Civility is a good old conservative virtue and I'm all for it. But like toleration, civility has limits. If you call me a racist because I argue against Obamacare, then not only do I have no reason to be civil in my response to you, I morally ought not be civil to you. For by being civil I only encourage more bad behavior on your part. By slandering me, you have removed yourself from the sphere of the civil. The slanderer does not deserve to be treated with civility; he deserves to be treated with hostility and stiff-necked opposition. He is deserving of moral condemnation.
If you call me a xenophobe because I insist that the federal government do what it is constitutionally mandated to do, namely, secure the nation's borders, then you slander me and forfeit whatever right you have to be treated civilly. For if you slander me, then you are moral scum and deserve to be morally condemned. In issuing my moral condemnation, I exercise my constitutionally-protected First Amendment right to free speech. But not only do I have a right to condemn you, I am morally obliged to do so lest your sort of evil behavior become even more prevalent.
Examples can be multiplied, but the point is clear. Civility has limits. One ought to be civil to the civil. But one ought not be civil to the uncivil. What they need is a taste of their own medicine.
One must also realize that 'civility' is a prime candidate for linguistic hijacking. And so we must be on our guard that the promoters of 'civility' are not attaching to this fine word a Leftward-tilting connotation. We must not let them get away with any suggestion that one is civil if and only if one is an espouser of liberal/left positions.
The Left no more owns civility than it owns dissent.
The motto of the No Labels outfit is "Not Left. Not Right. Forward." 'No Labels' is itself a label and a silly one , implying as it does that there are no important differences between Left and Right which need identification and labeling. It is also preposterous to suggest that we can 'move forward' without doing so along either broadly conservative or broadly liberal lines. To 'move forward' along liberal lines is to move in the direction of less individual liberty and ever-greater control by the government. This is simply unacceptable to libertarians and conservatives and must be stopped. There is little room for compromise here. How can one compromise with those whose fiscal irresponsibility will lead to a destruction of the currency? Any compromise struck with them can only be a tactical stopgap on the way to their total defeat. Fiscal responsibility and border security are two issues on which there can be no compromise. For it is obviously absurd to suppose that a genuine solution lies somewhere in the middle.
Worst of all, however is to claim that one is neither Left nor Right but then take policy stances that are leftist. This demonstrates a lack of intellectual honesty. The 'No Labels' folks cite the following as a "Shared Purpose":
Americans want a government that empowers people with the tools for success – from a world-class education to affordable healthcare – provided that it does so in a fiscally prudent way.
But that's not a shared purpose but a piece of pure leftism. First of all, it is not the government that 'empowers' people -- to acquiesce for the nonce in this specimen of PC lingo -- government is a necessary evil as libertarians and conservatives see it, and any empowering that gets done is best done by individuals in the absence of governmental shackles. It is also not the role of the federal government, as libertarians ansd conservatives see it, to educate people or provide health care. Only liberals with their socialist leanings believe that.
What the No Labels bunch is serving up is mendacity. First they paper over genuine differences of opinion and then they put forth their own opinion as neutral, as neither Left nor Right, when it is obviously leftist. So what these people are saying to us is that we should put aside all labels while toeing the leftist party line. And be civil too! I say to hell with that. Let's be honest and admit that there are deep differences. For example, if you say that health care is a right and I say it is not a right but a good, or a commodity, then we have a very deep difference.
In the wake of the Tucson shootings, the University of Arizona has set up a National Institute for Civil Discourse. And then there is the American Civility Tour. Just what we need: more wastage of tax dollars on feel-good liberal nonsense.
I conclude by referring you to a very interesting Allegheny College survey, Nastiness, Name-Calling, and Negativity.