Civility and Other Outdated Notions

Time to take notice.

As the public square becomes more and more degraded, as it is consumed by politics (as it once was inflamed by race or religion), it behooves us to pay attention to language. To paraphrase Jordan Peterson, our choice of words is vital to maintaining our own integrity.

Thus, on Gates of Vienna at least, we are going to enforce civility in our comment threads. Civility towards our friends is no problem; courtesy towards our sworn enemies loyal opposition is harder but even more necessary than ever – especially as those on the other side begin to melt in the middle and/or fray around the edges. Let’s take precautions against coming down with their viral infections.

What words will we [edit]? Well, the usual scatological phrases, the ones we learned in the schoolyard but (mostly) knew not to utter in front of the adults. But also scrubbed will be the clever though discourteous ways there are of twisting people’s names or titles. Thus Obummer for Obama is a no-go. So is Shillary for Hillary (and all her variations). Libtard/leftard is another go-to that won’t get through here.

There are lots of sites – Breitbart being one – that don’t moderate their comment threads. You can tell because the IQ level drops precipitously the further down you go into that thread (the permanent Administrative State busy pulling us underwater is not the only Swamp. We have them on the Right, too).

Leftist sites are much worse than Breitbart. For instance, it used to be dangerous to your own personal health to call for the death of a sitting president. Not anymore: you even get to describe your assassination in gory detail, or show up on Twitter holding a papier-maché facsimile of Drump’s head for the camera. Then you’re fêted for your clever double hit. One would be the head, the other would be the twist on his name. No Secret Service agent or FBI employee will show up at your door, as they used to do.

If we’re not careful, we could end up like this doctrinaire leftist who doesn’t understand the basics of the hospitality business in which she is engaged.

“[…]It’s so easy if you just don’t care…”

But at Gates of Vienna we do care. And we request that our commenters abide by our rules for civil dialogue. No doubt you’ve noticed when the words start getting slung around like yesterday’s hash, real dialogue becomes impossible. When integrity remains paramount natural, unforced courtesy blossoms.

Oh, and the comment edits people think Dymphna makes? Guess again. The B tracks the great majority of them. My eyes are worse than his.

48 thoughts on “Civility and Other Outdated Notions

    • Cute, acuara. I almost deleted your flippant response but decided to let it stand so everyone could admire it. Or not.

      • I like what you saud Acura.

        Dymphana— you come off as threatening your readers often enough, often saying we readers don’t meet up to your high standards, as in this totally innocent remark from
        Acura. You guys are also not consistent, posting what I would consider indecent photos heading articles before ( which I pointed out to you once), as well as not
        consistent in words you allow and disallow.

        You can ban me for stating the truth if you want, there are plenty
        of others on line places
        to get the same info from besides your little blog.

      • Thank you Dymphna for your allowance of my punny sense of humor. What is sad is that Mrs. Clinton is so enamored of her political stance and outlook that reality has no bearing upon it. As reality drifts further away from her positions on political subjects that were apropos 25 years ago finds herself being twisted into a pretzel trying to reconcile an out-of-date position to present realities. of course, what was more disconcerting was the following that she had that was as much or even more doctrinaire than she is. The voting public is waking from the sleep that they were lulled into and are leaving Clinton, Sanders, Waters & Company behind. So, in that she is no longer Mdme. Hillaryous, but simply Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Obama, on his trip to Peru, asked those around him, “What was the mistake that we made, where did we go wrong?” I would say that it was the presumption of an agenda that did not include a continual monitoring of the body politic. I would also suggest the same advice for the current president before he finds that his policies have been “Trumped” by the will of the people.
        BTW, happy 242nd birthday America! You survived some pretty dark years, now it’s time to get up and get back to work doing what you do best, standing for political and religious liberty.

    • Hey, Acura, did you purloin that hillaryous double-entendre from moi? If so, you are a *&(#&@%+. €£¥]{}§| orfdooble!

  1. You have a valid point. In private, I’m seeing more and more non-ideological “centre-left” people coming ’round. My dear wife, who largely fits this profile, is coming around even publicly. Most thinking people are starting to realise that we’re being “had”, and start to listen to what we have to say, as a result.

    It would be easy to drive her away, though.

    (As an aside, I find that I no longer get an extreme reaction “all around” for saying that “Trump really isn’t all that bad” – it used to be that anything other than total and complete condemnation made one a pariah.)

  2. Well, the way to maintain civility is to eliminate commentary from leftists.

    Remove their voice and the level of nonsense is reduced to zero.

    What is uncivil, is permitting leftists an unhindered voice on your site.

