Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Tyranny of Nice

An NPR whinger is upset that Americans have not yet resolved to be "nicer" (more Canadian-like?):
This week brought a high volume of hypercharged rhetoric over whether hypercharged rhetoric contributed to last Saturday's shootings in Tucson, Ariz. Yet there is no indication that the country will do better when it comes to violent speech, or that the spitting match will ever end.
The airwaves and blogosphere continue to zing with tirades and accusations and recriminations. And The New York Times reported on Thursday that the two-year-old Civility Project, an effort to get members of Congress to sign a pledge of mannerliness, is being dissolved because only three people signed it.

Does the public really want a kinder, gentler brand of politics?..
Gawd, let's hope not. Can you imagine the kind of insipid, wussified, mealy-mouthed discourse there would be if Americans let the Democratic Miss Mannerses have their way? (Why, yes; yes I can because I live in Wussland, a nation [dis]graced by an entire apparatus--our "human rights" commissions and tribunals--devoted to making folks submit without complaint to PC "kinder and gentler.")

Beware of those who want you to lower your voice. What they really want is for you to not raise too much of a fuss as they ram through their agenda (and their side makes all the noise it wants).

Update: Jonathan Kay has an NPR moment:
For years, I have been listening every weekday to On Point, a National Public Radio talk show hosted by Tom Ashbrook, a serious journalist who has born witness to genocidal hatred in Europe and Africa, and who is old enough to remember JFK's death. Yet even he could not help himself from writing these words on Sunday: "This is the river's edge. We've got to pull back. Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford's shooter was 22. That means he grew up in America's years of trash talk -- of increasingly rash, intolerant, hate-filled talk. Years of framing disagreement as Armageddon and opponents as traitors. This has to stop."

Variations of this were penned by a million different journalists, Facebook pundits and Tweeters. All of them effectively rehashed on the 1963 Times editorial informing Americans that none of them could "escape a share of the fault for the spiral of unreason and violence." And all of them missed the point that Loughner didn't care a whit about any "trash talk" except that contained in his own sick head.
It's called political opportunism. But I like to think we're a lot smarter than we were back when JFK was assassinated by another lone non-right wing nutter.

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