

    All I’m saying is if you’re angry, be productively angry by all means, but also don’t fall into the trap of thinking anger is the only viable response in all cases. This is a long game and we need all tools that work. I realize the OP’s point may not have been a call to anger by everyone in every engagement, but just wanted to put it out there that “civility”, however distasteful it might seem at the moment, can be a useful tool too.

  17. Marissa van Eck says

    I’ve been screaming at people for years now not to “be civil,” because the right-wingers telling us to be civil are laughing at us. They see us as suckers, fools, people who will play by the rules even when the rules are against us. And I just got tut-tutted at–mostly by men, for some reason–for not being civil.

    Fuck that. We’ve just witnessed the death of the rule of law in the US, a death that’s been long and drawn out and agonizing for 45 years ever since that pusillanimous little coward Ford pardoned Nixon. Kavanaugh and the newly 6-3 partisan SCOTUS will make Trump invincible, above the law, permanently. And this was always Trump’s goal. Ginsburg can’t hang on much longer either, which means the sneering fascists will delightfully fill HER position with that horrible fundamentalist woman, all the while leering and laughing “It’s a woman isn’t it? Isn’t this what you want?”

    Not only is the time for civility long past, but I’m beginning to wonder if the time for violence is coming. Back on 9/11, when I was a junior in high school, I knew deep in my heart we’d begun down a dark path, but I never expected it to happen this quickly.

    This is the end.

  18. imthegenieicandoanything says

    BK is a member of Omega Theta Pi made “good.”

    Republicans do have two types: those administering the paddle with perverted* glee, and those receiving it – some with equally perverted* glee and others because they will do anything to side with the bullies (hoping to lesson the intensity of the violence and humiliation done to them while feeding of the scraps of violence and humiliation served to others).
    No Republican or “conservative” (under the age of eighty) ever seems to convincingly deny (even to themselves) the emptiness and evil, selfish and yet insincere nihilism their every action and word (as “conservatives” – sometimes that tiny ember of humanity flares up, esp. in the more powerless among them) express.

    To be “conservative” is to be unabashedly (yet always embarrassed) horrible and utterly dishonest at all times and about everything.

    No Republican or “conservative” can expect “civility” any more than an unreformed, bragging Nazi or murderer or child molester can.

    They are indeed fortunate I don’t tear a piece out of their fat asses. That is what I communicate to them.

    Weepy-eyed, or else fiercely indignant, or weepily indignant, they tell how unfair I am not to flatter them for doing evil.

    “Fuck off, self-made non-human. And ‘bye.”

    *Only “perverted” because it is lied about

  19. iiandyiiii says

    To angela78 at #7:

    Vulgarity and incivility aren’t for everyone. If you want to argue civilly, feel free. But others will make different choices, and every approach can be effective in different circumstances. Feel free to be “nice”. Others may not be so “nice”, and sometimes not being nice is necessary to get things done.

  20. says

    We need uncivil people. if nothing else for “You can deal with me now, or deal with them later”
    Just remember you are ultimately on the uncivil persons side.

  21. angela78 says

    @17 gijoel
    You are clearly incapable to understand even simple text. I didn’t compare anyone to chidren: I spoke about actual children’s behaviour. If you want to find a parallel, this would be: “your children could start behaving like our children”.

  22. willj says

    Not only is the time for civility long past, but I’m beginning to wonder if the time for violence is coming. -MvE

    I feel it too. Either the left rolls over and dies, or we’re headed for some kind of civil war. The law is now working against us. The time for civility is long past. It died with Trump. This is war.

  23. vucodlak says

    @ angela78, #7

    1) Everyone is always certain he is right

    Nope. I question myself all the time, and I am hardly unique in that.

    if you bring the debate to a lower level, into shouting and name calling, they will be entitled to do the same.

    The other side fervently wishes that people like me die in as horrible a manner that they can devise. I’d say they’ve already reach peak asshole, and there’s really nothing I could do to sink lower than they have. I find it a little personally insulting. How is a demonic aspirant like me supposed to compete with their sheer petty wickedness?

    Seriously though, I will not “debate” them over whether I, and all the other vulnerable people whose lives they have declared do not matter, get to have rights. I have rights. If they want to take them, they will have to kill me. I’m dead either way, so it’s not so much a courageous stance as it is the only one left to me, but if all I have left to me is spite… well, at least I’ll be playing to my strengths.

    It’s very easy to escalate from civil confrontation down to two parties shouting at each other.

    Once again: they’ve already escalated to rape, torture, and murder. They’ve built godsdamned concentration camps.

    The problem is not that our side has resorted to incivility. The problem is that we’re just now getting to the point that we’re willing to shout insults at them. We’re way beyond the point where mere angry words will suffice.

    We have one last chance for a civil approach to work- the election next month. If we win big, and if the Democrats grow a spine enough to do the right thing and drop the hammer of the law on every complicit fucker in this administration hard, then we might avoid war. If that doesn’t happen, then it’s only a matter of time before the world goes up like a fireworks factory in a forest fire.

    It will take a near miracle for the Democrats to win enough seats to pull something like that off, and it will take another for them to actually attempt it, but that’s where we are now. Beyond that there is only war. We might limp along for another couple of decades, but if Trump and company are anywhere but a prison in 2020 then the world will burn.

