Civility

Ah, the famous civility of rightwing bloggers. Leading conservatives from Reynolds to Malkin to Hewitt will tell you that civility makes righties better people than the angry liberal mob. Rightwingers never stoop to petty name-calling, they will tell you, and they correct their own on the (vanishingly!) rare occasion when somebody proves them wrong. We even have a commenter who mostly bewails the mean, terribly uncivil Left.

Needless to say boasting of one’s good qualities is fairly reliable sign that the reverse is true. Some folks just have a mean streak, more often the echo chamber amplifies a tenuous claim until even rasonable individuals grow angry and incredulous that anybody could possibly disagree with a point categorically asserted by virtually all of the big bloggers. The famously civil Editors label it the online circle jerk. You can read a couple of examples below, or head over to Greenwald for a typically thorough thesis on the topic. Note the almost ludicrously civil exchange in Glenn’s update.

Alright, so this has been a fun little trip through obvious land. Lest anybody accuse me of wasting a post on trivia, I’lll close with my favorite criticism of the rightwing civility meme to date. Surprisingly no leftie has put the point in terms quite as damaging as Dean Barnett.

“If you look at the top tier of right-wing bloggers, they’re almost unfailingly civil,” wrote Dean Barnett for the opinion Web site Townhall.com.

He charged that Erickson was trying to turn right-wing Web sites into “the kingmakers that the left-wing blogs are.”

Unlike uppity libs who think that they should have some say in the political process, rightwing blogs are civil. Civility means knowing your place.

***Update***

Weird. John posted on the same topic (see post below) but I didn’t notice until now. Based on where his post appears in my RSS reader I have to assume that our timestamp device was briefly possessed by the debbil.






48 replies
  1. 1
    r€nato says:

    leave it to us incivil unhinged lefty barbarians to nitpick a typo-

    opportinity?

    (yes I did actually read your post)

  2. 2
    craigie says:

    No civil people ever made history. Or something like that.

  3. 3
    jake says:

    Of course dear chap. But you must remember that the rules of civility only apply to those who have the proper view of the world. The unwashed, upstart rabble that is the liberal proletariat are not really … like us on the right. Why, being civil to a lefty would be sillier than being polite to one’s dog! Fwah, fwah, fwah!

    Look, we’ve already established these guys are wrong, wrong, wrong about everything. Add “We’re the polite ones,” to the long list of delusions.

    somebone

    Come on, admit it. This isn’t an accidental typo.

  4. 4
    r€nato says:

    OK now I am going to be a touch incivil… this blog is affiliated with PJ Media. Isn’t that a touch embarrassing to you, considering the latest Ace/Charles Johnson-led bout of Tourette’s over ‘Hummelgate’?

  5. 5
    Tim F. says:

    Thanks for the typo checks, guys. I have a very, very bad habit of proofreading after I hit post. By all appearances that puts me 50% up on JC.

    this blog is affiliated with PJ Media. Isn’t that a touch embarrassing to you

    It would be if PJs had any editorial influence on our blog. SInce they don’t, and John and I contribute nothing at all that they don’t pick up from our front page, I just consider them an annoying ad service.

  6. 6
    craigie says:

    I like to take my cue from the King of Civility himself, not to mention the Lord of the Right, when I say:

    Go fuck yourself.

  7. 7
    The Left says:

    Oh, the things I’ve done to this country! And for The Right to hold its/his/her/their tongue(s) like that, it really takes some doin’.

  8. 8
    Paul L. says:

    Hard to believe that Glenn Greenwald started out by pretending to be a disgruntled “conservative”.
    As he requested John to place him in the Center to Right blogroll.
    For a example of Civility see how he refers to Drudge and Glenn Reynolds.

  9. 9
    John Redworth says:

    I read a lot of sites from the left and right and it is easy to say that civility (and uncivil discourse) can be found on either side… Yet, I find those who loudly claim to be civil then acting like a 7 year old who was told they couldn’t have any pudding reside on the right side…

    Tim, I am glad someone finally brought this up besides some of us small time bloggers have mentioned but have been ignored… maybe this will bring it out to the light where it needs to grow…

  10. 10
    Zifnab says:

    For a example of Civility see how he refers to Drudge and Glenn Reynolds.

    *clears throat* LIBERALS DO IT TOO!

    I think Paul misses the point (as usual). Lefties never billed themselves as the saints of the intertrons. That halo was bestowed to the right-wing’o’sphere by the right-wing’o’sphere. Lefties just find it funny when they see the angels start crapping on each other.

