I love useful fools
For some odd reason, Mark Kleiman seems to think civility is a virtue, and is hammering Atrios over it because he went after Ana Marie Cox, formerly known as Wonkette, for attacking all the people whom she never liked, didn't much like her and went after her husband.
For some reason, he thinks this is sexist. Well, someone needs to inform Digby about this. I think they would be surprised..
But for the clueless, let me explain something: civility is a two way street. I can be civil to some people, people who disagree with me on this blog, because they are going to be civil to me. When Ms. Cox was uncivil to me, I addressed her concerns in a way which would prevent that from happening again.
Civility is more than politeness, it is defending your prinicples when they are attacked in a way consistent with them. An agressive defense is a civil response. When someone sweep a broad brush over people who support and defend you, it is not only uncivil, but cowardly to not respond in defense.
This is also not a loyalty test based on belief. This is about solidarity. We cannot ask the Democratic Party to present a unified front while ignoring vicious and unfair attacks on ourselves. If we don't stand for each other, how can we expect anyone to take us seriously?
This doesn't mean blind agreement, but collective defense, like NATO. That doesn't mean France and the UK agree on trade policy, but if someone attacks France, the UK puts those differences aside and joins in the common defense. But if Italy joins the attack on France, you don't continue to defend Italy as an ally. They are no longer part of the common defense.
When someone goes after our fellow bloggers, we engage in collective defense. If you go after Peter Daou, don't think he stands alone, because he doesn't. If you take him on, you better be prepared to take on a bunch of other people. Not because we agree with every word, but because if he acted responsibly, we are honor-bound to stand by him as he has stood by us.
And when we disagree, we disagree on the issues, not on his taste in shoes or his job. That is true civility.
Our readers stand with us as well, because they see the value in what we do. Which where our power comes from. It doesn't come from us alone. But to mistake civility for politeness is a sign of weakness. One can disagree civily, and defend oneself civily, but still stand one's ground. It is not a euphemism for weakness.
If Ms. Cox wants to stand by her man, that's fine. But if she chooses to do so by slagging people, then she will get an aggressive, if civil, response. She long ago violated any sense of collective security, by taking her act to inappropriate forums and placing her career first and foremost. Even Stephen Colbert leaves the stupid act at home.
But when she goes after people we respect for petty, trivial reasons, that collective security is going to come into play. Peter Daou doesn't get tossed under the bus because we want to make nice. We stick together because we benefit from it. She chose to turn on left bloggers, and they turned back on her. Just because she claimed to be on our side, she always acted like she was on her side.
Not because she didn't agree with us, but because she wanted to impress her new friends, she slagged a bunch of hard working people who she once identified with.
And that requires a civil response.
posted by Steve @ 1:27:00 PM