Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Pushing Back: True and False Civility

 

In the wake of the Kavanaugh/Ford debacle, the topic of civility has once again been brought to the fore. Inevitably, in the aftermath of progressive rudeness or violence, there is a call among conservatives for a tit-for-tat response, for an embrace of the unsavory techniques of the progressive opposition, usually accompanied by an assertion that we’re in a war and we’re losing because we refuse to play by the enemy’s rules.

I’m sympathetic to this perspective: it’s extraordinarily frustrating to face an opposition that seems devoid of principle and honor and that flouts the most basic constraints of law and decency. It’s natural to want to punch back, and it’s understandable that the constraints of civility so common among conservatives would leave some feeling at a disadvantage.

“Civility” really means an adherence to norms of behavior, to established rules of speech and conduct. Civility tends to come naturally to conservatives because preserving established rules is at the heart of what “conservative” means. In contrast, progressives tend to be dismissive of rules when those rules are seen as obstructions to achieving a desired end.

Incivility is a fractal quality of modern progressivism. That is, it appears at every level, in matters big and small. We see it in the vulgarity of their language, the boorishness of their entertainers and celebrities, the dishonesty of their politics, the viciousness of their tactics of personal destruction, their rejection of norms of free discourse, their growing displays of public rudeness and intimidation, and, increasingly, their violent opposition to dissent. The left has made the political landscape an ugly and dangerous place.

I’ve written before about civility, and about my belief that conservatives should continue to embrace it. I’m writing now to express a more nuanced view on the subject, a kind of compromise, one that recognizes that there are two kinds of civility used – or violated – by progressives, and that whether or not conservatives should respect civility depends on which kind of civility is being discussed.

True Civility

Progressives routinely violate broadly accepted rules of civil behavior. They’re profane, vulgar, threatening, dishonest, and destructive. They break laws, corrupt government institutions, and resort to violence to suppress dissent.

These are all behaviors that Americans by and large reject. We are a civil people who decry such gross incivility when it’s brought to our attention. Progressives know this: it is precisely for this reason that the mainstream media avoid reporting progressive violence and extremism, while highlighting the comparatively rare instances of conservative misbehavior.

The violent riots, anti-free speech protests, and occasional shootings are not intended to sway the public. These angry outbursts of self-righteous and often desperate people giving vent to their frustration and hatred don’t convince anyone of the rightness of the progressive position.

Conservatives can and should use these events to their advantage, not by emulating them but by publicizing them widely, both to galvanize fellow conservatives and to show to the politically ambivalent middle that there is a real difference between conservatives and progressives – and that it is the conservative who represents the broadly shared values of civility and comity most of us still hold in common.

Critically, conservatives can do this only if they avoid descending into the depths of incivility themselves. Our distaste for hypocrisy is ancient and deep, and the value of highlighting progressive ugliness vanishes if a credible case can be made that conservatives are just as bad. We aren’t, and we should defend the high ground.

Rather than embracing progressive incivility, we should call attention to it. Think of it as a kind of civic jujitsu, leveraging the incivility of our enemies against them without ourselves resorting to deplorable behavior.

False Civility

The progressives’ violation of civility is not terribly consequential and can be used against them. Far more significant is the left’s use of false civility to constrain conservatives and shape public opinion. While I strongly encourage conservatives to adhere to standards of true civility, I think it is essential that conservatives reject the false standards of civility progressives attempt to impose. This is a kind of “incivility” that I embrace and encourage.

By false civility, I mean the burgeoning rules of political correctness that seek to define what decent people can think and say. These are the new standards the left tries to impose, often successfully, through its domination of popular media and respected opinion-shaping institutions. By defining which views are considered socially acceptable, the left uses the natural conservative tendency toward civility against us in a way that eventually, if left unchallenged, does change public opinion.

Pushing back against even false standards of civility is uncomfortable for many of us, so deep is the conservative desire to avoid causing offense. But it’s necessary if we are to check progressive efforts to redefine normal in abnormal ways. Fortunately, the left embraces a lot of ideas that are obviously nonsensical, and that makes it easier to express criticism of them even when such criticism has been rendered socially questionable.