    It’s one minute to Midnight, and there isn’t a second to waste. We haven’t lost until the missiles are flying. We either fight like hell, or we lie down and wait to die.

  24. springa73 says

    Until recently, I was a big proponent of civility. Upon thinking about things a little more, though, I realize what should have been obvious to me much earlier – civility only works when both sides are willing to extend it. I see no sign that the far right in this country is willing to extend any respect or civility to those on the other side. The “moderate” right may include people who are personally more civil, but they also seem to side with the far right and make excuses for them whenever disputes arise. At this point in US history, the far right is just much more aggressive at demonizing its opponents than even most of the left, even the far left, is. I know of no left-wing equivalent to the bizarre right-wing conspiracy theories in which Democrats are portrayed as heinous criminals worthy of being arrested en masse.

    In short, it’s no wonder that people on the left lose patience with the idea of being civil toward people who are consistently uncivil toward them.

  25. angela78 says

    @21 iiandyiiii

    Vulgarity and incivility aren’t for everyone.

    Yes, they are. Only, some people are able to understand why it is important to keep them under control, and some of them actually succeed in doing it. You should not be so proud to be outside both of these groups, because you are actually sponsoring free incivilty fro everyone.

    I see a lot of testosterone in this thread: a “civility is for sissies” approach. Bah.

  26. Ichthyic says

    and we see a lot of ignorance on your part: a “head in the sand” approach. Bah.

  27. Marissa van Eck says

    Go away, Angela. And that’s the civil version. That is not a direct translation of “idi na khuy” by a long shot.

  28. nomdeplume says

    @31 Surely if only people had been more civil to Hitler and his friends in 1933 all that later unpleasantness could have been avoided…?

  29. Saad says

    angela78, #14

    What is happening here is that, to fight against incivil populists, many of the liberal and democratic groups are taking up their methods.

    Bullshit. Their methods are not merely incivility. The main issue with right-wingers isn’t their manners. It’s their dismantling of our democracy and their obsession with doing anything to hurt anyone who is not a white rich straight cis man, even if it means destroying their own country.

  30. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    You are clearly incapable to understand even simple text. I didn’t compare anyone to chidren: I spoke about actual children’s behaviour.

    Are you actually stupid enough to believe that children have not routinely been swearing for the entire time you’ve been alive at least?

  31. iiandyiiii says

    Haven’t figured out how to quote yet, but this is in response to angela78 #27: “Yes, they are. Only, some people are able to understand why it is important to keep them under control, and some of them actually succeed in doing it. You should not be so proud to be outside both of these groups, because you are actually sponsoring free incivilty fro everyone.

    I see a lot of testosterone in this thread: a “civility is for sissies” approach. Bah.”

    I’m actually generally civil also — I’m very bad at being vulgar and uncivil, I’ve found. It never feels natural to me, and thus I think it comes across as fake. But that’s just for me. Like PZ says — I’ll do me, and you do you. But others might choose different tactics, and other tactics can be very effective too. Sometimes those other tactics are even the only thing that works. Violating the rules of buses or lunch counters might not have seemed civil to the white majorities of those Southern towns in the mid-20th, but it was absolutely the right thing to do. There are times in which doing the right thing requires incivility.

  32. weylguy says

    If Trump got $400 million by cheating on his taxes, then all Americans should stop filing their State and Federal tax returns. If enough people would do it, there aren’t enough police or FBI/IRS agents to deal with it. Put 50 million Americans in prison? I don’t think so.

  33. cartomancer says

    You know, it strikes me that what desperately needs to happen is the dissolution of the United States back into its constituent parts. Rather than one huge country, you ought to become fifty or so normal-sized ones. That way your vast and overweening military would have to be cut back to sensible levels, your corrupt government couldn’t wield nearly as much power over you as it currently does, and there would have to be a major re-think of all the inadequate constitutional provisions that have caused you so much trouble in the last fifty years. The rest of the world would then breathe a huge sigh of relief – particularly the bits of it you have been bombing and disrupting for your own ends.

    It might also end the craven, sickening levels of unthinking jingoism that poison your national discourse. Or, at least, redirect such jingoism onto much smaller entities which can’t do nearly as much damage as a continent-wide empire like you currently have can.

  34. anchor says

    @27: “I see a lot of testosterone in this thread.”

    I don’t. I see a lot of (CIVIL) restraint on this thread where you are concerned.

  35. Kamaka says

    For the life of me, I don’t understand how Obama let the odious Mitch McConnell (https://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/historian-nazism-explains-why-gop-senate-leader-mitch-mcconnell-gravedigger) get away with the Scotus robbery. That was MY vote he stole and I am pissed. Now I have to live with this shit for the rest of my life.

    Think full blown theocratic authoritarianism with a court that’s going to rubber stamp it all.

    Obama should have taken Merrick Garland by the arm, under U.S. Marshal guard, to the Supreme Court and installed him.

    Something along the lines of “you won’t do your job, so I’ll do it for you”.

    Mitch McConnell, you are an arrogant Rat-Bastard. Barak Obama, you’re a Chickenshit. Fuck you both. With porcupines.

  36. Kamaka says

    angela78 @27:

    “I see a lot of testosterone in this thread: a “civility is for sissies” approach.”

    Gendered slurs don’t go over well in this town.

    You new around here?

