State of Mankind

A New Way Of Thinking

The Case For Civility

Most of us have followed, to one extent or another, the circus of the Republican primary.  Today, being “Super Tuesday,” I think it is worth looking at what seems to be missing–civility.  Really, the decision to make daily postings on this site came from this very issue.  After following talk radio and a number of blogs, it just seemed difficult to find anyone willing to treat others with respect.  When we consider what a lack of civility demonstrates, what civility shows and the effect it can have on others, I believe we will see why it is the best course to follow.

What does a lack of civility demonstrate?  Call me a study geek or something, but the minute I hear name calling or offensive language, it says to me that someone doesn’t feel they can win a debate based on fact.  This comes from years of studying many issues.  One becomes hostile when one is insecure.  Name calling or hostility is a tactic to get people emotionally involved and to choose sides based on feeling or past experience rather than thinking logically through the ideas and facts presented.

So, on the flip side, what does civility show?  Civility shows that someone is interested in all sides of a topic to be known and decisions to be based on logic and principle rather than raw emotion.  Think about it for a minute.  If I am confident I am right and my opponent is wrong, I want every aspect of both of our arguments to be fully examined, thought out, and decided based on truth and logic.  If I truly am right, it will then be known without any need to stoop to mud-slinging.

There is one more aspect to consider.  It may seem strange for someone who is blogging, but I’ve been wrong before.  This must put me as one of the dumbest bloggers out there.  In fact, before posting my review of Tragedy & Hope, I had a number of friends review the work.  I picked some of them because I knew they disagreed with my position.  One, who is a close friend was able to show me some perspectives that I hadn’t considered.  After deciding he was right, I thanked him for his input and altered certain portions of my writing to accomodate this new-found idea.  We are closer friends today for the experience.  The final posting was much better because of a greater understanding, gained through civil dialogue with someone who sees things different than me.  Thus, the effect that civility can have on another is to bring them to a greater understanding, where simply rudely clashing opposing views only makes each side feel all the more that s/he is correct.

To be sure, we live in an amazing time.  The world is full of commotion.  We worry that not enough people will come to understand things that are really important.  I believe the ‘battle of ideas’ can only be won by civility.  My commitment as I post on this site is to treat all people as friends, while yet studying and passing on information that is important and possibly controversial.  My strong belief is that through civil dialogue the truth can be found, and, in the end, that is my only real goal.

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