  11. 11
    ATS says:

    It is well beyond a civility issue when old friends accuse one of being a traitor and wanting the enemy to win. This isn’t mere misundestanding. This is calumny. Why the hell should I forgive it and just “move on”? It sticks in my craw.

    I am just one among many who will be angry for a long time. And not just because these swaggering bastards own me a half a trillion dollars.

  12. 12
    Off Colfax says:

    Yeah. Just about par for the course. I can really see the scene at the keyboard.

    “Learn some fucking civility, dickhead!”

    About as civil as bar night at a longshoreman’s convention. About as civil as the comment section at Eschaton or Pandagon for a post titled “Fuck The Fucking Fuckers… In A Nice Way, Of Course”. (Wouldn’t surprise me if Duncan Black AND Amanda Marcotte actually used that one, come to think of it.) About as civil as a Marine DI, circa 1965. About as civil as a heated argument on the Senate floor between Dick Cheney, Joe Lieberman and John McCain.

    God, this civility is HARD, man!

    If it’s all the same to them, I’ll keep going to The Moderate Voice for my daily dose of civil discourse.

  13. 13
    ThymeZone says:

    “Why waste four pitches putting a man on, when I can (hit him and) do it with one?”

    Don Drysdale on the intentional walk.

    This basically describes my attitude toward civility.

  14. 14
    The Other Steve says:

    For a example of Civility see how he refers to Drudge and Glenn Reynolds.

    The word Hack isn’t wrong, is it? I mean, they are hacks after all.

  15. 15
    Andrew says:

    If it’s all the same to them, I’ll keep going to The Moderate Voice for my daily dose of civil discourse.

    It’s not worth it, man. You’ll die of boredom within the hour.

  16. 16
    Pb says:

    John posted on the same topic (see post below) but I didn’t notice until now.

    Perhaps you hadn’t yet adopted (and adapted) Robert’s Rules Of Order for your online deliberations? Tut-tut. Cheerio, then!

  17. 17
    My Truth Hurts says:

    And you’re still on Pajamas Media because….?

  18. 18
    mclaren says:

    Just a trivial ultra-technical note: you have to remember that the TCP/IP protocol does not guarantee arrival times. If a packet gets corrupted, the IP protocol detects it and requests a re-send. If TCP detects packets going into the bit bucket, it deduces a bad route and tries another route on the re-send. For this reason, it’s entirely possible for post or email X to be sent _before_ post/e-mail Y, yet get time-stamped as being sent, or having arrived, _after_ post/e-mail Y. The time-stamp is not produced by the sedning computer, but by the first internet gateway that routes the message, and gateways can get congested and backed up. happen.

    In particular, you’ll occasionally see this kind of quirk on forums where two people post at closely-spaced times. Sometimes you’ll notice a reply appearing _before_ an answer on a forum. It’s not tachyon express (when it absolutely, positively has to get there before you send it) but typically a constipated server.

    TCP/IP is not a real-time system. It wasn’t intended to preserve the time sequence of digital messages. It was designed not for speed or timely email delivery, but to survive a nuclear war with most of the routers and servers blown up.

  19. 19
    rachel says:

    I think of top-tier right-wing bloggers as more like Andrew Sullivan than Michelle Malkin because noise ≠ quality.

  20. 20
    p.lukasiak says:

    Demands for civil discourse usually come from people in power who use it as a tool to ignore objections to their decisions. Its not about dialogue. As long as people speak “civilly” they can be ignored “civilly” (‘thanks for sharing’). It is only when those outside the circles of power get confrontational and ‘in your face’ that these people get heard — and get their message out.

  21. 21
    Bombadil says:

    Somewhat related to the civility discourse, I hope this makes John happy.

  22. 22
    Bombadil says:

    And those Paragons of Civility over at Little Green Footballs note the news about Cindy Sheehan under the heading “We won’t have Mama Moonbat to kick around”.

    Look it up yourself, I won’t give those cretins a link.

  23. 23
    Andrew says:

    TCP/IP is not a real-time system. It wasn’t intended to preserve the time sequence of digital messages. It was designed not for speed or timely email delivery, but to survive a nuclear war with most of the routers and servers blown up.

    Nerd alert! Like I care how my talky-types move through the tubes. I know that if I pray hard enough, they go super fast and always show up on time.

  24. 24
    Andrew says:

    I think of top-tier right-wing bloggers as more like Andrew Sullivan than Michelle Malkin because noise ≠ quality.

    You think wrong.

    Malkin is in the absolute tip-top right wing bloggers club. Sullivan has virtually nothing to do with right wing thought.

  25. 25
    MJ says:

    Reynolds isn’t a conservative and when did he ever claim that civility makes righties better people?

