November 1, 2019: The Trouble with Civility, Part I
Friends ask you questions; enemies question you. Criss Jami
Practice seeing innocence before guilt and enemies find it easier to practice on the innocent. Hoo-nōs
Civility is an interesting attempt to make life safer. For those who see the world as “red in tooth and claw,” civility makes it easier for exploiters to do their work: Keep the “cattle” content and they will be easier to slaughter. For those who see that the cooperative thrive more than the strong survive, cooperation can lead to the strong thriving—after all, what exploiter can be successful without the cooperation of others?
There are those who say the solution is for the populace to become strong as well, which can be accomplished only by forgetting about, or even offing, the “weak and meek,” who do nothing more than drag humanity down a rathole. Cancer must not be allowed to gain a foothold.
And what do we have? Single exploiters with a loyal following—a condition necessary to belong—or group exploiters whose belongingness is tightly regulated—a condition necessary to keep out the contagion of the riffraff.
What could possibly go wrong with human civilization and civility using those compass headings?
Civilization’s cornerstone is civility, which is the practice of inclusion. This inclusion does not mean ignoring or tolerating a mess, but rather advancing the betterment of life for all of us. Civility is a stewardship, an acceptance that though we disagree, we will do so with aplomb, rather than with disregard.