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September 18, 2005

Back to the Drawing Board

A combination of events has got me thinking about the utility of speaking into the void.

In order to get a handle on that matter, I am reviewing a couple of books. The first is 'Civility' by Stephen L. Carter. The second is 'The Bonfire of the Humanities' by Hanson, et al. At issue is the inevitable misinterpretation and dissonance among us. Why do we not know how to communicate things that should be basic to the very nature of our civilization? My excuse is that I pursued Computer Science and had to pick up all my liberal arts in my spare time, and I feel I'll probably blogging for another decade working through it. 'It' being a nuanced understanding of the rest of the world through Socratic dialog.

Part of the question has to do with Pluralism, an investigation which I have conceded is beyond the scope of one overloaded essay. But let's start with the following from Carter:

The Five Reasons for a Democracy to Value Sacrificial Civility

1. By encouraging us to see even those with whome we disagree as full equals before God, civility enables us to hold the respectful dialogs without which democratic decision-making is impossible.

2. Civility reminds us that in a democracy all our actions must meet the test of morality, and that our ability to discipline ourselves to do what is right rather than what we desire is what distinguishes us from animals.

3. That self-discipline, in turn, enables us to resist the tendencey of the values of plitics and the market to swallow all of social life.

4. Our adherence to standards of civil behavior servs, in Arthur Schlesinger's ter, as our letter of introduction to our fellow citizens, thus helping us to build community.

5. By treating each other with the respectful civility that our shared cratedness requries, we help make bearable the many indignities and frictions of everyday life.

I have no substantial disagreement with that. So that's a start.

Posted by mbowen at September 18, 2005 11:22 PM

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*tips hat* now that is truly the best of Old School. It always makes me break out an embarrassingly warm smile watching the old time gennelmen discuss things civil-like on them th'owback tapes at the end of Meet The Press. Too bad I've always been a cad and bounder.

Posted by: memer [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 19, 2005 06:09 AM