  37. deepak shetty says

    He’s ably rebutted by Gretchen Koch, but I have a shorter response: fuck Jonathan Haidt.

    Lets follow that logic all the way through. 30-40% of Americans support the present GOP. 30-50% vehemently oppose them. Lets agree that both sides should hate each other to the fullest extent possible (hey we are the good guys , we only hate them for what they have done to us and they have only hatred anyway). Lets all agree to find the vilest names and insults for the other side. Now what ? The logical consequence of this is eventually civil war – many people will die , most of them wont deserve it.
    Will the right side win ? Will the problem be solved?(hey the right side did win the civil war ! No more problems for colored people, right)
    Or lets apply the same thinking to other problems. Terrorists are the vilest human beings alive (well next to McConnell anyway). Lets bomb the fuck out of them. problem solved , no? Wait lets abuse them on social media, that is going to be even more effective.

    Where in history have you seen that hatred from both sides has solved anything? What is the purpose of this hatred ? The only way you can solve this problem is if you can convince 20-30% of GOP supporters that they are wrong and they need to cross over to this side. If you are truly someone who believes in science and scientific studies then I challenge you to find the study that says “Telling the other side to go fuck themselves is the most effective form to get people to change their minds”

  38. Kamaka says

    deepak shetty @ 44

    “The only way you can solve this problem is if you can convince 20-30% of GOP supporters that they are wrong and they need to cross over to this side.”

    Or people could get up off their asses and go vote. That would work, too.

    All except for the ‘ain’t gonna happen’ part.

  39. John Morales says

    deepak shetty,

    Where in history have you seen that hatred from both sides has solved anything?

    Carthago delenda est

  40. consciousness razor says

    deepak shetty:

    Lets all agree to find the vilest names and insults for the other side. Now what ? The logical consequence of this is eventually civil war – many people will die , most of them wont deserve it.

    The logical consequence of name-calling and insulting is civil war? That escalated quickly.
    You’ll have to explain it to me. How exactly does this lead to civil war?

    Will the right side win ? Will the problem be solved?

    Do you mean if we’re not civil to raging assholes, or if we did the thing you’ve confused with that (fighting a war)? Do I need to be confused like you in order to answer this?

    hey the right side did win the civil war !

    How can you tell? By your reckoning, neither side was “civil.”

    You don’t seem clear on the concept. But if by chance you do somehow come to recognize that civility is not equivalent to what’s morally good or acceptable, then shouldn’t you argue in favor of the latter instead?

    What is the purpose of this hatred ?

    Being unkind to raging assholes doesn’t qualify as hatred in my book. Let’s put it somewhat neutrally: I have views, experiences, emotions, etc., and I try to express them unambiguously to others.

    Are you asking me what the purpose is of that? (Is there one? Does it need to be purposeful? Does Yahweh need to come down and tell you the reasons why people like me were designed to be like this?)

    Or is it about the utility of expressing myself openly and honestly? Dissembling hasn’t worked well for me in the past — people tend not to get the message, since I’m failing to communicate it to them clearly. I take responsibility for what I say. And silence … well, it’s certainly not obvious that would do any good. When I don’t have anything nice to say, I prefer to say what I actually think (should I be blamed for that?), not whatever I believe will make raging assholes more comfortable or will make me seem more likable to them. I don’t think they need to feel comfortable, nor do they need to like me. Those are definitely not my main interests when interacting with such people. They should try to understand how awful they’re being and change their behavior.

  41. vucodlak says

    I was born in the mid-80s. I grew up believing that we, as a species, had finally begun to wake up from the madness that almost drove us to destroy ourselves. I had hope, for a while.

    I’ve spent the last 15-20 years learning that the problem is not that we were mad, but that we are depraved. Every day brings fresh horrors; new atrocities, or old ones I’d never even heard of before. A little over a decade ago I resolved to learn how deep the well of human evil goes, and how far my capacity for wickedness might carry me if I gave it lease to run. The latter is purely a thought experiment, but it has been educational.

    As for the former, it seems I made an error in judgement. It’s not a well at all, for wells have bottoms. Our depravity is depthless and endless. It comes in every shape imaginable and I can learn of five I’d never before dreamed of before breakfast every single day. I can’t look away. For so long I forced myself to look at it when looking away would have been so much easier that now I’ve lost the capacity to close my eyes.

    The weirdest thing is that I still have hope. Probably it’s just because I’m mad, but I can’t deny that I’ve seen incredible acts of mercy and goodness in the morass of all the awful things we’ve done. We can be better. The capacity for good is within us.

    All that smothering horror, with the occasional sparks of hope, has been instructive. Goodness isn’t about laws- most of the law is firmly on the side of evil. Goodness isn’t about being nice- kindness is what really matters. Civility? Civility is just an ugly lie the powerful use to keep the people they’re stepping on from spitting on their $1800-a-pair Italian loafers.

    Nevertheless, I am civil in my everyday life, not because I am good, but because I am a coward. I am surrounded by people who worship our petty, venal, cruel president. I generally say nothing when they trumpet his lies and hatred, because if I spoke the truth they’d brand me uncivil, and eventually one of them would kill me. This is a Stand Your Ground state, and a lot of the people I run into every day are carrying guns. All they have to do is say they “felt threatened” and they can gun me down with impunity. Nobody’s gonna miss a queer, crazy recluse like me.

