Civility Linkblogging: Violence, Economists, and Jack Lew

Civility Linkblogging
A Lynx, because Linkblogging

This post is part of an ongoing series that highlights discourse about civility from around the Web. We glean the links in this segment from as broad a cross-section as we can manage of blogs, newspapers, magazines, and other online venues, from the United States and around the world.

This week’s post centers around issues of civility in how we respond to violence. In addition to a piece about civil responses to June’s church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, we include a discussion about civility in activism responding to the Tamir Rice police shooting in Cleveland, Ohio. And we include a piece about balancing one’s own needs and beliefs with the needs and beliefs of others when it comes to open carry gun laws.

As always, if you have an article that you think would be right for future civility linkblogging posts, please do not hesitate to email it to us at [email protected]. Include the title, url, and a short summary, and we will gladly review it for publication.

Now — the list:

Man With Rifle Scares at Airport: How Important Is Civility to Open-Carry?
Posted by Patrik Jonsson at The Christian Science Monitor, June 6, 2015

Indeed, as Texas is set to become the largest state to allow open carry, the evolution of the practice encompasses not just gun rights, but shifting notions around self-defense and even growing insecurities for many blue-collar, white men in America, some of whom see gun carry as central to “duty, relevance, even dignity,” as Jennifer Carlson, a gun rights scholar, writes in the Los Angeles Times.

“Yes, gun owners can do this, and maybe it does some good by raising awareness that this is the law,” says Brian Anse Patrick, a University of Toledo communications professor and author of the upcoming book “PropaGUNda.” “But there’s still this funny area around etiquette and frightening people” that draws a line between “Second Amendment ambassadors and Second Amendment exhibitionists.”

In Peaceful Protests over Police Verdict, Cleveland Has Just Seen Values in Action
Posted by Patricia Frost-Books, Kim Richards, and Ratanjit S. Sondhe at, June 7, 2015

Just after Tamir Rice’s death, some leaders sought to squelch the public dialogue, pushing it behind closed doors or within favored institutions with specific agendas. Thoughtful people pushed back on this idea. It never happened.

Instead, there were listening tours, community meetings, congregational meetings, street meetings and school meetings. Rage was vented. Pastors and organizations recommended changes to the mayor and the U.S. attorney. Gov. John Kasich created a diverse task force on police conduct. Police allowed demonstrators to yell at them. They responded calmly — civilly. Dialogue ensued. It was messy at times, but people were heard….

How we each strive to be a part of that solution is key. Are we a community of silos and self-interest that ignores our oneness? Or do we become a community of values, one that models kindness, caring and respect and enables success?

Don’t Squander Opportunities for Real Debate by Heckling
Posted by Elihu D. Stone at The Jerusalem Post, June 10, 2015

It is uncomfortable being booed off of a stage for merely voicing an opinion or articulating an idea. It can even be uncomfortable to watch someone else get booed off a stage. All other things being equal, common decency and decorum would seem to demand that anyone invited to speak at a diplomatic conference who politely voices a democratically elected administration’s policy deserves at least respectful silence while speaking.

However, US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew was not accorded that courtesy this week at the annual Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference – and that has some people feeling very uncomfortable.

Civility Breaks Out Among Econ Wonks
Posted by Noah Smith at Bloomberg View, June 19, 2015

I’ve started to notice a funny thing in the last two years, in the blogosphere and on Twitter. There is a lot more agreement than before, and the discourse on economic issues is a lot less poisonous.

This will come as a surprise to people who follow Twitter and blogs. These have been the years of Ferguson and Eric Garner, of GamerGate, of the Rolling Stone rape story. The cultural battles around race, gender and identity rage unabated, and the flames are fanned by vicious anonymous provocateurs.

But in the economics and policy world, the winds have begun to shift. A new atmosphere of comity, patience and rationalism is prevailing, and it’s breaking down barriers between liberals and conservatives, interventionists and free-marketers.

Civil Behavior Abounds in Response to Tragedy
Posted by Carolyn Lukensmeyer at The Huffington Post, June 22, 2015

The tragedy last week in Charleston, S.C., in which nine people were murdered, has evoked a local, state and national response bathed in civility. In fact, what we have witnessed since the shooting on June 16, sets an example for the nation of the hope and promise that can come from collective demonstrations of civil behavior….