The myth of male/female equivalence, the nonsense of the gender-diversity movement, the fiction of “racist America,” the hypocrisy of exploding identity politics, the ignorant celebration of socialism and rejection of the miraculous achievements of free market capitalism, the anti-science of catastrophic global warming, the left’s increasingly blatant anti-Americanism – all of these are examples of the new etiquette of false civility, and all should be challenged by conservatives.

I’ve heard the arguments against speaking out. Some people fear they’ll lose their jobs, others that their class grades will suffer. Many worry about being branded cranks and bigots. Fair enough: not everyone is free to push back as blatantly or as strenuously as, say, a single, thick-skinned, middle-aged, self-employed curmudgeon like myself.

But to those who argue that conservatives should flirt with the true incivility of the left, and should consider violating real norms of decency, honesty, and legality, I say this: it’s more valuable, less destructive, easier, and simply better to intelligently violate the false civility progressives are trying to impose on us than it is to reject what most conservatives and most Americans respect and what, ultimately, we are trying to preserve and restore.

There are 38 comments.

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  1. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    maybe some examples would me understand your position.

    There is another way. Trump has started to brand the Democrat Party. “Party of crime” he said recently. Rather than ignore the violating of norms or trying to “out dirty the pigs”, votes can be won by consistently branding the Dems in a negative way. The Dems try the same with GOP, but “racist” and “xxx-aphobe” don’t work well without a basis of truth. “Party of crime” could work as it is based in truth and something most people care about.

    So, if the GOP wants to win, they should start a chorus of branding Dems. They just need to sing from same page!

    • #1
    • September 30, 2018, at 5:23 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  2. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron MillerJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Civility involves justice. It is a respect due all as creatures of God and a care of means. When what is deemed polite is unjust, it is uncivil. 

    A civil man responds to calumny by throwing the jerk out on his back.

    • #2
    • September 30, 2018, at 5:49 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  3. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette

    DonG (View Comment):
    maybe some examples would me understand your position.

    Don, my pleasure. I gave examples of the kinds of issues of what I called “false civility,” where we should push back by denying the left the freedom of redefining what is and isn’t acceptable. That involves speaking out in defiance of the progressive rules: not respecting their identity nonsense and their trigger words and their political correctness.

    What I think we shouldn’t do is emulate the left in its worst behavior. For example, we shouldn’t shut down free speech with disruptive protests; we shouldn’t lie, as the left and left-media so often do; we shouldn’t engage in personal destruction by lodging unsubstantiated and distorted charges against innocent men; we shouldn’t shoot up Democratic softball games (for example) or beat up Democratic Senators who happen to live next door; we shouldn’t weaponize federal agencies and use them to gain political advantage; we shouldn’t spy on the opposition political party with ginned-up FISA warrants; we shouldn’t riot violently in the streets; etc.

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Civility involves justice. It is a respect due all as creatures of God and a care of means. When what is deemed polite is unjust, it is uncivil. // A civil man responds to calumny by throwing the jerk out on his back.

    Aaron, I’m inclined to agree, and I’ll always defend the right of an individual to push back when confronted with violence or outrage.

    But I’m talking about something else here, about more of a process thing than an individual encounter. For example, if the left starts shutting down college speeches with borderline-violent riots, the temptation is to respond in kind. The problem with that kind of push-back is that it isn’t actually the left that suffers, but rather civility itself; a right-wing anti-speech protest is, like a left-wing anti-speech protest, damaging the thing we hold dear: the right to speak freely.

    We might like to believe that the left feel the loss of civility and back down, but the left doesn’t value what we do. Responding as the left does is like trying to deal with graffiti by creating more of it. Those who want to deface the culture don’t mind other people joining in. It’s only those of us who value the exchange of ideas who lose.

     

    • #3
    • September 30, 2018, at 6:04 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  4. Larry3435 Member

    Very good and well thought-out post. Thanks. I’m on board.

    • #4
    • September 30, 2018, at 6:29 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    So you are saying that the “law and order” folks should abide by their principles. Nobody is going to be a martyr, so clinging to civility will only work, when there is alternative path to counter the asymmetric attacks.

    • #5
    • September 30, 2018, at 6:44 PM PDT
    • Like
  6. Brian Wyneken Member

    I think what you’re describing is why Jordan Peterson has been so successful and why he is so loathed by progressives. Of course, he is very, very good at it.