    My point is that “civility” is certain to get us all killed, because there is no possible way for us to frame the truth that it won’t be labeled “uncivil.” It doesn’t matter how delicately we phrase it, or how softly we speak it- the truth is the enemy of our enemy, and if we let them continue to shout the truth down (for that is what they have been doing for decades) then the lies will reign, the war will come, and the World. Will. Burn.

    Speak the truth. If they try to shout you down, scream it louder. If they try to fence you in, tear it down. If they accuse you of being uncivil, then tell ‘em to dust themselves in cayenne powder and get intimate with a barrel cactus. Speak the truth however you can, or the lies will be our epitaph.

  42. Porivil Sorrens says

    I don’t really see what’s wrong with that children example. Wiping your ass with the national flag is dope and commendable. Fuck nationalism in any form.

  43. logicalcat says

    Angela,

    There is a great passage in Dr. King’s “Letters from a Birmingham prison”. Have you read it? Its meant for you.

  44. lotharloo says

    Fuck being nice and civil.

    What I hate about “call to civility” is that it is weak and dishonest. Let’s address the latter first: I honestly and genuinely believe that Republicans are scums, almost all the their politicians are scums and a great percentage of their voters are scums and I can back these up with evidence. Why should I censor my opinion? Your only argument is that “oh but then a Republican can come up with a similar argument that Democrats are scums.” Yes but first, they already do and second so what?

    And to address the former, force civility is a weak strategy and the success of the Republican party shows why. You seem to think that the way to victory is through convincing the other side. This is a common misconception but as the Republican strategy shows, the way to victory is through firing up your base and the silent portion of your base that never or rarely votes. “Civility and offering the olive branch” does not fire up your base and it also does not convince the other side to vote for you. Why would a Republican vote for a “nice Democrat” against a “true Republican” while he/she is being bombarded by messages and propaganda from their side that the “nice Democrat” is actually an evil Satan-worshipping pedophile, gay, gender-bender or whatever?

  45. fernando says

    What you all really need to do, is not being more polite or less polite to your political adversaries.
    Is abolishing the electoral college and making all elected federal offices (president or judges of the supreme court) being elected directly by the people or by their representatives, following the principle of more constituents =more votes.
    A system in wich the candidate with more votes (about more 3.000.000) lose the presidential election or a judge is elected by senators that represent around 140.000.000 people, against other senators that represent around 180.000.000 people is not a democracy.

  46. cartomancer says

    newfie, #39

    Divide them up equally, give them all to Minnesota, raffle them off to whoever wants them – ultimately it doesn’t matter much. The point is that without a continental empire’s resources and ambitions behind it, the current US nuclear arsenal will wither and shrink to a far less dangerous level. Arkansas will not want to spend money on missile systems threatening the Ukranian border. Rhode Island will not need its own fleet of nuclear submarines. Alaska will not have the resources to maintain ruinously expensive military bases the world over. The whole landscape of global power balance would change overnight, and military spending would have to change to go with it. Just as the whole landscape of military power changed when the Roman Empire gradually dissolved into smaller, less centralised units of influence in late antiquity. Nobody could afford to pay for the legions, so they were dismantled and disappeared.

    You know, I’ve often seen American pundits compare the events of our own time to the collapse of the Roman Republic in the first century BC. This particular brand of doomsaying is perhaps inevitable, given the cultural pretensions of the US – borrowing directly from Ciceronian-Tacitean rhetoric that lauded the Republic as an ideal form of government and branded the Principate as a crude and tyrannical corruption of it that became inevitable with the decline of good, old-fashioned civic virtue. But I don’t think this is the appropriate comparison at all. The Republic collapsed because its institutions were not appropriate to the running of a continental empire, with the power and potential of that empire giving rise to contradictions that could not be resolved by a system of government designed to run a medium-sized city state.

    The US, by contrast, was set up as a continental empire from the beginning. It was designed as an imperial war machine by experienced imperialists and has worked marvelously well towards that end. No, I think what we’re seeing here is more analogous to the eventual decline and fall of the Principate – a complex range of factors leading to the shift of power away from imperial institutions and the increasing irrelevance of those institutions to the people living under them. I think that the current crisis is a symptom of that alienation, and we will see the gradual break-up of the union over the coming century unless there is radical reform of a kind entirely unknown in the ancient world.

  47. unclefrogy says

    be more civil? I do not think that would be possible. in the case of judge drunkard hearings the only reason they did an extra FBI background check as incomplete as it was was because some women uncivilly confronted a senator in an elevator.

    as an historical reminder Dr.King was an advocate of civil disobedience which was uncivil but none violent. How ever he was not the only one who had a voice and the ear of the public their was Malcolm advocating any means necessary.
    uncle frogy

  48. unclefrogy says

    as much as I feel that the US has been an imperialist nation and has and still causing much trouble. i do not see how breaking it up into individual parts in this day and age given the players in the rest of the world and their apparent ambitions would lead to anything like world peace nor a resurgence of democracy world wide.
    I do think one of the good things that may come out of all this shit is the US relinquishing its role as leader of the free world .
    uncle frogy

  49. says

    call to be civil makes no sense because it won’t work
    you can’t civilize everyone on your side. Some will be uncivil or violent

    and one example will be enough for the other side to use it as excuse. So your side will be blamed for being uncivil regrdless of your efforts.
    However, being uncivil is just a tool. Sometimes and towards some people being civil will work better, sometimes the only way to reach someone is to be as rude as possible

    @pzmyers
    why “fuck you” to Jonathan Haidt?
    tweet itself is just pointing out a raise of hatred between groups and assigns this factor some meaning in “end justifies the means” behavior.

    the response of Gretchen Koch is justified only if we assume that Haidt blames hatred on one side to be the main factor causing hatred on the other.
    It is probable that he thinks so. but tweet alone doesn’t say that, the reasons may ba as well Afghanistan and Iraq as a reason to hate republicans and Obama being black as a reason to hate democrats

    So I assume other tweets explain his position in more detailed way?

