The Civility Joke

How wonderful it must be to feel the self-righteousness glow that one gets by calling for civility while — at the same time — implicitly accusing your fellow citizens of inciting murder. Leave it to the Left to create an entirely new form of political discourse: vicious civility.

My thoughts? Civility is overrated. We wring our hands entirely too much about the tone of modern discourse — and the hand-wringing is often so transparently disingenuous. I try very hard to treat others the way I’d like to be treated, but when confronting evil and depravity there are ample biblical examples of “extreme” rhetoric. 

There’s a world of difference between angry words and violence, or even between angry words and violating another person’s legal rights. Given the choice between a polite administrator imposing a speech code or an angry confrontation in the quad, I’ll take the shouting match every time. Anger and vitriol can be self-defeating, but it can also be motivating and sometimes even inspiring. Simply put, context matters, and sometimes great injustices require a strong response.

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More