    • #6
    • September 30, 2018, at 6:46 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette

    DonG (View Comment):

    So you are saying that the “law and order” folks should abide by their principles. Nobody is going to be a martyr, so clinging to civility will only work, when there is alternative path to counter the asymmetric attacks.

    Don, I’m saying something more than that. The “asymmetric attacks” aren’t effective. They don’t change public opinion — not in a way the left wants to change it. They’re just spasms of outrage. We can use them to our advantage by using them to show people how ugly and unhinged the left has become. But, again, that only works if we don’t engage in it ourselves. If we do, everything just turns ugly, we aren’t the good guys, and normal, relatively apolitical people simply tune out.

    • #7
    • September 30, 2018, at 6:50 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron MillerJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    But I’m talking about something else here, about more of a process thing than an individual encounter.

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Those who want to deface the culture don’t mind other people joining in. It’s only those of us who value the exchange of ideas who lose.

     

    Agreed. But the point is consequences. Preservation of justice requires consequences for injustice.

    We can’t shame the shameless. But we shouldn’t withhold punishments to avoid harsher conflict (ex: Clinton not bring prosecuted for felonious mishandling of classified information). And we shouldn’t be silent or circumspect in response to blatant lies and hate (such as spews from the Left every single day). Peace requires truth and justice. Otherwise, you accept oppression in lieu of violence or simply allow conflicts to stagnate and fester. 

    The Right’s core problem is that it has been emasculated. The Right is a bunch of pushovers, and thugs respond to such weakness with increasing boldness. The longer conservatives wait to speak boldly in defiance if hateful behavior from the Left, the worse the Left’s behavior will become. Bold civility is not boorishness. But neither is it tolerance of evil.

    The Right cannot defend American values without great risks and losses. Most conservatives deem the risks too high, or deem the fights not sought too much trouble. It is a culture of submission. The Left wins by intimidation. 

    • #8
    • September 30, 2018, at 7:00 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  9. Leigh Member

    This is a good distinction.

    I think I would also distinguish between moral behavior and polite behavior (there may be better terms yet). There are some basic principles of right and wrong that do not change — that would include most of what you describe as “true civility.” Surrounding a politician’s home is just wrong. But then there are some societal rules for decent behavior that do vary according to time, place, and situation. Politeness is good and necessary, even on contentious political issues, but there are times to throw it out the window. That time probably isn’t when discussing tax rates. But Lindsey Graham’s shockingly impolite speech the other day was entirely appropriate in its time and place, and served to defend rules of decency rather than undermining them. It was effective especially from someone known for going too far in giving the other side the benefit of the doubt.

    • #9
    • September 30, 2018, at 7:01 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
  10. Leigh Member

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    We might like to believe that the left feel the loss of civility and back down, but the left doesn’t value what we do.

    This is especially true when it comes to the kind of attack we’ve seen against Kavanaugh. Beyond the immediate question, it’s very clear his reputation matters to him. That is not true for everyone. If you make a pattern of that, you will drive decent people out of public life completely, and leave it to those who are shameless — the Clintons, and Avenattis, and even some Republicans. That will not help. Fight the tactic, hard, and expose the sham for what it is. Don’t try some lame imitation.

    • #10
    • September 30, 2018, at 7:09 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  11. Steve C. Member

    So I’m guessing 

    He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue.

    is out?

     

    • #11
    • September 30, 2018, at 7:36 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  12. GrannyDude Member

    I think you’re right, Henry, truly. 

    And I think that as many Republicans as possible—and maybe at least a few Democrats—need to insist, relentlessly, on accountability. For [CoC] like this: 

    “After California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her at a party in the early 1980s when they were both minors in high school, several critics raised an eyebrow about the fact he coached his pre-teen daughters’ basketball team, hinting at the notion the judge may be a pervert.

    The New York Times editorial board cast a subtle shadow on the nominee in an editorial that remarked Kavanaugh has a “penchant” for coaching young girls.

    “Ford’s charge shattered Kavanaugh’s carefully crafted tableau, calling into doubt the image he projected. The row of young girls, legs bare in their private-school skirts, looked different now,” wrote Time magazine’s Molly Ball.”

    • #12
    • September 30, 2018, at 7:48 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  13. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHillJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Henry Racette: Rather than embracing progressive incivility, we should call attention to it. Think of it as a kind of civic jujitsu, leveraging the incivility of our enemies against them without ourselves resorting to deplorable behavior.