  50. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    To Angela78 and the other apologists:
    What you don’t seem to realize is that we are dealing with Nazis here–actual Nazis. Compromise and civility usually don’t go that well with folks of that type. The second civil war is already under way–hell, for African Americans, the first civil war never ended. We on the left just haven’t started shooting back yet.

    These people equate us with actual demons–denizens of the fiery pits of hell. They are willing to sell our country out to anyone if they think it furthers their agenda–even Vladimir Putin. Ask the Skirpols or Alexander Litvinenko how live and let live worked with Putin.

  51. angela78 says

    @59 a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    To Angela78 and the other apologists:

    I’ll let this answer to any apologist that could be here. I’m not one.

  52. mesh says

    The hilarious part is, if civility was ever going to work in our favor, why are Republicans calling for it? Simply not living under a rock during the 2016 US election should’ve been enough to dispense with the myth that incivility is a liability.

    Seriously, go back and review the footage of the guy sneering about “Crooked Hillary”, leading chants of “lock her up”, bemoaning the political correctness keeping protesters from getting beat up and him from disparaging women, calling Mexicans rapists, etc. That’s the guy who won, bigly. He proved that incivility works and that civility is only as effective as both sides’ willingness to abide by it.

    We can either learn from that and push back or we can stay the course of mealy-mouthed dancing around eggshells like Republicans want and watch as the impassioned demagogue once again galvanizes his full base while ours fractures.

  53. Porivil Sorrens says

    Civility is something you try BEFORE you have a party explicitly devoted to fucking over everyone who’s not a cishet white dude in the position to erase every civil rights gain in the last century.

  54. says

    fernando@53, how would turning Supreme Court Judges into politicians improve things? Because that’s what electing them will do. Various levels of the judicial system are already elected in the United States, depending on the state.

  55. KG says

    I’ll let this answer to any apologist that could be here. I’m not one. – angela78@60

    Yes, you are. Your:

    Everyone is always certain he is right: your opponents are, too: if you bring the debate to a lower level, into shouting and name calling, they will be entitled to do the same.

    @7 is enough to prove that twice over. First, because the far right – which is what we are dealing with in the USA, in Europe, in many other places – are conscious, deliberate liars. They do not believe much of what they say; they say it both for tactical reasonas, and out of sheer cruelty, because they know it hurts those they despise. Second, they have already brought the “debate” (there is no “debate”, they are not interested in “debate”) down far below the level of simple insult or vulgarity: to constant lying, dehumanisation, hate speech.

  56. KG says

    fuck Jonathan Haidt – PZM

    It really takes an extraordinary amount of cheek on Haidt’s part to do anything other than shut his stupid mouth and keep it shut for the next few years. His whole schtick – that (American) conservatives just as moral as (American) liberals/progressives, or if anything more so because their morality is more broadly based (including values of loyalty, purity and sanctity alongside those they supposedly hold in common with liberals) has been comprehensively refuted by the vast majority of the right slavishly following Trump – than whom anyone less loyal, pure and sanctity-respecting is hard to imagine. But Haidt is so far up himself that he will still be blethering his “Both sides…” garbage when the extermination camps are operating at full speed.

  57. angela78 says

    @64 KG

    […] are conscious, deliberate liars. They do not believe much of what they say; they say it both for tactical reasonas, and out of sheer cruelty, because they know it hurts those they despise.

    …don’t tell me…really? Oh poor boy, welcome on planet Earth -the real one. Did you ever work in any kind of company with more than two employees? Didn’t you ever have to deal with lies, nastiness or rhetoric used to warp facts for personal advantage?
    I’ll give you some news: this happens always, everyday, everywhere. And in your job you cannot be “incivil” or “vulgar”, even if you ar right and your colleagues -or your boss, sometimes- are fucking lying assholes. You don’t scream, you don’t fight them on their level. You stay cool, you let them be the noisy clowns, and use your energies and your brains to win. It’s very difficult, it’s frustrating, but it works -while shouting never does if you are over 11.

    You simply cannot fight stupidity with stupidity, that’s all.

  58. willj says

    You simply cannot fight stupidity with stupidity, that’s all.

    If stupidity was all we were fighting, we’d win. We’re fighting power, aggression, and a whole lot of dirty tricks. It’s a nasty world out there. Anger is a useful motivator, and judging by the dems anemic voting record, they need motivation.

  59. springa73 says

    I would kind of want the US to stick together – a breakup would almost certainly mean a bloody civil war, and I kind of don’t want my country to be a much larger Syria.

    As for it benefiting the rest of the world, apart from the economic shock waves it would probably just mean that China and to a lesser extent Russia and India get to push everyone else around instead of the US.

