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The Collapse of Manners

As a kid, I listened to my dad discuss politics and philosophy with people from all walks of life. After church picnics or town hall meetings, while visiting friends or grabbing coffee at a local coffee shop, Dad would strike up conversations. Sometimes those conversations could veer into controversial territory: presidential politics, abortion, church doctrine.

I knew my dad had strong convictions about some of these issues. But those convictions never pushed him into bombast or bluster. Even when talking to folks who were heated arguers, he never lost his cool. He’d smile, say something encouraging or positive, ask a question or two. He walked away from every debate and discussion having encouraged peace, gentleness, and a sense of dignity. Watching him was a little like staring at a photo negative of a Fox News panel.

In college, when we studied Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, I realized my father was the disciple of a rather ancient set of values. He was a gentleman: someone who still practiced the art of manners, and as such, he was both inheritor and promulgator of the classical conservative tradition. As Burke puts it [1] in his classic work:

Nothing is more certain, than that our manners, our civilization, and all the good things which are connected with manners and with civilization, have, in this European world of ours, depended for ages upon two principles; and were indeed the result of both combined; I mean the spirit of a gentleman, and the spirit of religion.

change_me

Good manners and religious virtue extend far beyond discourse in coffee shops. But so often, this initial meeting ground is the arena in which our true character and the nature of our beliefs are fully revealed. And it seems that, as our society forsakes both the spirit of religion and the spirit of gentlemen, these initial meeting grounds are some of the first to suffer.

As professor and author Mark Mitchell has written [2] for the Front Porch Republic:

Forms and limits are not welcomed in a culture that sees freedom as the highest good, a culture that fairly worships at the altar of individual choice. The history of the liberal project has been a steady and determined attempt to defy limits, to destroy forms, to expand the idea and practice of liberation to all spheres of existence. How can the idea of the gentleman, the essence of which necessarily depends on the propriety of limits, co-exist with the goals of liberalism?

At some point, I realized my dad’s discussion style was growing rather rare—especially, perhaps, in our technological age. While Facebook and Twitter aren’t to blame for our online belligerence and boorish behavior, they are ontologically geared toward hubris and navel-gazing. If I open Facebook, it immediately asks me “What’s on your mind?” and constantly encourages me to like, dislike, comment, or share: to actively express myself in one form or another.

Gentlemanlike conduct, on the other hand, requires humility. As Mitchell writes in another FPR post [3], “A sense of propriety, when properly formed and not merely a sense of personal dignity, requires an awareness of other people. A person with a well-developed sense of propriety makes other people feel at ease.” The gentleman, Mitchell writes, must also be amiable: “An amiable man is a good conversationalist who is interested in the people with whom he speaks. He is not self-absorbed nor is he so self-conscious that he refrains from engaging with others. …An amiable man is not a boor who cares only for the sound of his own voice.”

Our political moment—divided as it is—seems to have made a contest out of being controversial and belligerent. We’re always being dared by social media to share what we think, and the more inflammatory our thoughts, the more attention we get. This is exactly the sort of environment that gives rise to anger and division rather than empathy and peace.

All of this has been at the forefront of my mind amidst the heated debate surrounding Kevin Williamson’s hiring—then firing—by The Atlantic. There are many complicated facets to this controversy, and the best piece on the subject is (and will likely remain) Ross Douthat’s thoughtful Sunday column [4] for the New York Times. Douthat, in his writing, exemplifies exactly the sort of decorum, gentleness, and dignity that my dad always used when engaging with political opponents. In so doing, he defended Williamson better than Williamson defended himself.

While I understand that “pushing people’s buttons” can be a sort of journalistic style, I would argue that it has done more damage than good in our political age. Commentators and politicians on left and right clamor to offend each other: they embrace the controversies of the Internet and throw their rhetorical barbs whenever possible—perhaps to get attention, perhaps in the name of free speech, but rarely (if ever) to actually persuade. Williamson has often said controversial things for dramatic effect (like, for instance, his suggestion [5] in 2016 that struggling postindustrial communities “deserve to die”).