    With the help of whom? The conservative media that no one else but us reads/listens to/watches? How do you highlight progressive incivility to the vast amount of people who consider themselves independent yet consume 99% of their news from the so-called mainstream media and their Facebook feeds?

    When they do see the riots, the yelling and the attempts at public humiliation they then get to see a five member panel on CNN that will take the next 10 minutes explaining to them why this behavior is necessary. They’re fighting the hate. They’re fighting the fascists, man. Once you establish righteousness, all manner of actions can be excused.

    I’m not saying you’re old (although, come to think of it…) but these 20 and 30-somethings in the producers chairs at the networks, the ones filtering your social network feeds, they are not interested in helping you highlight anything in a bad light.

    • #13
    • September 30, 2018, at 8:23 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  14. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHillJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    GrannyDude: The New York Times editorial board cast a subtle shadow on the nominee in an editorial that remarked Kavanaugh has a “penchant” for coaching young girls.

    How dare a man with 2 daughters and no sons coach girls basketball! That their arguments are devoid of logic and yet get printed anyway is a prime example of why we’re doomed.

    • #14
    • September 30, 2018, at 8:27 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  15. HoosierDaddy Member
    HoosierDaddyJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: Rather than embracing progressive incivility, we should call attention to it. Think of it as a kind of civic jujitsu, leveraging the incivility of our enemies against them without ourselves resorting to deplorable behavior.

    With the help of whom? The conservative media that no one else but us reads/listens to/watches? How do you highlight progressive incivility to the vast amount of people who consider themselves independent yet consume 99% of their news from the so-called mainstream media and their Facebook feeds?

    When they do see the riots, the yelling and the attempts at public humiliation they then get to see a five member panel on CNN that will take the next 10 minutes explaining to them why this behavior is necessary. They’re fighting the hate. They’re fighting the fascists, man. Once you establish righteousness, all manner of actions can be excused.

    Yes, this what makes the warfare asymmetrical. Although Trump is a blunt instrument, his ‘Fake News’ and ‘Failing New York Times’ etc, and the priceless “I didn’t watch CNN” after listing other networks (which BTW was perfectly analogous to John Travolta during the legendary “Royale with Cheese” discussion adding “I didn’t go to Burger King”) is pointing in the right direction. The Trump administration and the conservative community should simply boycott the biased media. With internet communication, who needs them?
    What if Trump banned a few news organizations from White House press briefings until they write about Keith Ellison and Jaunita Broaddrick? Is there any way that the NYT, CNN, or MSNBC could become *more* hostile? Some kind of extremely dramatic act that, even if it fails and the polls temporarily go south, would be worth it to make a We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore impression on the public that would never be forgotten. The public needs to have their rabbit ears up to notice the bias, the hypocrisy. The biased outlets must be humiliated as Graham did his ‘former friends’.
    The left media will bleat that Trump is trying to destroy democracy, blah blah, whatever. My point is that they ALREADY have been doing that. No more Thank you sir may I have another.

    The playing field must be leveled somehow, and now I’m thinking of what kind of eggs could be broken to make the new omelette of a mass media that reflects the population much better than Fox News and talk radio vs the other 85% is doing now. (EJ Hill says it is 99%, above).

    The President is doing it all by himself. His instincts are spot on in this field. I really don’t see how things could get worse. Conservatives unite! You have nothing to lose but your politically correct chains. Cast them off. Just walk away from NYT reporters and CNN cameras.

    Boycott.

    • #15
    • September 30, 2018, at 10:37 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Randy Webster Member

    Henry Racette: Incivility is a fractal quality of modern progressivism. That is, it appears at every level, in matters big and small. We see it in the vulgarity of their language, the boorishness of their entertainers and celebrities, the dishonesty of their politics, the viciousness of their tactics of personal destruction, their rejection of norms of free discourse, their growing displays of public rudeness and intimidation, and, increasingly, their violent opposition to dissent.

    They probably cheat at golf, too.