    Its a war. Recognising that it is a war is the first step.

    Next is recognising that civility is perceived as a weakness to be used by the left, by muslims, etc.

    Maintain civility by keeping those out who would use it to their advantage.

    • I prefer our methods, which is to take each comment on its own merits. We do have a few liberal commenters who are civil and courteous. I hope they continue to return, even though I argue (mostly) against their ideas.

  3. Have to agree with that policy, there are many sites where readers can go just to vent but very few (if any) where a broader discussion takes place with more depth.

    That is a shame because if one thing is needed it is that people compare their perceptions properly, there are many moderate readers who have something to add, experienced readers who are able to round off questions, if they don’t feel like they are going to be branded for even visiting the site, let alone contributing.

    I had once considered opening a blog with comments but realised I would just not be able to host or handle the kind talk that goes on, so kudos to mods. here for whatever they have to go through to keep the site going.

    (And I’m not after brownie points by writing the above, each comment I write without the slightest idea of if it will pass, and have no problem if they don’t – just the chosen distance of approach )

    I’ll note this once for clarity – if a reply to any comment of own opens a question or challenges, or even just out of acknowledgement, I have the manner of replying. So if I seem to drop a conversation it is for one reason (unless a reply was obviously coarse) , that being that I have not read the reply. I purposefully do not get any notification of replies, so just rely on rechecking any thread a few times. That is all ok as well to me because online conversation is a bit like painting a picture, where different people add the touch they like – it can always be left as is, there is no obvious end point where you can call the conversation finished… some just arrive at sense or agreement, others are left seemingly unfinished or confused even, but who is to say what appreciation anyone else might find from just one sentence of one paragraph of an otherwise difficult discussion.

  4. Very good policy and I think for the most part, the people I’ve seen commenting here have been pretty well mannered. I have only started reading GOV this past year or so and I really enjoy the articles as they are extremely well written.

    In all honesty, I can no longer bear to look at the vile, nasty, illiterate, unhinged posts on Twitter and Facebook. It seems that anything goes and there is little if anything of value. I do think it’s great that our President Trump uses Twitter and I know it drives his enemies mad, but the nastiness of the respondents is beyond belief.

    Anything less than civility is unworthy of this wonderful blog. So many great and thoughtful writers. Thank you.

    • On this blog, the (moderated – and this is why) commentary is often in equal value to the posts, I find.

    • I agree re FaceAche and its Little Dictator. We closed shop there a few years ago. Twitter can be fun just bec of its limits on words. The B doesn’t have time for any social media, and we only theoretically have a cellphone (no coverage in our area). When our ‘contract’ runs out we’ll go back to purchasing minutes. Maybe.

      Our writers are just plain phenomenal. They come from such different backgrounds and provide both knowledge and wisdom.

      • The GoV is a gem, in my (very humble) opinion: interesting and thought-provoking. The essays are fascinating and often, for me at least, educational. I commend you and your contributors (writers, translators, etc.) for your hard work (and I know that it IS hard, time consuming work – Dymphna and the Baron have both indicated as much). So thank you, and know that your efforts in this regard are very much appreciated.

  5. As for the Red Hen;
    “Tell me what you want me to do. I can ask her to leave,” Wilkinson said she told her staff. “They said yes.”

    This statement shows why this situation went out of control.
    She allowed staff to take over management of the place.
    She was afraid to make a decision herself and let staff do it for her.

    How it will end is predictable. The restaurant will be pushed into chapter 7, she will lose the place, the staff will be fired and they will never find another job in Lexington again because they are now tainted.

    Never ever mix business with politics.

    When you are the leader YOU lead and nobody else.

    • I read that the co-owner not only had Sarah Sanders leave the restaurant but she also followed her down the street, continuing her harangue.

      The Yankee woman did not understand her environment. Seventy percent of that county voted for Trump. It is the home of the Virginia Military Institute, plus Washington & Lee University. Yet she thought she could get away with militant leftist rudeness. It’s my understanding that the restaurant will stay closed through the Fourth of July in order to avoid “incidents” – incidents the Yankee brought down on herself. I predict the instigator will eventually leave town.

      • She goes on record several times stating she is a co-owner.
        If a local bank is the other co-owner I’m pretty sure they take a rather dim view to the whole sorry affair. She will be told to stand down as manager because clearly she is not manager material. Her staff will also be told to leave because they are not staff material. The bank will hire a new manager and staff and try to salvage what they can. All she will get out of it is a one-way bus ticket to New York or whatever Yankee place she comes from.

        • ctActually they are doing a brisk business with online orders.
          People are buying gift certificates from all over the country as well as their online biscuit mixes and such.

