Archive for the ‘#congressionalbaseballgame’ Tag

Choose Civility; It Could Save Lives   12 comments

Every so often, I get a nasty-gram on my blog or email and it happened last night. Apparently, “right-wingers” like me are the reason men in their 60s open fire in a park and if we’d just shut up about “your hateful ideas”, the world would be a safer place. The rest of the blog comment contains quite a few words that aren’t allowed on broadcast airwaves, so … yeah, no publicity for you, dude.

Image result for image of civilityBut here’s the thing … I wasn’t exactly feeling the love from this guy. He spent about two sentences on the ideas he doesn’t approve of and a few thousand words on what he thinks of my character, my parents (who have been dead in excess of 30 years, so I’m not sure what they have to do with anything) and the degenerate moral atmosphere of Alaska, Republicans and libertarians. He even spent five sentences on Ron Paul and several sentences on Donald Trump.

So, while I won’t publish the comment, I did forward it to an ultra-liberal social worker friend of mine who has been arguing with me “across the divide” for some years and asked her what she thought.

One, she thinks the shooting in Alexandria wouldn’t have occurred if the country’s “right-wingers” would embrace PC. Just accept whatever the Huffington Post says is moral and don’t sweat it and the world will be a safer place. Actually, that’s second sentence is my interpretation of her carefully worded reply to me, but when I floated it as an interpretation, she replied “LOL. Basically.”


PC is often used as a strawman by people who value free speech. It tends to unhinge those who value political correctness. It’s like sticking a burr under a horse’s saddle to make it buck for the rodeo. Why? Because the PC crowd thinks they’re just being polite.

But there’s a difference between civility and political correctness. Let me provide you with an example.

Lela doesn’t like racist humor because it offends others and she isn’t a jerk. That’s civility. Lela is polite.

Kelli doesn’t like racist humor because she believes certain social attitudes contribute to strengthening systemic bigotry within power structures and subconsciously influence us to commit acts of violence. Kelli believes that when Bible-believing Christians question modern gender theory, “misgender” somebody or commit some similar “microaggession,” we contribute to a culture that marginalizes non-gender-conforming people, thus increasing the high suicide rate in that demographic.

There’s a part of me that could almost be convinced by Kelli’s argument until I apply those same assumptions to any other group. Veterans and soldiers have a very high suicide rate, but we still criticize US foreign policy and military action. We even burn flags, which tends to upset veterans and soldiers.

Young men have a high suicide rate, but male-bashing is not considered a hate crime. Christians don’t have a high suicide rate, but not because they’re not marginalized. Turn into The Detour and you’ll see us routinely bashed, mischaracterized, and denigrated. We can do the same mental gymnastics for many other groups, but the fact remains that we treat people in these other groups as if their feelings don’t matter, so clearly the motivations for being PC different from those for civility.

I don’t want to upset or alienate anyone, so I monitor my language. Alternatively, Kelli believes improper uses of language is equivalent to physical violence.

I’m polite. Kelli is PC. I’m a nice person. Kelli is an ideologue. Kelli doesn’t see a difference between us (so long as I keep my mouth shut). But here’s where we part company. I reserve the right to question authority and new social arrangements, to point out when the emperor is not wearing clothes. That is the essence of free speech … to be able to talk about ideas without attacking each other’s character or taking offense that someone disagrees with us. Kelli believes it’s all right to state your opinion so long as your opinion aligns with political correctness. If it doesn’t, you should remain silent in society and probably go to a counselor for reprogramming.

She would label what used to be ordinary discussion as physical violence, but that standard is unevenly applied across society. Some people’s feelings and beliefs are more important than other people’s feelings and beliefs, so those with the unacceptable feelings and beliefs are expected to remain silent or find themselves treated quite violently. That’s the inevitable results of political correctness.

Instead, we ought to strive for civility. It recognizes that everybody has value as a human being, but not all ideas have value. It allows us to discuss differing viewpoints as equals, to weigh and balance their merits and to either decide to let each other be when the ideas are foolish but not harmful or try to persuade others to a wiser belief when ideas may hold harm to themselves or others.

I don’t favor using government coercion to change other people’s opinions. I also don’t favor attacking each other’s character because of the opinions we hold. You can be wrong without being evil, stupid or insane. Wrong is a difference of opinion correctable by knowledge exchange. Evil is a character flaw that will not be changed by all the discussion the world.

See the difference?

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