  26. 26
    Andrew says:

    Reynolds isn’t a conservative

    Heh.

  27. 27
  28. 28
    rachel says:

    Sullivan Michelle Malkin has virtually nothing to do with right wing thought.

    She does pretty well at poo-flinging, though. ☣

  29. 29
    The Other Steve says:

    Reynolds isn’t a conservative and when did he ever claim that civility makes righties better people?

    Time for another Blogging Ethics Panel Discussion

    Glenn Reynolds: Some examples of good user communities are Slate’s “The Fray” (where I started) and Slashdot. Both, however, are moderated.

    My own sense is that it’s very hard to preserve civility — or even a good ratio of interestingness to flaming — on sites that have high traffic without a fair degree moderation. There’s some sort of a threshold after which things tend to break down into USENET-style flamewars, which some people like, but which I’m tired of. I find the comments on Atrios, Kos, or for that matter Little Green Footballs, to be tiresome.

  30. 30
    John S. says:

    I think Paul misses the point (as usual).

    What more can we expect from a zombie colon?

  31. 31
    MJ says:

    You folks obviously don’t read Glenn Reynold’s blog very often to come up a simplistic pigeonholing of him a conservative.

    Lets read some of his conservative stuff:

    I agree with David Brooks that gay marriage is a good thing, and actually strengthens traditional values rather than harming them.
    http://instapundit.com/archives/012677.php

    As far as I’m concerned, social liberalism is the best thing the Democratic Party has going for it.
    http://instapundit.com/archives/024778.php

    I split my votes, supporting Democrat Phil Bredesen for Governor, and — of course — I voted against the Tennessee anti-gay-marriage constitutional amendment. In order to pass, that will have to get not just a majority, but a majority of all votes cast in the gubernatorial race, meaning that not voting on it is tantamount to a “no” vote. I hope it won’t pass; it’s not getting a lot of publicity, though I’m sure that the religious-right crowd is pushing it in direct mail, etc.

    ANOTHER UPDATE: How did I vote in the House race? Well, there isn’t really one here, as the incumbent, Jimmy Duncan (R), is a lock. But I actually voted for his Democratic opponent, John Greene.
    http://instapundit.com/archives/033395.php

    So Glenn Reynalds is a conservative??? Heh!!

  32. 32
    MJ says:

    oopps one of the quotes was Michael Totten posting on Glenns blog not Glenn. Sorry, my bad!

  33. 33
    Andrew says:

    So Glenn Reynalds is a conservative???

    Yes.

    This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.

  34. 34
    AkaDad says:

    I’ve said it before, but it needs repeating. The definition of civility, from many Conservatives, means you can call for the deaths of Americans, as long as you don’t use profanity.

  35. 35
    MJ says:

    Glenn is right in step with all the other conservatives that think gay marriage is a good thing and voted for Democrat Phil Bredesen. What reality do you operate in Andrew?

    Some more conservative stuff from Glenn:

    I think that abstinence-only education is a waste of money, and tends to veer into religious indoctrination.

    http://instapundit.com/archives/030252.php

    I’m against these bills. I don’t think abortion ought to be illegal.

    http://instapundit.com/archives/028996.php

    Those are the words of a conservative in your world Andrew?

  36. 36
    ThymeZone says:

    I’ve said it before, but it needs repeating. The definition of civility, from many Conservatives, means you can call for the deaths of Americans, as long as you don’t use profanity they are Liberals.

    Adjusted for accuracy.

  37. 37
    Holden says:

    Andrew and Tim are from a alternative reality where conservatives vote for Democrats, are against making abortion illegal, are against abstinence-only education and are for gay marriage.

  38. 38
    Tim F. says:

    MJ, I think that you are a little behind the curve on the modern meaning of conservatism. Have you noticed the frontrunner for the GOP nomination? Even religious conservatives support Rudy over the field.

    Clearly fear of a gay planet is pre-9/11 thinking. These days conservatism means locking up Americans and furriners indefinitely, supporting torture, ending habeas corpus and killing the muslims before they get us first. Needless to say Glenn “more rubble, less trouble” Reynolds fits in just as neatly as as Michelle “concentration camps” Malkin.

  39. 39
    Andrew says:

    Dick Cheney thinks that gay people should have shared parental rights or some shit. I guess that makes him a Guevara t-shit wearing, latte drinking liberal.

    Holden and MJ, if you think a protest vote for a Democrat who was guaranteed to lose makes Instahack a liberal, it just means you’re stupid.

    His other positions are always explained by his fakey libertarianism and an absurdist reduction to states rights.

