Monday, November 23, 2015

Positive Civility Requires a Thick Skin

Here is a good centrist idea:

To take a positive step toward creating civility in society, be relentlessly reasonable.

Have a thick skin.

Don't get upset over potential problems.

Cut other people some slack when they are insensitive or thoughtless. (You undoubtedly need the same slack cut for you sometimes.)

Too often we think of civility as consisting of what we do not do - not being extreme, not getting worked up over minor issues, not calling names.

I offer this idea as something that centrists (or anyone interested in civility) can do to actively promote the happy society.


Michael Kruse said...

I think the issue for me is treating the other person with dignity even when they behave in undignified ways. Civility isn't about being "nice." Passion and conviction should be a part of debate. It is okay to call others out. But it should be done in ways that respect the dignity of others.

Gruntled said...

I agree with you.

What I am getting at here is not so much how I respond to others, but rather not starting something that others would respond to in an uncivil way. We can positively contribute to the climate of civility by reducing the occasions for incivility.

Mac said...

Well said and a lesson to us all in a day when people think they have a right to never be even slightly, and often, unintentionally, offended. For some of us, trained up with a warrior mentality, the instant response needs to be held back--even throttled. It is the measure of one's true self-discipline to develop and apply that lesson. We will be a better Country if we learn to do so.

That being said, civility does not need to be, nor should it, the same as being a patsy. If someone continues to act boorishly even when treated civilly, the recipient of the boorish behavior has a right to take them to task. As my Company Gunnery Sergeant used to say, to "rip off your head and [defecate] down your throat." But that is the A-Bomb of discourse, and should be used only as a last resort.

As He taught us, when a man smiteth thee on the one cheek, turn also unto him the other. But as my childhood pastor, a WWII Company Commander, once said, "Just remember, brothers and sisters, the third smite, that all important third smite, belongs to thee."

CJ said...

I agree. A very common mistake I see by those who feel treated badly is to treat others badly right back because they deserve it. All that does is promote a culture of contempt and antagonism, while promoting a culture of civility and goodwill requires a great deal of patience and tolerance. The latter requires truly thick skin that is capable of resisting outrage and able to genuinely consider the dignity and rights of every individual - even the backward and unpleasant ones who can make it hard.