  6. Yes, agreed. Also on Breitbart, so many comments there are crrrraaaaazy. Yeah there are plenty of idiots on our side as well. Always have been. I think the Left is worse, but that’s no cause for comfort.

  7. No need to apologize for maintaining a standard. I stopped reading the comments on Jihad Watch as it seems overrun by idiots.

  8. Okay, for this I will come into the sunlight with my real name, known only to the Baron. I am/have been known as robohobo/RDaneel.

    You house your rules. Acknowledged.

    But the “we are better than that” & “this is not who we are” tropes is what got us into this mess to start with. You cannot reason with those who openly state “we want you run out of polite society or silenced or imprisoned in re-education camps or dead”. We have seen where that road leads. There are numerous examples from the 20th century.

    When someone says “I want the other dead” you really, really need to believe them. They do mean you harm.

    I have lived twice in Israel as a gentile. I have seen the fruits of Palestinian othering. They come in violent forms. We cannot let ourselves not react as the Israelis do.

    With that being said: “Peace. Out.” And:

  9. I’m of two minds about the new comment policy.

    Any repressive environment forces the repressed into more civil, and more clever behavior. We conservatives have been repressed in the last few decades. The result is that many of those who don’t have a clear message and unusually think skin won’t be heard. Practicing censorship on ourselves helps us focus on the most logically persuasive arguments.

    The reality is, though, we are not living in times where logical persuasion is King. Leftists have never adhered to a logic only style, but recently, they have branded logic itself as patriarchal, so not worthy of notice. If we expect logic from this blog to reach and persuade many of these people, we are certain to be disappointed.

    Conservatives, for our part, aren’t limited to logical argument. We are persuaded by it, but there is a reason why we chose Donald Trump’s for leadership. He’s personally bold and a master at manipulating emotions. Decades of losing by inches have taught us that you can’t defend a nation with logic alone.

    In this culture war, my chief concern isn’t to show the world the superiority of American/Western culture by losing gracefully. That attitude is self-defeating and probably pointless given how likely the left is to purge all record of us after they finish persecuting us for fighting the narrative.

    I want to WIN. There are two parts to that. Holding up the moral of your own side, and breaking down the enemy’s morale. Unless I misread the OP, it places only a few specific limits on rhetorical speech, subject to the discretion of the proprietors.

    As long as I’ve been a reader here, the Baron hasn’t shied away from realtalk, but his voice has always been more of a rational one. That puts him in a great position to help our side stay informed. His morale boost comes in the form of reminding us of what we stand to lose, and how we prevailed in the past.

    Still. Excising cuss words and plays on people’s names won’t save this blog once victorious leftists turn their censorship towards it. There really is no substitute for victory.

    Also, I know this post is a little long winded. Thanks for giving me the space to work through my thoughts.

    • I voted for Donald Trump because I was sick of everyone lying to me.

      There has to be a reason you are lying to me but if it is a routine practice of education of people about policy and or the foundation of your governance then being a liar is an immoral trait. I mean immoral in the sense that it generally goes against the Golden Rule.

      Let’s take Ebola. The former POTUS was letting people come here for treatment which could result in better treatment or make it more convenient for Drs. Someone with it vomited in the street here. Any dog could have stopped there and thought “I can’t help it, must eat” Then where would we be now? You help a few a possibly cause the deaths of who knows how many. That is the morality of a drug dealer.

      I don’t think I need to mention details about Fast and Furious. Sure they can say how they were helping someone but they are putting at great risk a multitude more. I think that goes against the Golden Rule and would be immoral by those standards.

      The point of my largely off-topic comment is to say that having no effective recourse against liars, for example, makes it easier to name call. I hope that Donald Trump and anyone supportive of what has been done makes use of the situation to make those in opposition out to be the liars they are or just incompetent (or just paid off). If you are incompetent I am a fool if I elect you. If you are lying to me I am still a fool to elect you but more importantly, I want to know the truth about why you are lying.

      I hope they get better fruits from their garden (gates of Vienna) with this new weeding protocol but make an exception for Donald Trump if he ever posts here.

      • No, not even The Donald gets a pass, though I often enjoy his tweets. He has an excellent grasp of communication, i.e., he understands his audience (both the ones who support him and those who curse him). His name-calling can be amusing, but it can’t be here. Not even Sister Mary Benignus can violate the commenting guidelines. (Not that she ever would have. She had an eagle eye – and an elephant’s ear – for what constituted courtesy.)

        BTW, Scott Adams recognized early on the ways in which Trump instinctively understood how to persuade people. His morning coffee conferences on YouTube can be informative.

