What is civility?

Susan Riley

*edit, February 23, 2018 – I touched up this old post. I had published it before settling on the format I follow now. It was deficient. This post now includes an excerpt from the article I link to, which excerpt was missing from the original post. And I added a YouTube screen grab of Susan Riley. My comment is the same of course.

Lament for civility | rabble.ca. -By Susan Riley

An excerpt from the above-linked to article follows:

Kory Teneycke is former media chief for Stephen Harper. He is now vice-president of a fledgling all-news television network, Sun TV News, and is ready to take his talent for stinging invective to a larger stage — and, his critics fear, to accelerate the trivialization of our politics.

But in Teneycke’s view, existing political commentary — particularly on CBC, but CTV doesn’t escape his lash — is boring, polite, and so coloured by liberal bias it doesn’t even recognize its own prejudices…

His proposal is tantalizing given how careful, circumscribed and coded political discourse has become. So many urgent issues — from how to deal with deficits, to what to do next in Afghanistan, to how to fight climate change — are never dealt with head-on, for fear of upsetting some province or other, some segment of the population, some outdated orthodoxy. Instead, an inordinate amount of attention is devoted to busty hookers, $57,000 fake lakes and embarrassing, off-mic blunders.

But if, by “lively,” Teneycke means personally insulting, then the new channel will simply amplify the dispiriting and, ultimately, uninteresting politics of rancour that is already daily fare on the Hill…

That said, Teneycke is right that political correctness is inhibiting real debate — but it is no longer the smug assumptions and unexamined naïveté of the liberal-left that is to blame. The new political correctness is aggressively enforced by the right, through ridicule, glib ad campaigns or orchestrated smears in the form of “member’s statements” just before question period begins.

And it works… And, anyone who criticizes the Israeli government is an anti-Israel extremist, which is code for anti-Semitic.

NDP house leader Libby Davies risks carrying that label the rest of her career because of highly critical remarks she has made about Israel — endorsing a boycott campaign and suggesting Israel has been “occupying” Palestinian territory since the Jewish state was founded. Bob Rae called the remarks “breathtaking” in their “hostility and ignorance.” Prime Minister Harper said she could be echoing the sentiments of Hamas or Hezbollah. Even her own caucus-mate, Thomas Mulcair, called the comments “egregious.”

My online response to Susan’s piece, linked to above, follows:

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Lamenting the loss of civility is appropriate. I also lament the blue pill (a la Matrix) industry, which is flourishing. People will call their interest in not discussing important matters, and their interest in not revisiting decisions that they make that impact, negatively, many others, being civil. What does Susan think about that?

The solution looks like it isn’t going to come from the Left or Right. Justice is the solution. That’s going to come from a higher source. And it needs to come soon.
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