My recent diary (warning: gazillions of comments) about political debate has been widely referred to as a call for civility.
It is not a call for civility.
It is a call for higher standards of political debate.
Here on this political web site.
The diary was a group effort, with many contributors. Perhaps some of the basic meaning of the diary was lost in that process and in some of the more “controversial” passages.
THIS diary is my personal attempt to emphasize what TO ME are the key points.
Allow me to attempt to clarify, to get to the bones if you will.
THIS diary is by no means an attempt to address ANY issue except the issue of civility. You are free to raise other issues, but I will attempt to only answer comments dealing with this one mistaken interpretation.
From the diary, hopefully removing any of the “controversial’ sections and focusing on the meaning of the diary:
The use of insults and abuse roundly condemned in the Real World have become the de rigueur stock in trade of the warring political factions at Daily Kos and have by and large taken the place of substantive debate. When this is accepted as the standard of ‘debate,’ real, substantive, debate becomes impossible.
Any and all comments based on fact, reason and logic are instantly rendered irrelevant when they are responded to with personal attack.
And make no mistake about it: This is a political tactic used among political factions, exploiting personal animosity for political gain.
They’ve made it personal because personal attacks, and charges of various isms, can be used to discredit their political enemies. They use these personal attacks and charges to try to make their political opponents less credible, and thus less politically powerful.
It does not matter whether they have the acumen or knowledge of the history of political tactics needed to realize that this is what they are doing. It does have a history. It started with Nixon/Segretti, got upped to weapons-grade efficiency during the reign of Reagan/Bush/Atwater, and did indeed, with the aid of Fox News, become THE standard of political conversation under Bush/Rove.
These political tactics have a name: Character Assassination and the Politics of Personal Destruction.
Because, as we all know from watching eight years of Bush/Rove, these tactics work.
The lowering of all thought and debate to the lowest common denominator, mere insult, IS the goal of the tactics.
We have NO intention of, and no interest whatsoever in, censoring, suppressing, or even limiting legitimate political speech.
These Rovian tactics are designed to shut down debate, and have no other purpose.
We are open to discussion on the details of how best to establish and codify that standard, suggestions of rule changes, and suggestions of enforcement by the management of Daily Kos. We hope to raise exactly those issues in future diaries.
NO ONE was called Rovian. The tactics ALL of the political factions on Dkos use, occasionally or otherwise, in heated political debate are identified as Rovian.
One quick example, extrapolate from here.
Comment: “I think this policy is bad because….”
Response: “You are a teabagger”
These political tactics also include (but are not limited to) distraction and derailment of the point of the conversation; The topic. The most common example of this tactic on Dkos is “jumping the Tip Jar” with an inflammatory off topic comment.
Civility has nothing to do with it.
This is about using dishonest political debate tactics to gain a political advantage in political debate on political issues on a political blog.
For their record ideally I am all for civility. I only have one problem with it. No one is capable of practicing it in political debate.
Thus I was forced long ago to admit that I was not capable of it and so I surrendered to what I call the Armando Axiom: All calls for civility are hypocrisy.
Since no one, even those calling for civility, are capable of actually practicing it.
I am calling for honest political debate.
Without the use of the debate tactics perfected and deployed by Karl Rove and Fox News.
I freely admit that I have used these tactics in the past. I state now that I will try my best to stop using them.
If it is pointed out to me that I am using these tactics going forward, I will seriously examine that charge.
NO ONE has co-signed, collaborated or pre approved this diary