In all the discussions about “civility” the last few years – both in the general public discourse, and on this blog – I’ve often had to wonder what the term means, because it seems to me that leftists routinely propose things which are incivil, in and of themselves. Things of which the mere proposition is a serious threat to, or attack upon, many of their fellow citizens.
As a hypothetical example, let’s take theft. If I come up to you and I propose / threaten, most politely, to steal your livelihood, property and earnings: am I not being incivil, no matter how polite my speech is?
Now suppose I don’t propose to take the risk of thieving from you directly, but instead I propose to have the government seize your earnings on my behalf. The example is no longer hypothetical; it’s what left-liberals propose every day of the year, in every political platform.
I could also talk about speech codes (leftists suppressing speech they don’t like), late-term abortion (leftists claiming the ‘right’ to kill viable human beings), gun control (leftists trying to take self-defense away from people they don’t like), government mandates (leftists endlessly proposing to tell their fellow citizens how to live – backed by government force), etc.
Why do we not recognize, and swiftly dismiss or condemn, their incivility? Is civility more a matter of the forms and rules that people uphold when speaking, or of the inner attitude/intent toward one’s fellow citizen?