    • #16
    • October 1, 2018, at 2:59 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. Steve C. Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: Incivility is a fractal quality of modern progressivism. That is, it appears at every level, in matters big and small. We see it in the vulgarity of their language, the boorishness of their entertainers and celebrities, the dishonesty of their politics, the viciousness of their tactics of personal destruction, their rejection of norms of free discourse, their growing displays of public rudeness and intimidation, and, increasingly, their violent opposition to dissent.

    They probably cheat at golf, too.

    This aggression shall not stand, man.

    • #17
    • October 1, 2018, at 3:23 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. I Walton Member

    Right on all points. Speak the truth with clarity. When we fail to speak , or act defensively to false charges or PC worrying about “perceptions” public opinion, it feeds the beast. Republicans don’t have to coordinate their message they just need to know the truth and not be cowards. If they focus on public opinion as is their tendency they’ll always get it wrong and cant be consistent because Public Opinion is fabricated to new narratives daily or weekly. There is no such thing as public opinion. There are cultural attitudes, basic beliefs, the left always attacks these basics so they can fill heads by osmosis with serial nonsense.

    GK Chesterton —

    …Every man speaks of public opinion, and means by public opinion, public opinion minus his opinion. Every man makes his contribution negative under the erroneous impression that the next man’s contribution is positive. Every man surrenders his fancy to a general tone which is itself a surrender”

     

    • #18
    • October 1, 2018, at 3:48 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. Leigh Member

    EJHill (View Comment):
    I’m not saying you’re old (although, come to think of it…) but these 20 and 30-somethings in the producers chairs at the networks, the ones filtering your social network feeds, they are not interested in helping you highlight anything in a bad light.

    This isn’t an answer, just one point.

    But if I were a conservative with money (and there are some), I’d be running an ad pointing out what the media has done with the more ridiculous charges against Kavanaugh. Like the one they ran with after the guy retracted on Twitter.

    Second point: the media is a problem for any strategy conservatives take. Do you think that the “last-minute accuser” or “vague accuser without evidence” would work? If the party roles had been switched every “fact-checker” in the country would have a piece detailing the changes from the therapists’ notes to Ford’s testimony.

    • #19
    • October 1, 2018, at 3:49 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. George Townsend Inactive

    Hank, this is a beautiful essay. I’m glad you wrote it. I think this essay should go without saying. Unfortunately, it needed be said. I am just sorry that there some on the Right, including some Ricochetti, think that playing “tit for tat” is the way to go. Conservatism is a beautiful philosophy, and if we descend to the depravity of the Left, it just diminishes our cause. It also won’t work. But it is just immoral. How to we convince those who don’t understand what conservatism is and what it stands for, if we just act with the tactics of the Left.

    Of course we stand up for ourselves. An example: Ben Shapiro is doing 4 election specials on Sunday nights. He has two to go. Last night he had a panel of three women, one of whom was a Code Pink woman who was escorted out at the Kavanaugh hearings, because she disrupted them. Throwing her out was appropriate. Of course she said that she was just exercising her free speech, meaning that she doesn’t understand the difference between true protest, and the denying of decency, and others right who dare to disagree with you. She even praised the affrontery of those of would not allow Sen. Cruz and his wife to have dinner in peace. In another disgusting comment, she said, apropo of nothing (they were talking about Kavanaugh) that Israel was an apartheid state (of course, Shapiro said it was a lie).

    These things should always be pointed out. And, yes, fight. Remind people, right there on television, that this woman is a disgusting person. Just never, ever, be like her.

    • #20
    • October 1, 2018, at 4:22 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. Songwriter Inactive
    SongwriterJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    EJHill (View Comment):
    That their arguments are devoid of logic and yet get printed anyway is a prime example of why we’re doomed.

    But that is the very reason that the NYT is so popular amongst Leftists, who themselves are devoid of logic.

    • #21
    • October 1, 2018, at 6:12 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    So I’m guessing

    He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue.

    is out?

     

    It’s a great line from a good movie. But it isn’t really appropriate in this context, because we aren’t talking about individual conflicts. That’s the often-overlooked detail that makes emulating the left counter-productive.

    What we have is more akin to a situation in which some people — the left — are trying to win an argument by burning down the building in which all of us, left and right, live. Our answer can’t be to join in burning down that building. Rather, we have to discourage arson.

    • #22
    • October 1, 2018, at 8:07 AM PDT
    • Like
  23. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHillJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Henry Racette: Our answer can’t be to join in burning down that building. Rather, we have to discourage arson.