In a series of tweets published last week, Washington Post columnist Elizabeth Bruenig argued [6] that this bluster and demagoguery has become a marketing model for the right, one that caters beautifully to their target audiences, but that translates badly for journalists who might want to reach more mainstream readers:

I agree wholeheartedly with Bruenig, but I also don’t think this marketing model is used exclusively by the right. Take this tweet, published as the Williamson affair unfolded, by author Jill Filipovic:

According to Filipovic’s tweet (which was liked nearly 400 times), the Republican Party is almost entirely made up of irrational sexist bigots. This is hardly the sort of thoughtful, winsome language that’s likely to build fans and friends across the political aisle. It is the sort of thing, however, that is infinitely shareable on Twitter and likely to appeal to those within one’s own echo chamber.

Someone might read Douthat’s Sunday column and feel convicted, moved to sympathy, or eager to hear more. But few would listen to Laura Ingraham’s latest diatribe on Fox News [9], or read Filipovic’s tweets, and react that way.

A lot of this nasty back-and-forth is built around a dangerous whataboutism: the belief that, if X says nasty things about me and my political movement, I am entirely within my rights to lob insults back at him/her. Such reasoning is not new; it’s existed since Adam said the “woman [God] put here with me” made him sin.

But the virtues my dad practiced in conversation—gentleness, humility, quietness—require us to lay aside whataboutism. They mean we have to assume that our own words are not the most important, and that being right is not the end or culmination of conversation. Fostering peace in discussions online and off obligates us to consider that we may actually be wrong about something—and that, even if we are right, hurting or offending our opponent is not a prize worth seeking. To quote St. Paul:

Romans 12:16-21—Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Ephesians 4:1-3—I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Philippians 2:3-4—Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Somehow, many of us right-leaning folks have come to see peaceable, gentle speech as “soft” or “weak.” We aspire more to Rush Limbaugh’s bluster than we do to Christ’s quiet example. And while I by no means expect a non-Christian to adhere to Paul’s admonitions, the many conservatives and Republicans who describe themselves as Christians should. No matter what the “PC crowd” says, we are called to a higher standard than whataboutism.

As we witness the collapse of manners online, it’s important to note that both right and left are culpable. But the responsibility for reforming manners and bringing back dignified conversation is ours; we cannot wait for others to make things better or to change the trajectory of our discourse. “So far as it depends on you,” Paul wrote, live peaceably with all.

Truth-telling is important. We must have courage in our discussions, and not back away from hard topics. “Gentleness” must not become an excuse for cowardly evasion. But in this particular day and age, we all too often label bombast and churlishness as “courage,” though nothing could be further from the truth. Rhetorical barbs and unkindnesses are just as cowardly as conversational evasion. They are both forms of self-protection, aimed more at elevating the self than at loving the others in our midst.

Don’t let Twitter or the television deceive you: manners take work. Kindness takes courage. And both are worth preserving and practicing in this fractured age.

Gracy Olmstead is a writer and journalist located outside Washington, D.C. She’s written for The American ConservativeThe WeekNational Review, The Federalist, and The Washington Times, among others.

34 Comments (Open | Close)

34 Comments To "The Collapse of Manners"

#1 Comment By Aleks On April 15, 2018 @ 10:29 pm

Great commentary. Thanks so much for this.

#2 Comment By HK On April 16, 2018 @ 8:19 am

Your father sounds like a truly wonderful man. We all can use a dose of gentlemanliness and dare I say ladylike manners in this boorish age. Having recently moved to the South, I have become appalled at my own decay in this area. Our small town is so community minded I think because of the social glue of kindness and manners.

Southerners are such great conversationalists because they are taught to engage with true concern for the other. I still am amazed at the grocery aisles being clogged with people just catching up with one another. And, at least in this town there is a diversity of these conversations. People here work hard at racial reconciliation and it starts with a basic smile and hello.

#3 Comment By Tidewaters On April 16, 2018 @ 8:45 am

It’s good to see the word “gentleman” appear here, especially from the pen of a lady. Unfortunately Democrats either fear or have contempt for the word, while too many Republicans don’t even seem to know what it means anymore.

Gentlemanly speech need not always hew to the “soft and gentle”. A gentleman must know how and when to show steel, but soft, gentle, and amiable should be the default, the voice and face that greets the world.

#4 Comment By connecticut farmer On April 16, 2018 @ 8:50 am

Good article…and a wake-up call. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an age that practices moderation in any endeavors.

