What Happened To Civility?

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I find it disappointing that as time goes by, civil online discourse is getting harder and harder to find. Discussion forums used to be a lot of fun but anymore things deteriorate into flame wars at the drop of a hat. And I for one am sick of it.

Most websites have rules of conduct but it seems they rarely get enforced nowadays. Just today I was on a well-known Facebook Atheist page and we were discussing whether or not churches should be taxed. The OP was trying to make it appear that all churches are like the billion-dollar mega-churches, which is patently untrue. I pointed out that many rural churches barely manage to keep their lights on and that’s when the roof fell in on me.

Somehow, the debate swung around to gun rights and when I allowed that I’m pro-2A, the solid waste struck the rotary air circulation device with explosive force. Let’s see, in a matter of minutes I’d been called a…

  • Coward
  • Bully
  • Dick
  • Thumb-Dick Coward
  • Moron

Mind you, given the nature of who was calling me all these names it doesn’t bother me that much. People like them aren’t smart enough to insult me. It’s the sheer pointlessness of it I find problematic. What’s wrong with staying on topic and debating the known facts? Why must some people attack the messenger instead of the message?

And it isn’t just liberals or Atheists. The righties in general and the Christian right in particular have more than their share of people who are either unwilling or unable to have a civil discussion. If you doubt me, go check the comments on a few articles at Fox News. It’s amazing.

I have a theory based upon what I’ve seen. Generally speaking when these people start with the name-calling and childish insults, it’s because they have no substantive argument for their side. I’ve especially noticed this with liberals in debates on gun rights, and conservatives in debates about some of the sillier stories in the Bible (The Great Flood is my personal favorite). Once you back them into a corner, all pretense of civility goes away.

Some try to turn my words back on me (that doesn’t work) while others (mainly liberals) blow a gasket and start ranting. That’s when I get called names and my parentage often comes into question. Please note that contrary to what is occasionally said, I am 100% mammalian on both sides of my family.

With righties, it’s their ignorance. They don’t know their own bibles. They don’t know our Constitution. All they know is what they see on some right-wing website or a Fox News editorial. With liberals, they tend to be more knowledgeable but they’ve tied themselves to a broader agenda that involves the loss of way too many rights for my taste. Trust me – when it comes to the Second Amendment I am most certainly a “Cold Dead Hands” kind of guy.

And while conservatives are bad enough, liberals take temper tantrums to a whole new level. They squirm. They scream. They soil themselves. Modern liberals really are a shit-stain in the jockey shorts of humanity. I miss the old-guard liberals like Zell Miller and Joe Lieberman. They cared about people. They understood the necessity of capitalism. Law and order mattered to them. Nowadays? Most of the far left are mindless automatons.

And look at me – calling names and being rude. Well, I’ll admit they got me a little riled. So fork’em if they can’t take a joke, right? And hey if you wanna comment here or on FB feel free. Be civil to me and I will respond in kind. Later y’all.

Image Credit: Click Here

4 thoughts on “What Happened To Civility?

  1. Alan Burkhart Post author

    I never claimed to be perfect myself – I’m not even close. I just find it unsettling when people crucify each other simply because they disagree on one issue, or even just a single aspect of one issue. Nothing gets resolved that way. We should be able to disagree and talk about it without all the mud-slinging.


  2. danielwalldammit

    “Generally speaking when these people start with the name-calling and childish insults, it’s because they have no substantive argument for their side. ” This is a common assumption, useful as a means of declaring victory, but people also resort to such things when they realize the other person will not listen to reason. Whether or not this judgement it has been earned varies from case to case.


    1. Alan Burkhart Post author

      “This is a common assumption…”
      True enough, but quite often an accurate assumption as well. Especially when dealing with religious zealots. One that sticks in my memory was a few months back. I was involved in a friendly discussion with several people and the topic had drifted over to who has the burden of proof in religious debates. A guy who was not involved in the conversation chimed in with, “I don’t need man’s proof. I have God’s proof.”

      You can’t reason with someone like that. Logic rolls off them like water off a duck.



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