  10. Thanks for the time and effort you put into moderating the comments here. It’s important to elevate the level of discourse so that we readers must concentrate on ideas and analysis, and not be sidetracked by rudeness and obscenities. There are a few sites that I read regularly but which sadly don’t moderate their comments. Sometimes the comments sway so far from civility that I just stop reading. I always feel that their cause is damaged because of this. Your approach is much better.

  11. Name-calling and lots of venting are not needed to make any point. I think your standards are quite fair.

  12. I have, since my twenties, absolutely refused to play along with the old style “peoples’ democratic, socialist, republic” nonsense and simply referred to such entities as dictatorships. This angered many people, but I prefer accuracy over deceit when it comes to politics. It also helps to clarify one’s thoughts about political matters.

    Similarly, I absolutely refuse to refer to any of the two to three dozen so-called democracies as democracies. I refer to them as elective dictatorships (one man presidential rule – ceremonial Presidents don’t count) or elective oligarchies (parliamentary style rule by a committee of elected dictators). This also helps to clarify one’s thoughts about political matters.

    Does this policy of mine fall foul of your modified guidelines?

    • No, it doesn’t. Criticism in the form of analysis is fine. If you want an example of how to do it, look at RonaldB’s comments, or Mark H., or Seneca III.

  13. Having considered the past two days my reply to this thread I’ve come to understand that I’ve been considering this for many years.

    It’s all about anger. And how and why or why not a forum like this should manage anger from the furtive places in our soul’s, where anger management is sorted out. Does GOV want to put the kibosh on our anger or is it rightfully remonstrative in managing what is tolerable as a fashion, say of righteous anger versus mean-spirited viper spitting nastiness were the emphasis is on profanity and name calling.

    The reasonableness of GOV’s comment threads is probably a good 5% of why I return daily to collect my intelligence briefing as to what is occurring in Europe and in “Jihad Journalism”. Kind of a lame neutral term, but not a pejorative. Undoubtedly kindled by anger.

    Anger is subjective but like the cliche “where there’s smoke there’s fire”, Smoke is the factor that can cloud our subjective judgment as to what is remonstrative or censorship. I seek out neither right nor wrong when I surf the web. I’m like a sponge discerning what will I tolerate at that particular moment. When on YouTube it’s Ric Wiles TruNews. Alex Jones Infowars. Blogs Anne Barnhardt, Trevor Louden, Z3 News. Some allow some don’t allow exchanges. Some project anger, some cause anger, some wallow in anger. Some say fear is the basis of anger. God says the fear of God is the beginning of Wisdom. My take is that anger is the number one reason man loses fellowship with God, then the ground shakes beneath our feet.

  14. Dymphna, this is your blog. You are rightly concerned about upholding the level of discourse. You may set the rules as you see fit. Thank you for providing this forum. I have learned a lot here. I am a Jewish American liberal who voted for Obama both times. I agreed with most of his efforts to complete the New Deal. But I was horrified by his policies concerning Islam and the Middle East. I especially felt betrayed by his arrant disrespect for Jews and Israel. As a result, I often distort his name and will continue to do so where permitted.

  15. That’s right! Keep the restraint and civility, while we’re being macheted to death!

    And don’t you think the Parlimentarians and the U..S. COngressmen, up there in the “Halls”, are laughing at us, “peasants” while they conduct their “Dog and Pony Shows” ? And after, get together,these “enemies” in public, at their private clubs, have fine whiskey and Cuban cigars, and roll on the floor laughing at us?

    And how about the Liberals and anti-fas, doing the same, with cheap beer and weed?

    God forbid, we should put in a little levity, while we’re being hammered, and oppressed, and our Rights being taken away.

  16. I know that you are doing your very best to keep this blog civil in what are VER Y parilous times.
    Even mentioning this continuing conflict of ours–let alone give examples–gets you in trouble places where the left occupy (or rule).
    I am just trying my very best in my own way to avoid circumstances where you MUST decide between only:
    A: Pulling triggers.
    B: Taking a bayonet in the guts–or the rope.
    C: Taking that very long, slow (FOODLESS, WATERLESS) ride in the cattle cars through the Midwest to a big, lonely, unmarked grave in the desert. One they have been planning now for GENERATIONS (Ayers, Antifa, SWAPO, ACLU………….take your pick.)

    Be polite. Be civil. True.
    But remember that this is the future I am trying to avoid.

    (Think Venezuela, Nigeria, South Africa, Rhodesia,Yugoslavia ,Kosovo………………………….etc.)

