Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Civility in politics

Our friend Kate has some interesting thoughts on the subject, reminding us that, historically, politics has been a nasty business. Fair enough, better words as weapons than weapons as weapons. But I can’t help thinking of Tocqueville’s argument about the importance of forms and formality, which Harvey C. Mansfield, Jr. has explicated so wonderfully on a variety of occasions.

Discussions - 3 Comments

Good job, Kate, and that's a pretty interesting blog.

I was NOT denigrating civility in political discourse. Forms and formality are just fine with me. Actually, I find that if I spend much time worrying about the incivility of others, and let myself resent the uncivil, I become curmudgeonly and less gracious, myself.

We cannot make others be civil. Being so ourselves, even in the face of rudeness, works better than anything else to change the terms of social discourse.


I know you were not. I am sorry if left the impression that I thought you were. You had different fish to fry in that post.

I would love to write this in a less stilted fashion, but I cannot until the comments function permits apostrophes to be read as apostrophes.

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