More On Civility in Politics (or its Absence)

It tends to be conservatives who push loudest for civility in public discourse. Given that uncivility is often part of a challenge to the status quo, and given that conservative politics tend to favor the interests of whoever is doing well out of the status quo, a strategy of cabining dissent to means that are less likely to disturb the status quo is a natural and sensible political strategy. (I happen to think civility is a good thing most of the time, but for other reasons; if that happens to dovetail with traditional conservativism, well, that's the breaks.) The strategy runs into some trouble when the conservative movement allies with have-not populists; and it founders when the leadership of the movement is taken over by corporatists and especially by nuts.

Witness the following elements of civil discourse:

Compare to this much more civil and effective use of ridicule.

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