#5 Comment By mrscracker On April 16, 2018 @ 9:44 am

I’ve always told my children that manners & respect will take you further in life than most anything else- including education.

There’s a great resource for men about this:

“How to Be a Gentleman: A Timely Guide to Timeless Manners” by John Bridges

[10]

#6 Comment By neutral On April 16, 2018 @ 10:24 am

You are going to have to explain why one should have manners towards one enemy. And enemy is the correct word to use here, any dictionary definition of the word confirms to me that is exactly what leftists are these day.

#7 Comment By Centralist On April 16, 2018 @ 10:58 am

neutral

So your fellow citizen is now your enemy? Am I your enemy, I lean left on a lot of things.

#8 Comment By mrscracker On April 16, 2018 @ 12:00 pm

neutral says:

“You are going to have to explain why one should have manners towards one enemy.”
**************

Luke Chapter 6:
” And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.

34 And if ye lend [to them] of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and [to] the evil.

36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.”

#9 Comment By grumpy realist On April 16, 2018 @ 12:41 pm

mrscracker–Bravo!!

And neutral? I suggest you look at history. Simply claiming that people who don’t believe the same things you do are thus enemies and shouldn’t be treated politely is how things like civil wars get started. Do you really want that?

#10 Comment By Ron Pavellas On April 16, 2018 @ 12:55 pm

Let us consider the Ancient Greek concept of Philotimos, please…

#11 Comment By LouisM On April 16, 2018 @ 1:42 pm

I maybe in the minority opinion but I think the anonymity and direct hostility on the internet is actually healthy and does not lead to a more rude and crass society (or not that much more rude than society already was).

In truth, there have always been rude and hostile people. Some do it in a direct manner, some cloak it in humor, other camouflage it. One way or another people either held their tongue or managed to say what needed to be said regardless of hurt feelings and sensitivities.

Today, the internet allows many people another avenue. They can be well mannered in person but let their true politically incorrect uncensored feelings stated anonymously. Perhaps this is why political correctness and censorship has been taken to such extremes in recent decades. People are stifled from direct debates and discussions and do so anonymously. Thus they are less protective of their personal free speech because they have anonymous free speech that they use in lieu of direct person to person communication which could risk repercussions to their friendship or their job/career/business.

This is one reason why I support all regulation of the tech companies to protect privacy and delete personal profiles and personal postings (ie the right to be forgotten on the internet). Imagine for a minute how uncomfortable it would be if the telephone company was allowed to keep recordings of your telephone conversations since the inception of the telephone (ie the last 100 years).

#12 Comment By Stefan On April 16, 2018 @ 2:23 pm

Manners are an impediment to immanentizing the eschaton, they will not be tolerated by either the left or the right.

#13 Comment By mike c On April 16, 2018 @ 4:30 pm

Stefan: Other than the transparent vibration of love without opposite (manners a very substantial essence of greater love)
immanentizating the eschaton remains forever outside the realms of possibility (even if its not a good idea) and the either left or right you speak of smacks of limitations to the manifestation of any possibility to that end.

#14 Comment By Grace Bress On April 16, 2018 @ 4:52 pm

Her hostile comment about a typical Fox News panel is revealing. I am surprised that she is writing for a conservative magazine.

#15 Comment By Michael On April 16, 2018 @ 5:14 pm

Rule of thumb I picked up from somewhere and am striving to follow, myself: Never say anything online that you wouldn’t say to a person’s face in real life. We’d be much more civil if we didn’t hide behind our screens.

#16 Comment By Old West On April 16, 2018 @ 5:56 pm

Nice article. My own genteel father wouldnt always be proud of me, I fear. I should remember him and his example more.

#17 Comment By Mark On April 16, 2018 @ 6:19 pm

Progressives won’t understand your Biblical references. Moral Therapeutic Deism, basically egocentric humanism, part of the Yankee Puritan legacy for a government deist oriented utopia is incongruent with scripture unless it fits their goal. Marxists aren’t looking for compromise. They want control. Pragmatism has replaced the Judean Christian spirituality. There is no common ground.

#18 Comment By Patrick On April 16, 2018 @ 6:49 pm

TAC is one of the few sites that I will post comments because it reviews comments to screen comments to remove those that have no constructive purpose.