  60. lotharloo says

    Just two random examples:

    1) Also, remember when Obama was civil and tried to have a bipartisan health care reform? Or when he tried to be civil and drag the details of Obama care on and on to include the scumbag Republicans?

    How did Republicans pay back that act of civility? By trying to repeal Obama care a million times and eventually succeeded it essentially completely dismantling it.

    2) Remember when Democrats did not push their supreme court nominee using the “nuclear option” because that would be uncivil?

    How did Republicans pay back that act of civility? By delaying the hearings, until their president was elected, then pushed their supreme court nominee using the nuclear option and then on this last supreme court nominee, they acted by basically spitting in the face of the Democrats, by letting Brett Dudebro get away with serious sexual misconduct allegations and perjury using a sham FBI investigation all the while blaming the Democrats for all the problems.

    Please don’t talk about civility.

  61. patricklinnen says

    Angela78, we are not talking a work environments with jerk-ass co-workers and pointy haired bosses. (And if that is your experience working, well civility wont help.) This is politics.

    The Democratic side has been civil, and the Republican side has responded with increasing incivility and bad faith over the past two decades. Misattributed to Albert Einstien, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

    So, Bless your heart, and never, Ever volunteer to be a counselor with survivors of domestic abuse. The advice you give is not healthy.

  62. rpjohnston says

    I’m reminded of what I consider one of the most important Star Trek episodes: A taste of Armageddon. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Taste_of_Armageddon

    The summary is brief and yall should read it, but the last line is the one that sticks out:

    “As the Enterprise prepares to leave orbit, Kirk argues to Spock that his choice was rational: the people of Eminiar VII had enjoyed order and stability for so long that they would do anything to avoid an actual war.” Anything, in this case. meaning allowing a computer to simulate who died in nuclear attacks, and then dutifully reporting to disintegration booths for execution.

    There are many on the Left, especially of those demographics that make it unlikely they themselves will ever be “killed”, that believe that order and stability are worth the price of other peoples’ lives.

  63. mnb0 says

    “There will be renewed calls for civility. Ignore them.”
    I totally agree! So here I go and apply this excellent advise to you and may of your fans.
    JMs are the atheist version of creationists.
    Shifting from Jesus never existed to Jesus was an mixture of messias claimants while muttering stuff about fictional stories in the NT as if that’s something remarkable for a character from Antiquity is the atheist equivalent of Alvin Plantinga, who dislikes evolution theory, but claims that he accepts it while sympathizing with IDiocy. Ie what you did a few days ago.
    I didn’t post this out of civility (and because you wrote some sensible stuff as well), but now you have given me permission. Thanks.

  64. angela78 says

    @70 patricklinnen
    We are not talking about counseling survivors of domestic abuse here: so thanks for your suggestion but 1) I don’t need it, and 2) it has nothing to do with this topic.

    Instead:

    we are not talking a work environments with jerk-ass co-workers and pointy haired bosses.(And if that is your experience working, well civility wont help.) This is politics.

    Actually, we are. You know that politicians are paid for their work, and are ina way employees of the US administration?
    But tell me, what would be your goal in being incivil against Republican politics? Per your admission they are liars who provoke and insult and hide the truth on purpose: do you really think that shouting bad words at them would make any difference? Do you expect them to change their mind, scared and impressed by your show of virility?
    And the same applies to republican voters of that kind: if they support injustice consciously to have an advantage, you’ll never change their mind.

    Your goal instead should be the others: all the people who vote republicans out of misinformation, ignorance, superficiality. These you can bring to reason and change their decisions, but I’ve never seen one single person change his mind when his belief are insulted in a nasty and aggressive way. State your reasons, defend them strongly, show the lies of your opponents, don’t be intimidated, and you’ll have a chance with someone.

    (by the way: this has been my experience on occasions during my -overall great- working life. My approach worked.)

  65. angela78 says

    @67 willj

    If stupidity was all we were fighting, we’d win. We’re fighting power, aggression, and a whole lot of dirty tricks. It’s a nasty world out there. Anger is a useful motivator, and judging by the dems anemic voting record, they need motivation.

    Agreed, Anger is a very powerful motivator. I’m not saying we should be apathic little robots who never complaint. What I say is: use anger as a motivator, to give you energy for your fights and actions. But to use it in this way you need to put it behind your actions, not in front of them. Anger -> brain -> strategy -> action and communication.

  66. fernando says

    @63 Timgueguen

    I was trying to say that, in my opinion, what is more important to do is changing the way the elections are made.
    In the USA the most voted candidate can loose to the least voted (Clinton vs Trump) and the senators that represent a minority of the population (140.000.000 americans) can elect a judge against the vote of senators that represent a majority in the popluation (180.000.000 americans).
    I don’t want judges in my country, in the USA or in any other part of the world, to be politicians.
    I want a truly functional democracy, not a oligarchic system, that was made to serve rich slaveowners, helpng them controlling the majority of the population.

  67. patricklinnen says

    Angela78, you are holding the position of ‘It is not polite to hit back. They will tire of hitting. Eventually.’ Also ignoring that they can do this in shifts. When one tires, one of their mates will take up the slack. (Or two, or more. The Republicans are willing to look at this as a team sport. With a laugh track.)

    Decrying incivility with “Tut, Tut. It is better to take the high-road, without exception.” is narrow minded bull. With a heaping side-order of “Well, it certainly won’t hurt me.”

