Wednesday, September 30, 2009

On Modern Concepts of Civility

Let's start by taking a look at Mr. John Derbyshire

DERBYSHIRE: Among the hopes that I do not realistically nurse is the hope that female suffrage will be repealed. But I’ll say this – if it were to be, I wouldn’t lose a minute’s sleep.
COLMES: We’d be a better country if women didn’t vote?
DERBYSHIRE: Probably. Don’t you think so?
COLMES: No, I do not think so whatsoever.
DERBYSHIRE: Come on Alan. Come clean here [laughing].
COLMES: We would be a better country? John Derbyshire making the statement, we would be a better country if women did not vote.
DERBYSHIRE: Yeah, probably.

John Debyshire is probably unfailingly polite, rigorous about avoiding profanity and almost certainly considers himself a titan of civility. I disagree. I think he's an asshole.

I don't call him an asshole because I hope to change his mind. Anyone who is opposed to women's suffrage in 2009 is not going to change his mind. He is hopelessly retrograde. I call him an asshole because he is an asshole. And people need to know that these assholes are out there.

If you believe that Barack Obama is a Manchurian president, hoping to convert America into czarist, socialist Russia, I am not going to change your mind at all. I am probably not even going to be able to convince you that czarist Russia and socialist Russia are entirely different entities. But if you and a whole bunch of your likeminded troglodyte friends gather together waving signs of Obama with a Hitler mustache or in tribal clothes, I reserve the damn right to call you an idiot. Why? Because people need to know that you idiots are out there.

We seem to be living in a country where, for example, it's considered less civil to point out someone's racism than it is to be a racist. Where a swear word or a slipped nipple send us straight to the fainting couch, but torture apologists offer seasoned wise Sunday morning counsel.

Finally, I want to be very clear here: if you think I'm talking about you, I'm probably not. These calls for civility are all over the internet, always coming from the right, and almost always following hard on the heels of some lefty who said "fuck" in a bloggy response to someone suggesting a military coup of our democratically elected president. Call me crazy (honestly, I don't mind. I'm a dirty fucking hippie, you can call me names), but I would love to see someone, somewhere point out that it's probably a little ruder to suggest that women shouldn't be allowed to vote than it is to say "fuck."

That is all. I am ending this rant. Fuck.