    Of course, as Tim mentioned, on the important issues of the government incarcerating and torturing people, he’s all for big brother. I wonder why people so desperately defend someone who supports the favored tactics of the Nazis.

  40. 40
    The Other Steve says:

    MJ,

    What’s your point? It seems like you are trying to defend Reynolds from being called a hack, by pointing out he’s not a pure conservative.

  41. 41
    Pb says:

    Instahack isn’t a conservative just like O’Reilly isn’t a conservative.

  42. 42
    MJ says:

    Silly me, I didn’t know there was a litmus test of just one issue that defined a person as a conservative. I never got that memo.

    Lets see how Joe Lieberman rates:

    2005 Senator Lieberman supported the interests of the American Conservative Union 8 percent in 2005.

    Americans for Democratic Action gives him an 80% rating

    I guess they never got the memo either.

    But under the Andrew / Tim test he must be a conservative. … LOL

    You folks are one dimensional and simplistic.

    Andrew if you think a person that is against making abortion illegal, is against abstinence-only education, is for gay marriage and voted for Democrat Phil Bredesen is a conservative then you are stupid.

  43. 43
    Pb says:

    MJ,

    I have a feeling that Instahack is probably closer to Giuliani than he is to Lieberman, but given enough of his positions, I’m sure we could quantify his conservatism relatively accurately…

  44. 44
    Andrew says:

    Andrew if you think a person that is against making abortion illegal, is against abstinence-only education, is for gay marriage and voted for Democrat Phil Bredesen is a conservative then you are stupid.

    Wow, way to pick and choose some arbitrary issues.

    Based on your tiny laundry list, I guess this also means that Rudy Giuliani, Condi Rice, Susan Collins, Barry Goldwater, Bill Kristol, etc. aren’t at all conservative.

    It boils down to which side you support. Reynolds pulls for Bush when psuh comes to shove and his few policy disagreements are mere cover for him to pretend to not be an ideologue. It is clear that he is a tool of the right wing noise machine.

  45. 45
    Newt says:

    Andrew I’ll keep this simple for you. Conservatives are NOT pro choice and are NOT for gay marriage.

    Reynolds describes himself as a Libertarian. You of course think you know better then he does what he is.

  46. 46
    Andrew says:

    The libertarians at reason laugh at Reynolds when he describes himself as a libertarian.

    And you’re being basically dishonest about Reynolds, who really believes in states rights formulations that the federal government should not be involved in these social issues. This is the opposite of left wing.

    Just like Giuliani, Romney, etc. They aren’t right wing?

    Reynolds is pro-maximum government power in the war on terror which is the absolutely furthest thing from libertarian in the universe. He has some liberal social values, which are quite common among the Republican elite. But he pulls the lever for the Bush administration.

  47. 47
    MJ says:

    But he pulls the lever for the Bush administration.

    Wrong again Andrew!

    A quote from Glenn’s blog:

    “I didn’t vote for George W. Bush in 2000. I’ve never voted for any Republican president.”

    http://instapundit.com/archives/019022.php

    So that would make Glenn Reynalds a ‘Conservative’ that is Pro Choice, that is for gay marriage, and voted for Al Gore. He also voted for Clinton twice, Dukakis and Mondale. Plus for Governor last year he voted for the Democrat, Phil Bredesen and the Democratic, John Greene for Congress.

    Do the ‘Republican elite’ vote that way? Are you silly or just stubborn?

    Who is ‘being basically dishonest’? You are Andrew.

    Not everybody fits into the neat little labels.

    Andrew if the Dems didn’t pick such a loser to run for President in 2004 I bet Reynalds would have continued to pull the lever for the Dems.

    Tim F. Says:

    MJ, I think that you are a little behind the curve on the modern meaning of conservatism.

    Tim your definition is so Orwellian that it puts you in a league with the nutroots over at Kos.

  48. 48
    Bombadil says:

    Wrong again Andrew!

    A quote from Glenn’s blog:

    “I didn’t vote for George W. Bush in 2000. I’ve never voted for any Republican president.”

    http://instapundit.com/archives/019022.php

    So that would make Glenn Reynalds [sic] a ‘Conservative’ that is Pro Choice, that is for gay marriage, and voted for Al Gore. He also voted for Clinton twice, Dukakis and Mondale. Plus for Governor last year he voted for the Democrat, Phil Bredesen and the Democratic, John Greene for Congress.

    While the quote may be from “Glenn’s blog”, the quote is not from “Glenn”. The quote (which goes back to November, 2004 — nice digging) is from Michael Totten. It doesn’t make “Glenn Reynalds” anything.

    If you’re going to link to something, you should probably read it first.

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