I’m very conservative by nature but have many liberal friends that I have civil dialogs with and think that I have influenced many to appreciate conservative or libertarian perspectives that they may not otherwise considered. My goal is not “to win an argument” but to try and give someone a different perspective to consider.

I no longer post to most conservative blogs because of how uncivil some who do not find me enough of a purest for their ideology. Perhaps a better strategy would be to debate others with the goal of changing opinions rather than getting dozens of like comments from likeminded people but driving away others with a different political opinion who are open minded and may have been persuaded otherwise.

#19 Comment By Stefan On April 16, 2018 @ 7:00 pm

Mike C

I am only implying that both will try. Western democracies are deep, deep in Hutus vs Tutsis territory at this point. The dominant action-images of our era always in some form incorporate the Lacanian passage à l’acte (a more impulsive form of acting out), which is characterized by jouissance, i.e. enjoyment in excess of the pleasure principle. In this case a tendency to defend one’s point of view in ways that might be considered excessively fierce or needlessly antagonistic if the objective were to rationally maximize the influence of one’s own side’s ideas by showing respect for social conventions. That is crank nostalgia nowadays, in part because the objective is not to convince but to rally the already convinced and prepare them for battle, i.e. the eschaton. The target of political messaging is not bourgeois salon dweller but the rather the prepper. The operative norm for judging political arguments now is that they “trigger” the other side.

Manners are an impediment to this since they imply that the trigger is not pulled, and that ideally the existence of latent hostility is not even hinted at. Manners are by their nature obfuscatory and irreducible to protocol, hence feminine. Rule one of modernity: there is no space for girls, unless they are metaphysical transgenders who deal in uncompromising assertions of binary truths and consequently are always ready to deliver harsh judgment. Instead one brags about the size of one’s nuke button, since the action-images late modern culture craves are those of the button pushed, the launch order signed, the the vulgar joke told, the dismissive tweet sent out, the smackdown delivered, the trigger pulled (remember how candidate Trump bragged that he could shoot people and it wouldn’t hurt his ratings…).

#20 Comment By greenlibertarian On April 16, 2018 @ 9:54 pm

Centralist says:
April 16, 2018 at 10:58 am
neutral

So your fellow citizen is now your enemy? Am I your enemy, I lean left on a lot of things.

Irony is dead.

#21 Comment By greenlibertarian On April 16, 2018 @ 9:56 pm

Whoops, scratch that.

neutral says:
April 16, 2018 at 10:24 am
You are going to have to explain why one should have manners towards one enemy. And enemy is the correct word to use here, any dictionary definition of the word confirms to me that is exactly what leftists are these day.

Irony is dead.

#22 Comment By Ray Woodcock On April 17, 2018 @ 1:19 am

Blunt and open people can be unpleasant, but at least you know where you stand. Self-limiting and humble people can be pleasant, but they can also perpetuate dysfunctionalities by declining to say what needs to be said. The best guide for behavior in this area seems to be that, whichever approach you choose, some will wish you had chosen the other one.

To dissent from some other remarks in this piece,

1. Gentlemanlike conduct does not require humility. Many lawyers, for instance, are able to put on a great show of courtly behavior, so to speak, without being at all humble.

2. I don’t know that journalists are seeking to push people’s buttons. That’s not how you sell newspapers or advertising. I think they’ve found, rather, that they are compelled to take and defend relatively stark positions. In a discussion between friends, the important thing is the person; the beliefs are more of an accessory. But in a public debate, the important thing is the belief; the person is unimportant. You get run over, not because the tracks are hostile, but because the train arrives.

3. The claim that politicians “clamor to offend each other” likewise personalizes the largely impersonal pursuit of power. We don’t improve the present climate by misconstruing it. It is understandable that a person would be afraid of getting into the mix. That inclination may be conducive to peace in many situations. But a mere unwillingness to get one’s hands dirty is not humility.

4. I don’t know if Williamson’s suggestion that struggling communities deserve to die was made for dramatic effect. There is a very familiar economic belief that capitalism entails a process of [11]. It could be expensive to favor widespread preservation of old ways and places. Most Americans don’t seem to want to pay that price. Those who do may be more comfortable in a more traditional and less wealth-oriented culture.

