Political incivility the decline of decorum

Somewhat lightheartedly, we published "What Would George Do? They mostly came from a French manuscript dating fromtitled Good Manners in Conversation Among Men, which in turn descended from an Italian book published by a Catholic cleric in The rules became associated with the future first president through a notebook that year-old George had assembled in At the time, it was common for students in the colonies to copy lists of social rules and morals.

Political incivility the decline of decorum

Three Cheers for Political Incivility Our Athenian political ancestors knew something we should never forget: A dislike of political rancor is at heart a dislike of democracy, and a misunderstanding of the Constitutional structure and its purpose.

Starting in ancient Athens, democracy has given the vote and equal participation in policy deliberation to citizens regardless of wealth, status, or knowledge. Sordid sexual practices, disreputable parentage, and taking foreign bribes were standard charges.

Political debate in early America seldom reached Athenian sexual coarseness, but still was brutal, reflecting a similar diversity of interests and religious beliefs existing in the thirteen colonies. Particularly when political parties began to coalesce in the second term of George Washington, political rhetoric was as personal and insulting as the comments we decry today.

The tumultuous decades leading up to the Civil War saw an explosion of such invective sparked by the intense conflict over slavery.

Political incivility the decline of decorum

Every decade of American history has been filled with political speech of the sort we now decry. Jingles about Warren G. This fierce verbal combat would not have surprised the Founders.

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The primary aim was to protect freedom and autonomy by keeping any ambitious factional power from growing strong enough to tyrannize the people. As for the tone and quality of public discourse, if the citizenry comprises multiple factions free to seek their interests and express their passions, one would expect political speech to be spirited, angry, and brutal, for passionately held beliefs in fundamental principles, which seldom can be reconciled with conflicting beliefs and principles, frequently form the substance of political speech.

That seemed to be the conclusion of Alexis de Tocqueville, writing in during the flourishing of Jacksonian democracy. It is a constant fact that at the present day the ablest men in the United States are rarely placed at the head of affairs; and it must be acknowledged that such has been the result in proportion as democracy has exceeded all its former limits.

Often there is not a distinguished man in the whole number. But in the end, that is not as important as maintaining the Constitutional mechanisms for protecting individual freedom from the encroaching power of a hypertrophied federal government.

What happens when a nation forgets its manners?

After all, the First Amendment does not protect merely decorous or genteel speech, but as the political rhetoric of American history shows, all manner of speech no matter how rude or uncivil. He is the author of nine books and numerous essays on classical culture and its influence on Western Civilization.Most people will agree that civility is in steep decline in America, particularly within politics and government.

We are exposed daily to increasingly rude, crass and aggressive behavior not just in political campaigns, but in the press, on the internet and in everyday life situations ranging from motoring down the highway, shopping and dining, on . Political Decorum FLINT, MI - On April 8, , Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced that the state would discontinue its free bottled water program for Flint residents.

The program was a critical resource; the only way people in Flint could access clean drinking water. Congressional Name-Calling, Incivility On the Rise aren’t amused by the decline in civility and decorum. A study from the Allegheny College Center for Political Participation found that.

In the wake of Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst during President Obama's speech on health care reform, a debate has been born: Has America abandoned civility and good manners? And if it has, should we care?

AARP Bulletin Today asked P.M. Forni, a professor and cofounder of the Civility Project at Johns Hopkins University, to talk about the Wilson brouhaha.

Mouw added that neither the left nor right is immune from the decline in civility. tearing away at the last vestiges of decorum," Bybee said. . Civility "is more than toleration," said Richard J. Mouw, a professor of Christian philosophy and ethics who served for two decades as the president of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif.

Thornton: Three Cheers for Political Incivility | Truth Revolt