    These are all great lines but it is a plan that requires help from people who are disinclined to provide it. Remember all the great post election plans the Left floated? All of them – from swaying Electors in the EC, to forcing a House vote, to nullifying the vote through the Supreme Court – were all pipe dreams predicated on help from their opposition.

    He Who Does Not Want To Be Named By Me says, “Look at the great thing Ben Shapiro is doing on Fox News!” to which I say, “…that is not being watched by anyone who doesn’t already agree with him.” We have a candle in the dark and they have a fire hose. 

    When (and I hope not “if”) Kavanaugh is confirmed there may be riots. Since this will take place in Democratic strongholds the police will be given stand down orders like Charlottesville. And people will die and the media will amp up the Nazi Brownshirt talk and otherwise calm and rational people will say to themselves, “Well, if they’re going to accuse me of it anyway…” and things could easily spiral out of control. I pray to God it doesn’t happen but truly fear it will.

    • #23
    • October 1, 2018, at 8:46 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  24. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette

    EJHill (View Comment):
    These are all great lines but it is a plan that requires help from people who are disinclined to provide it.

    I hear that and understand the argument, but I don’t believe it. There are more media choices than ever before, more places where conservative voices can be heard.

    But, beyond that, there’s the reality that most people don’t watch cable news, most people don’t read political blogs, and most people aren’t heavily invested in politics.

    The dominance of left-media is a good reason not to behave like progressives, since we’ll get all the bad press. But it isn’t a reason to think we’re powerless to deliver a civil message.

    • #24
    • October 1, 2018, at 8:53 AM PDT
    • Like
  25. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHillJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Henry Racette: I hear that and understand the argument, but I don’t believe it. There are more media choices than ever before, more places where conservative voices can be heard.

    You can lead the horse to alternative media but you can’t make him think (or watch.)

    You’ve only reinforced my points. The vast majority of Americans aren’t watching or paying deep, critical attention. But they are getting a vibe that something is horribly wrong. It’s coming from their entertainment shows, from the sports they watch, from the movies they go to… and the vibe they’re getting is that we are all Nazis.

    And they get it from us, too. Everyone from well established right leaning pundits to members of Ricochet will tell you in not so whispered tones about how Trump is racist, Trump flirts with the fascists, etc., etc.. 

     

    • #25
    • October 1, 2018, at 9:27 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  26. Jim Beck Member

    Afternoon Henry,

    We have had times when because we have had domineering presidents like Reagan and Trump, we could/can control the parts of the narrative during those times. Most of the other times we can not control the public narrative, and recalling the Reagan recession, we can not even control the narrative well during times when we have a president like REagan or Trump. You have not offered a way to persuade others of the positive aspects of conservatism. Your replies to EJ are weak, develop a more robust story about how we as conservatives can restore the damage done by the incivility of the left. You say what we should not do but your suggestion that the new media outlets will be our path around the MSM ability to shape the dominate narrative is as of yet a fantasy. Show us where that has worked in the recent past.

    • #26
    • October 1, 2018, at 10:01 AM PDT
    • Like
  27. Dorrk Inactive

    George Townsend (View Comment):

    Hank, this is a beautiful essay. I’m glad you wrote it. I think this essay should go without saying. Unfortunately, it needed be said. I am just sorry that there some on the Right, including some Ricochetti, think that playing “tit for tat” is the way to go. Conservatism is a beautiful philosophy, and if we descend to the depravity of the Left, it just diminishes our cause. It also won’t work. But it is just immoral. How to we convince those who don’t understand what conservatism is and what it stands for, if we just act with the tactics of the Left.

    Yep, and working diligently to stick to our principles in the face of belligerence should help avoid the fears in this thread, but I get the feeling that some people are craving a bloody fight and just waiting for the tit that pushes the tat over the edge.

    • #27
    • October 1, 2018, at 10:34 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. Unsk Member

    Henry, I not sure I understand what you mean when you say “civil”. I understand you defined it, but “norms of behavior” have been so twisted towards the political correct that I’m not sure what that is anymore. 

    No, I do not think conservatives need to make things up, or lie, or deceive. 