5. Filipovic’s tweets seem typical of commentary on both sides. People are frustrated because they don’t understand each other; and often they don’t understand each other because they don’t try. Why they don’t try, I’m not sure. There are [12]. But I don’t think deliberate contrariness is much of an explanation.

6. Notwithstanding such dissents, I share a wish for a less abrasive culture. But in a large and complex society, nothing is simple. That wish is [13].

I do applaud Ms. Olmstead’s quotations from Romans and so forth. It would truly be a different world if so-called Christians believed in being Christlike. As Gandhi answered Paul, you must be the change you wish to see in this world.

#23 Comment By Frank Williams On April 17, 2018 @ 2:08 am

So who is the most gentlemanly gentleman on the world stage today? Vladimir Putin clearly. He never shouts. He never hurls insults. He never calls people names. He rarely even looks angry. And he never ever says that this or that country is “evil” or an “enemy.” On the contrary, as much as Trump and prior Presidents trash him, he is always courteous and polite towards them–always referring to the US and NATO as our partners.” That’s why the mainstream media never let him speak. That’s why Time and Newsweek have to descend to cartoons and Photoshop to make him look enraged and demonic. He’s too calm and controlled and gentlemanly for them. That comes from his being a deeply devout Russian Orthodox Christian and an 8th degree black belt in Judo (which means “Gentle Path” in Japanese). “Every Judo match begins and ends with a bow,” Judoka say. Judo is about respect most of all. Respect for one’s self. Respect for one’s partner. Respect for one’s limits. Respect for civic, civil, chivalric virtues. And the man who taught him all about Judo and self-control and the mutual benefit of mutual respect (or “Jita Kyoie” in Japanese) was Putin’s beloved Jewish Judo sensei and “second father,” the late Anatoly Rakhlin. Look up “Putin Rakhlin” om Google Images and see what you get. I’ll tell what I see. I see a man in Putin who truly loved his old Jewish sensei and loved to be around him and mourned that gentle Judo man’s passing greatly. For Rakhlin instilled many chivalric virtues in Putin both by word and example–philotimo among them. Will philotimo now be shown to me for daring to be a foolish fond old Irish American, nearing 80, who still believes he has an American right to speak his mind without being cursed or sassed or shouted down. Don’t bother bashing me. I will be dust again before you know it. What’s important is whether you believe Putin’s civility should be met with civility? Should philotimo be extended to him? What would Thucydides say?

#24 Comment By Nisbet On April 17, 2018 @ 9:28 am

Although the author’s father sounds like a great man, a true citizen, the fact is that his generation conserved very little. The world has been remade despite his and Burke’s mannerly objections.

Why make peace with defeat? I’ll fight with words as long as possible, and when violence inevitably comes, I’ll choose the least ugly faction.

#25 Comment By Mike On April 17, 2018 @ 10:21 am

Thank you, Gracie, for such a wonderful commentary. My wife and I have consistently emphasized manners to our children, but your article showed me something else I wasn’t expecting: a critique of my own behavior. Although I preach the values of gentlemanliness, your examples revealed to me that I do not always speak with such gentleness, especially regarding controversial issues and even more especially doing so with people who disagree with me.

Thank you for pointing me to be more like Christ.

#26 Comment By BobS On April 17, 2018 @ 12:06 pm

A lot of words written bemoaning “The Collapse of Manners” without one of them being ‘Trump’.

#27 Comment By Youknowho On April 17, 2018 @ 1:20 pm

I doubt that this is a new development. All through history there has been a set of manners. One, carefully codified, for the members of the group/family one belongs to – that is people that you have to live with and who can demand an accounting from you. And another, much laxer, for those who are not members – that is people who are in no position to demand an accounting from you. With them, anything goes – up to the point of robbery and murder.

Do not forget that it was the well-mannered Southerners who took part in lynchings, to the point of taking selfies next to the corpses. Within their group, their manners were exquisite. Outsid their group, those others could be raped and murdered with no repercusions.

So it has been through history. The question usually is “Will mistreating this person bring bad consequences from me?” There is no ethics in it, jut cold calculation.

Now, the circle of those who we can safely mistreat has expanded. And that brings a problem to attention.