Just days after the shooting, the families of the nine individuals who were murdered offered up a vital lesson for the nation on the power of civility. Roof appeared on screen at the bond hearing and, one-by- one, family members spoke directly to him on screen, forgiving him for what he did. To a person, these individuals, who spoke from places within of deep pain, abounding grief, offered prayers for Roof’s soul and forgiveness for what he did.

Civility Linkblogging: Accountability, Gemeinschaftsgefuehl, and Bush 41

By Anita Pratanti, via flickr

This post is part of our ongoing effort to highlight discourse about civility around the web. Our articles for civility linkblogging come from a wide cross-section of blogs and newspapers, magazines and other websites, from the United States and abroad.

This week’s post features a story about the civic consequences of uncivil words. After Frazier Glenn Cross shot and killed three people outside of two Jewish community institutions in Overland Park, KS, Marionville, Mo. mayor Dan Clevenger spoke out in the killer’s defense. And in the process, he made his own anti-Semitic views clear. But the Marionville town aldermen would have none of that. And standing up for a culture of civility and respect, they forced Clevenger to resign.

If you have an article that you think would be right for future civility linkblogging posts, please do not hesitate to email it to us at [email protected]. Include the title, url, and a short summary, and we will gladly review it for publication.

Now — the list:

Electile Dysfunction: Campaigns need Civility
Posted by David Steury at The Bowdoin Orient on April 17, 2014

I don’t want to argue for civility as a virtue. Obviously, the defining feature of these ads is vitriolic and often rude rhetoric, but a lack of civility is a symptom, not a problem in and of itself. It’s a symptom that feeds back into and perpetuates the original problem of polarization, but politeness is not inherently a virtue in politics, a realm where remaining silent can result in disastrous consequences.

While ads such as Rosendale’s and Winteregg’s may just be pure political calculation to win votes, they legitimize an environment in which lawmakers can hate each other, engage in ad hominem attacks, and imply violent action against things with which they disagree.

Civility and community: Lovin’ Lyndhurst
Posted by Maria Shine Stewart at, April 18, 2014

Alfred Adler, psychologist, used the term Gemeinschaftsgefuehl, and that means, roughly, a form of “social interest” that marks both community health and personal well being. It’s perhaps a precursor of civility, and accompanies it. I was blessed with a compassionate and German-speaking mom, probably the greatest blessing of my life, so I learned that no matter how much or how little one has materially, it is possible to give and to share something. (I also learned to pronounce some fairly tricky words.)

Acts of kindness teach our muscles to be kind; we can thus really grasp what it feels like to help. And conversely, if we ever muster the art of humility at any age, we also learn what it feels like to receive help without pushing it away. That, too, is an art.

Mayor of Marionville, Mo., Trips Over Vile Speech
Posted at the Kansas City Star, April 22, 2014

After the horrific killings on April 13, [Marionville Mayor, Dan] Clevenger had the impolitic impulse to utter a few words about his view of Jewish people in business and government. That put him in line with his anti-Semitic, white Supremacist, charged-with-murder buddy…

Clevenger, of course, has his free speech privilege to say whatever foul thing comes into his head (with widely recognized limits regarding defamation and inciting violence). No one is denying him that right. But as a public official, Clevenger has now learned that speech has its consequences. On Monday night his community stepped up on the side of civility and forced Clevenger to resign.

Bush 41 Still Displays Civility, Graciousness Along With Courage
Posted by Carl P. Leubsdorf at The Columbus Dispatch, April 25, 2014

Two weeks ago, he turned up at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport to greet President Barack Obama during his Texas visit. “When the president comes to your hometown, you show up to meet him,” explained Bush, looking good and displaying a firm handshake.

His visit also sent a signal that, though he and Obama are quite different politically and ideologically, the presidency deserves the respect that many of today’s partisans pointedly ignore.

Even During a Protest, Civility Is Necessary
Posted by Sanjay Perera at Today Online, May 2, 2014

It was disconcerting to read of a way of protest developing in Singapore that has come close to burning effigies of a minister and defacing a poster of the Prime Minister.

People should vent their angst in a proper manner.

Even civil disobedience, which is far from violating images of people, has the word ‘civil’ in it.

A caricature of someone is one thing; there is always an element of humour. However, to encourage possible thoughts of violence is another.

Have people forgotten that a troubled person set alight a Member of Parliament some years ago?