    Their incivility does not impact just us. (And by ‘Us’, you have clearly indicated that you do not consider yourself as such.) Their incivility also impacts children (but what are 500+ children separated), pregnant women, people with pre-existing conditions, trans-oriented and trans-gendered people, and …. Ultimately impacts anyone that is not White, not of Anglo-Saxon decent (I wish this was redundant), and not Protestant (varies by sect and updated daily) cis-Oriented Male. Who does your civility help? None. What is your civility to their incivility? An object of in-circle snickering and a ready made stick to anyone that does not give them the knuckle-to-the-brow servile respect that they believe they deserve.

    Again you are not helping.

  68. iiandyiiii says

    Without incivility, we never would have had a Civil Rights movement, Apartheid would never have ended — hell, slavery wouldn’t have ended. Incivility was necessary for ending the worst atrocities and injustices in human history.

  69. vucodlak says

    @ angela78, #66

    It’s very difficult, it’s frustrating, but it works -while shouting never does if you are over 11.

    Really? The fascists have basically shouted themselves into power while people like you stand smugly on the sidelines admonishing the left not “stoop to their level.” The evidence of the past few years does not support your claim.

    You simply cannot fight stupidity with stupidity, that’s all.

    We aren’t dealing with stupidity. We’re dealing with malice- the deliberate destruction of the norms on which democratic and sustainable societies depend, just to stick it to liberals. The people doing it KNOW they’ll be hurt by their own actions, but they don’t care. Anything, just as long as it hurts liberals more.

    We don’t have to fight malice with malice. No one wins in that scenario. But we absolutely have to stop pretending that the poor dears who support (as one example) trashing the clean air and water acts are merely misguided, and can be coaxed back into light if we just moderate our tones and explain our positions 1,001 more times.

    These are people who modify their trucks so that they spew toxic black smoke, even though it makes them less fuel efficient and more hazardous to their health, just to hurt liberals (and everyone else they encounter). These are people who threaten to shoot your dog when you’re walking down the (public) street, just because they can. These people know right from wrong. They deliberately choose wrong.

    This is malice, and you don’t beat malice by pretending it’s something else.

  70. John Morales says

    vucodlak:

    Really? The fascists have basically shouted themselves into power while people like you stand smugly on the sidelines admonishing the left not “stoop to their level.”

    You’ve just wielded the cluestick most masterfully!

    (Seriously, though they’re only incidentally fascistic IMO — rather, they’re plutocrats)

  71. says

    @angela78:

    But tell me, what would be your goal in being incivil against Republican politics? Per your admission they are liars who provoke and insult and hide the truth on purpose: do you really think that shouting bad words at them would make any difference? Do you expect them to change their mind, scared and impressed by your show of virility?

    The goal would be to shift the Overton Window.

    When they say,

    “We’re going to cut taxes on billionaires to run up the debt! And we’re hoping that no one notices that every other time we’ve cut taxes without raising revenue it’s been a purposeful strategy to allow us to paint the country as in desperate fiscal trouble a couple years from now and use that to justify cutting essential government services!”

    And we respond:

    Well, Mssrs & Mmes, I believe that the consequences of this policy are both predictable and undesirable for the following reasons…

    the subtext is that this is a reasonable enough plan that we should debate it. If, however, we respond:

    Holy fuck, you’re crazy!

    we can create a dynamic that, over time, treats tax cuts for billionaires as crazy – the people have heard that’s true often enough that there’s a willingness to provisionally accept it, and also the Plutocrats never get a chance to actually articulate their mind-numbing rationales for how the Laffer Curve is Totally Science™ because they’re too busy being outraged that we said the word “fuck” in public.

    Treating outrageous tactics outrageously is appropriate, and as a side benefit, it’s actually politically productive. How the fuck do you think we got to the point where Republicans can dismiss policies that work as unacceptable? How do you think the Republicans ended up getting Clinton to enact his “welfare reform”? They treated certain ideas and policies as outrageous, and with enough repetition, the public went along.

    No, it’s not that the senators will suddenly change their votes because we say the word “fuck”. It’s that over time, people begin to accept that in our current context tax cuts for billionaires is an outrageous policy. When the general public does see things that way, then the Republicans can’t go out and defend (or even seriously suggest) tax cuts for billionaires, and the votes become irrelevant because the bill never gets introduced.

  72. willj says

    What I say is: use anger as a motivator, to give you energy for your fights and actions. But to use it in this way you need to put it behind your actions, not in front of them. Anger -> brain -> strategy -> action and communication.

    Yeah, that sounds logical. But try to win a street fight with logic. Reaction will serve you better. We’re dealing with with a party whose attitude is slash, burn, and destroy. Trump undid just about everything Obama did, out of pure spite. He’s not interested any kind of bipartisanship, and he’s driving the country towards an oligarchy or a dictatorship. His party will back him. In the end, it’s about what kind of country you want and how much you’re willing to fight for it. If we don’t do well in this next election, it’s not gonna be pretty.

  73. DanDare says

    Reminds me of the cartoon where the priest is bashing the atheist over the head with a big cross and calling him names.
    When the atheist grabs the cross and goes to break it the priest is saying “hey show some respect!”

