The Rules of Civil Political Disagreement
In a recent Facebook exchange, the
Tony Carvajal and I were bemoaning the lack of civility in modern political discourse. I suggested that what’s needed now is a
for Civility that outlines what’s fair and what scores below the belt.
I invite everyone who is tired of the current climate of rhetorical distortion and hate politics to weigh in and suggest what the Rules of Civil Political Disagreement should be. Here are a few thoughts to get us started:
1. Attack the position, not the person.
2. Don’t raise a charge without
3. Don’t attack someone’s family.
, ie. by suggesting someone is only taking a position because he is in the pocket of a nefarious influence, such as a lobbyist, insider or “special interest” or is himself a closeted evildoer, such as a liberal, socialist, communist, religious fanatic, gun nut or tree-hugger.
5. Don’t turn an alleged behavior into a
. As I frequently remind my children, you can say your brother lied but you cannot call him a liar. This suggests he is so accomplished at the vile behavior as to be defined by it.
6. Never incite
7. Don’t question motives. Let the facts speak for themselves (but make sure the facts are correct.)
straw man arguments
, ie. because you disagree with Obamacare, you don’t care if people have no health insurance OR if you question defense spending you are against national security.
9. Avoid ad hominem attacks, that is raising an irrelevant fact about a person to discredit an argument, ie. what do you expect from a
10. Under no circumstances call someone a
Ok, there’s a start. Now, it’s your turn to weigh in. Submit your suggestions for the Hoyle of Civility by filling out the form below. Maybe we can interest
in staging a by the Hoyle debate between the political parties so we all can see what a civil discourse looks like.
Do Not Fill This Out