Saturday, December 22, 2007

Respect and Civility in Blogging and in Life

I read a post at Blue Star Chronicles this morning. It pushed my buttons and required a response. BSC’s owner is currently out of the country for her soldier son’s wedding (Happy Wedding Day, Joshua and Michaela!) In Beth's absence, Pick Up the Pen’s author, Ed, crossposted on his site and on BSC a good discussion of civility, blogging, and Christmas.

In case you don’t have time or the inclination to go to one of these good spots to read the entire dissertation, here are a few edited and condensed nuggets containing the essence of the sentiment.

In this world it is hard to express an opinion without drawing the fire of someone who disagrees, and very often that disagreement is expressed bluntly by a hateful attack upon the writer - rants of screaming derision, slander, pomposity and arrogance, hateful attitudes that are all way too common in today’s world. Apparently the weapon of choice for these intellects is the blunt instrument of hot, turgid rhetoric.

When did we lose the ability to have a civil conversation of disagreement? Today there is little requirement for politeness, no respect for the opinions of strangers. Civility, which used to be the presumption, is on a losing streak. If we are to regain our civility, we must, as a species and as a society, learn to tolerate our differences. Toleration is not the same as liking something or agreeing with everybody. It is simply toleration. It is living with an idea that you might not choose to think or an action that you might not take yourself. Toleration does not mean anarchy or lawlessness, but rather it is the hallmark of a civil society. Civil society demands politeness, kindness and respect in all things. Face to face it is so much easier to be friendly, but behind the anonymity of the internet it is so much easier to not be civil and friendly. When looking someone in the eye it is much harder to differentiate, to hate, to accuse, to belittle, and to defame him.

Taking the high road always means a climb uphill, but the view is superior. So while you are out shopping this Christmas season listening to the carols or enjoying the company of officemates, or friends and family, even a stranger for that matter look into their eyes and pay attention to what you see.
Merry Christmas Eve Eve! And Happy Winter Solstice today!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just found this Joan, thanks for the mention. Hope all is well with you, Ed