Much is made of the lack of civil discourse and the breakdown of public discourse in American culture today. Is it time we declare the meeting of the minds to be a contact sport with special headgear?
The art of diatribe – a long, angry, bitter, satirical criticism against a different opinion – has always been practiced in the public square across generations and cultures. But doesn’t it seem worse than ever? Maybe I’m waxing nostalgic, but even in my lifetime, I seem to remember healthier expressions of dialog and debate on fiercely contested ideas.
Okay … I was born shortly before the Civil Rights Act was signed into law … my childhood was marked by the Roe v. Wade, the Vietnam War, nuclear proliferation, Watergate, and economic Stagflation. So it wasn’t very peaceful then either.
But I still seem to recall the mainstream political debates – every bit as contentious as today’s issues – having more civility. I think. Well … sometimes.
The constant companion of the diatribe today is the ad hominem attack – [Read more…]