#28 Comment By Frank Williams On April 18, 2018 @ 12:08 am

In the spirit of Gracy’s Dad, as a white-bred Republican American, nearing 80, who started an “I like Ike” campaign in my Democratic hometown in 1952. I decided I’d see how far manners had “collapsed” at TAC by pointing out what a gentleman Vladimir Putin is. I never denied he was Evil Incarnate. I simply pointed out that he never raised his voice. He never called people names. He always referred to the US and NATO as “our partners, etc. I thought that some of the young fry might go ballistic. But I was hopeful that we white-haired wise ones would engage in a more civil debate about the relation of manners to character. (There are many examples of the disjuncture in Shakespeare.) Nothing of the sort took place. My comment was simply not posted with no explanation sent me even privately. Feedback should be a requirement on TAC especially. So long as our discourse is civil and no hate-speech is used, American citizens should be allowed a free exchange of views. The Federalist Papers speak eloquently to this point. If certain ideas, real or inferred, are to be forbidden in this post-Constitution age, those ideas should be named and the reasons for their prohibition spelled out. I hope the moderators will allow at least this comment to be posted so that we may engage in a healthy American debate on this issue.

Editors Note: Hi Frank, prior to our moderators approving/disapproving comments, the comments are automatically filtered through a spam filter. In some cases, such as yours, comments are inadvertently flagged as spam. Your prior comment has been approved. Apologies for the inconvenience.

#29 Comment By Youknowho On April 18, 2018 @ 10:54 am

@Frank Williams

Are you being ironical by pointing to Putin’s good manners? Yes. He does not shout, he does not badmouth you.

He just orders you killed.

Deliver me, Lord, from such good manners.

#30 Comment By mrscracker On April 18, 2018 @ 11:19 am

Mike,
Those were some lovely comments you made. Thank you!

#31 Comment By Jon On April 18, 2018 @ 11:45 am

Great post but for the fact that this partitioning of views accompanied with the collapse of respect had happened long before the emergence of the Internet.

In my youth when I associated with adherents of the far Left, I found this snarky lack of respect so abundant that calm discussion on the events of the day or even on Marxian theory turned into shouting matches and exchanges of expletive insults. Often such discussions never got off the ground as all had agreed to bury any attempt at discourse with labels and thus be done with it. The left was pockmarked with silos — formations that held steadfast to their dogma be it Trotskyist or some other variant of Marxist-Leninism. None cared to talk with the other side competing in political rallies to garner support and steel away membership from the other silos.

Respect for and civility towards the opposition along with maintaining a calm demeanor starts with listening. Without this capacity to listen, to understand from where the opponent is coming, insight in the thought and viewpoint of the person who disagrees — in short, empathy, no possibility exists for a civil discussion.

#32 Comment By March Hare On April 18, 2018 @ 12:56 pm

A good post, sounds like your dad would have been a good person to meet.

But her choice of words aside, do you have a list of reasonable conservative talking heads that would address Filipvic’s main claim? In this era of Faux News, I don’t. I wish I did.

#33 Comment By Youknowho On April 18, 2018 @ 5:00 pm

@JonF

Awful as those Marxists were, did any one of them stoop at low as Alex Jones, now being sued by the parents of the Sandy Hook kids?

Did anyone in the Left called grieving families liars and peddled conspiracy theories against them? Did the encourage violence against those families? Those families have received death threats from Alex Jones listeners.

No conservative I know of has bothered to denounce Jones in the name of conservatism. They just accept him as part of the tribe. I hope that I am wrong in this, and would like to have such a consertive pointed out.

But all the other ones who accepted him without demur, it is too late to complain about the lack of manners in today’s society.

#34 Comment By Tyro On April 23, 2018 @ 8:08 pm

You are going to have to explain why one should have manners towards one enemy. And enemy is the correct word to use here, any dictionary definition of the word confirms to me that is exactly what leftists are these day.

This is fine. But please do not be surprised when “leftists” don’t want anything to do with you or work with you. Or for “leftists” that are friends with your friends to tell them, “you need to choose between ‘neutral’ and me.”

People like to show off how they get “push people’s buttons” and then are surprised that no one actually wants to hang out with them, except a few people who figure that it’s safest to laugh along with the bully lest they become a target.