  74. DanDare says

    The answer to the discussion is to know who your audience is and how it effects them.
    I believe that being civil on request is agreeing not to emotionally appeal to the people that the rethugs dont want us to appeal to.
    Fuck that.

  75. Saad says

    angela78, #73

    But tell me, what would be your goal in being incivil against Republican politics?

    The underlying issue with your argument is how you’re framing all this.

    Why does systematically working to harm and oppress women, LGBTQ people, black people and other POC get labeled “Republican politics” yet our response to it gets called “incivility”.

    Let’s reword your question correctly:

    But tell me, what would be your goal in being incivil against Republicans’ incessant efforts to deliberately mistreat and harm marginalized people?

    Try that and see what an asshole you sound like.

  76. says

    If you’re more upset about the word “fuck” than kids being locked in cages, you can politely go fuck yourself.
    The nice thing is that the acolytes of civility never have to provide any evidence. They’ll always find a kid on Twitter with 150 followers who used a bad word. And if it’s not that, they’ll simply shift the line. A lot of “civility” and supposed lack thereof is an indicator of class. a working class person expressing their opinion easily gets labelled “uncivil” for lack of standard grammar and especially in English, lack of hedges. They can then be dismissed without anybody every engaging with their argument.

  77. KG says

    angela78@66,

    More apologism from you – suggesting that the systematic lying, dehumanisation and hate speech of today’s far-right is simply the way things always are – together with a decidedly uncivil attempt at condescension. And a nice piece of hypocrisy @73:

    We are not talking about counseling survivors of domestic abuse here: so thanks for your suggestion but 1) I don’t need it, and 2) it has nothing to do with this topic.

    when of course – and despite your risible claims to the contrary, you were the one to introduce a context that had nothing to do with the topic in question – how best to behave with hostile colleagues or bosses as an employee. (As it happens, I found that on occasion, a bit of incivility worked very well when management were attempting to fool the staff into quietly accepting some outrageous idea.)

    In the political arena, the aim of those genuinely opposed to the far right must be less to convert their less convinced followers – although that can only be done by turning the anger those followers feel onto a more appropriate target – than to motivate those who are not supporters of the far right, but are apathetic, discouraged, despairing, or find it hard to focus on political issues because of personal, health or financial problems. This is particularly so in the USA, where voting turnout is abysmal, and increasing barriers are being placed in the way of voting and other forms of political participation.

  78. patricklinnen says

    KG@86; I have to say that I was the one to introduce that in comment 70. The reason I did this was that people that hold the position ‘Don’t fight back, it is not polite.’ in politics tend to hold the position ‘If you fight back, they will be even more angry and beat you more. And then your beating will be your fault.’ in other contexts.

    Just to clarify my bringing in extraneous topics.

  79. Porivil Sorrens says

    I like how incivility and violence is always framed as this offensive thing, where it’s the mean ol’ leftists being rude while the reactionaries pearl clutch and just try to go about their day. In actuality, the reactionaries are letting their dogs loose on us, and we’re just refusing to be nice and civil when they go for our throats.

  80. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    I find that sometimes being harsh and rude to coworkers or bosses can be more productive than trying to politely stir them in the right direction.
    Impolite and harsh words have their place. They give emphasis to arguments, especially when they come from otherwise polite and considerate people. Maybe some people think that those like PZ, when they laud incivility, mean we should yell at every little old lady who votes for right-wing politicians and incoherently scream at right-leaning relatives at our family gatherings. I’m pretty sure that’s not it.
    What it is, is a call to stop muddling about in trying to find the nicest way to call a sexist fuck a sexist fuck. Sometimes you just need to confront people directly, instead of treating them with kid gloves. Different situations will call for different responses, so maybe that little old lady will get just a polite nod and a “I don’t think you are quite right about that one.”, but a loud relative who keeps bragging about voting for the sickest conservative bastard while winking at your 16-year-old neighbour will get a much harsher treatment. How can anyone argue that the second response is necessarily wrong? While it might not change the relative’s mind, it will at least show support for the neighbour. And that’s what a lot of these calls for incivility are about: those who dare, those who can shout, doing so to give comfort and voice to those who can’t.

    I’m the first who would like us to all just be nice to each other. But people aren’t nice. And you won’t make very many of them any nicer by just groveling enough. Usually, that just makes them kick harder.

  81. says

    Does Angela not understand that these are literal fascists who want to kill us, literally murder me and mine and anyone like us, or does she just not care and think we should be polite to our killers while we’re bleeding out?

  82. Kamaka says

    abbeycadabra @ 90

    “these are literal fascists who want to kill us, literally murder me and mine and anyone like us”

    QFT

  83. richard peacock says

    Here’s some on civil truth: you’re having a mental breakdown. A corrupt, criminal, establishment politician lost an election and idiots such as you have lost your minds.

    There has been two years of screeching, screaming, whining, winging, crying, moaning, complaining, tantruming, lying & weeping.

    The DNC are leading America into a violent civil war, The upper echelons of a corrupt CIA and FBI I quarterbacking the plan for violence and establishment media is propagandising in the best spirit of PRAVDA.

    The funny thing is you actually think you are a rebel when in fact you’re on your knees to the establishment.

    Time to buck up and grow up little boy. You don’t always get what you want in life.

  84. says

    richard, are you ok? You sound a little confused, and very angry, and maybe you want to sit quietly in a cool place for a while?

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