    • Most of these countries were deeply corrupt before they fell into anarchy. The Yugoslavia/Kosovo crime was caused by the corrupt UN and its enablers, including President Clinton.

      • Re: “Foreign Corruption”.


        ……………………..The Democratic Party.
        ……………………….The Socialist Party.
        ………………………..The “Deep State”.
        …………………………The RINO Party.
        ……………………………..A few bazillion WELL FUNDED “non-profit” Socialist/Communist/NWO/One-world organizations in the good ‘ol U, S, of A.

        Remember “Poltergeist”?
        “They’re Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere…………………”

  17. Great goal, Dymphna.
    Keep it as classy and uplifting as possible. This is why I keep coming to this site. Ideas, ideas. Not offal.

  18. I’m a bit confused. The Baron writes “Paristan,” but “Obummer” is prohibited?

    • Actually, the translator wrote that. I liked it, so I used it.

      “Paristan” is like “Londonistan” or “Berserkeley” — a placename altered in a sardonic way to reflect its defining characteristic. Quite different from using an epithet as a person’s name. And not as dysphonious.

      But these rules are applied on an ad-hoc basis. They’re not hard and fast. If we think it’s nasty and/or sounds ugly, we redact it. It’s very subjective.

      Personally, I like some of the nicknames; I use them myself. “Slick Willie” for Bill Clinton, for example. Or “Hussein” for you-know-who.

  19. Everybody here is falling into line, agreeing with “Civility”.
    Am I the only nay-sayer?

    Is this the new religion, being serious, as if we’re worshipping at an altar of God, and there is no smiling or amusement, to be had?

    The Elite, those in power, are not God! They are the authors of all our pains and suffering, and ignore our protests. We’re not calling for their demise or for violence against them. We, the “Common” people have always been restrain. But now, we seem to also, have absorbed the lessons of our ‘masters,” internalized their demand for respect, that we’re policing ourselves.

    Those in power DESERVE to be mocked and laughed at! WHAT now we’re going to watch out, and not hurt their feelings?

    The little power we had in our hands, right now, is to shame them and laugh at them, and to point our fingers at them in mockery, in thought and words!

    I say, we’re doung what those in power want, being “civil.”

    • One can mock those in power and still be civil. Look at Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” to get the idea.

      We have no problem with mockery, but the repetition of old ‘jokes’ becomes annoying after a while. Thus, the drip, drip predictable “Shillery”-“Killery”-“Obummer”-“Muslimes” name-calling lowers the level of discourse on our comment threads. The worse the opposition becomes, the lower it sinks into the swamp, the more important civility and courtesy become.

      We had a life-lesson on that after the Anders Behring Breivik massacre. Swedes and Norwegians bombarded our site with vile comments. Back then, our choices were to delete the poison, let the vicious remarks stand, or and close comments. We chose the latter until the worst of the crisis passed and then changed to moderated comments and instituted guidelines about civility. The attackers were so angry they had to resort to poison-pen emails. Some of these people were university professors in Sweden.

      These guidelines have nothing to do with “hurting people’s feelings”. Rather, they are about the essential need to choose words carefully since they reflect one’s own gravitas and integrity.

      There are lots of sites that don’t care what you say; you might try those places in order to give free reign to your rage. But not here.

      • In keeping with the new rules, POTUS Trump should not be referred to as Drump. However in the article that is present

  20. “It’s so easy if you just don’t care…”

    Baron, this has been echoing around my brain (plenty of room!) for a couple of days, as I knew I knew it. Today the penny dropped; it’s from Bernstein’s “Mass”. I may have to resign from the Lenny Fan Club.

    Regarding civility, the UK Parliament, especially at Prime Minister’s Questions, has been alienating the public for many years due to the boorish and noisy behaviour of (mostly male) MPs, though the current Speaker has tried to moderate this; our representatives seem not to appreciate how damaging this is to the already low level of respect they command from the electorate.

  21. Hear, hear! I have three rules applied to the Command phone and those enchanted night callers who ring to rage against my working shift:
    No cursing, no name calling, dialogue and not monologue. Violate a rule and you will be warned. Violate again and the call will be concluded. If you wish to complain about the rules, feel free to call the main agency number when the Chief comes to work tomorrow.
    I applaud any site who tempers tone in the interest of keeping things constructive and productive.

  22. Heh! Indignation does NOT equal rage!

    Don’t be accusing me of this, just because I said something you don;t like.

  23. What a joke!

    You “maintain civility” by letting unknown commenters on your website call your own contributors racist, then you actually encourage them to use more racial slurs. As if we don’t hear enough of that thing already!

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