    What is necessary I believe in this time of great upheaval and the tearing down of what were thought not long ago as sacrosanct American institutions and values is that Americans should no longer be afraid of telling the Truth. In any setting. Unfortunately today, in many quarters these days , Telling the Truth or directly confronting someone who is pushing a Progressive Un-Truth , as the Left is often wont to do, is thought as downright uncivil and most impolite. You see Telling the Truth upsets those poor snowflake darlings who have been exposed almost solely to Leftist mind control and forces them if only briefly to consider the unsettling real truth. Such an unsettling confrontation is thought to be socially disruptive and outside the norm of civil behavior by many. As Leigh said: “Politeness is good and necessary, even on contentious political issues, but there are times to throw it out the window. “

    Given the fact that Leftists are now viscously attacking, often violently, anyone who disagrees with them with impunity, current facts on the ground literally demand that Progressives who are pushing their Leftist/Marxist garbage be forthrightly confronted and put in their place in damn near most situations where it happens, allowing except for those sensitive certain situations like where there is a hosted setting which strongly calls for the polite respect for others and their opinions.

    As Aaron Miller said: “The longer conservatives wait to speak boldly in defiance if hateful behavior from the Left, the worse the Left’s behavior will become. Bold civility is not boorishness. But neither is it tolerance of evil.”

     

    • #28
    • October 1, 2018, at 11:03 AM PDT
    • Like
  29. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette

    Jim Beck (View Comment):

    Afternoon Henry,

    We have had times when because we have had domineering presidents like Reagan and Trump, we could/can control the parts of the narrative during those times. Most of the other times we can not control the public narrative, and recalling the Reagan recession, we can not even control the narrative well during times when we have a president like REagan or Trump. You have not offered a way to persuade others of the positive aspects of conservatism. Your replies to EJ are weak, develop a more robust story about how we as conservatives can restore the damage done by the incivility of the left. You say what we should not do but your suggestion that the new media outlets will be our path around the MSM ability to shape the dominate narrative is as of yet a fantasy. Show us where that has worked in the recent past.

    Jim (and others who are suggesting the same sort of thing), perhaps because I believe that politics can be more of a grass-roots affair, albeit with more effort, than some of you seem to think, I reject the notion that to “control the public narrative” is essential to making a difference.

    But those who lean toward that view, that the dominance of mainstream culture precludes our making a difference, should be particularly enthusiastic about embracing civility and avoiding the excesses of the left, because that mainstream culture will guarantee that every lapse on our part will be magnified.

    You say I “have not offered a way to persuade others of the positive aspects of conservatism.” No, that’s beyond the scope of a post that says, essentially, “behave with the decency we seek to preserve.”

     

    • #29
    • October 1, 2018, at 11:23 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. George Townsend Inactive

    Jim Beck (View Comment):

    Afternoon Henry,

    We have had times when because we have had domineering presidents like Reagan and Trump, we could/can control the parts of the narrative during those times. Most of the other times we can not control the public narrative, and recalling the Reagan recession, we can not even control the narrative well during times when we have a president like REagan or Trump. You have not offered a way to persuade others of the positive aspects of conservatism. Your replies to EJ are weak, develop a more robust story about how we as conservatives can restore the damage done by the incivility of the left. You say what we should not do but your suggestion that the new media outlets will be our path around the MSM ability to shape the dominate narrative is as of yet a fantasy. Show us where that has worked in the recent past.

    You’re whole premise is wrong, Jim, thinking that we have to “do” something. Instead of excoriating Henry you ought to thank him, for being rational in irrational times.

    However, let me try and answer this:

    Conservatism needs no defense. It has been proven itself time and time, most conspicuously in the Reagan era. We would damage the Gipper’s memory if we aped the radical and disgusting ways of the Left. 

    While I shall declaim six ways ’till Sunday that he is not good for true conservatism, the fact is that Trump is president, and he has managed to initiate many ideas that we’ve always had. Gorsuch is on the Court. We have many, many judges confirmed, who are Originalist, and the Kavanaugh nomination is not dead yet.

    To say that we have lost, which I infer from your attack on Henry, is not only to ignore the evidence; it is cheapen the things this great country has been through, and survived, and even thrived. We came though the sixties. We can come through this. We need a little faith. I’m sorry you choose not to give us it.

    • #30
    • October 1, 2018, at 12:27 PM PDT
    • 1 like

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