A definition of civility

Q&O observes that civility is a process and not just words. It is action rather than discourse.

A civilized nation conducts itself according to a defined, written, universally applicable and executable set of laws. Adherence to such laws are the immutable backbone of any society capable of survival. Wanton disregard of such laws inexorably leads to chaos and tyranny. Ergo, “civility” does not depend on people speaking nicely about one another, but upon everyone playing by the same rules.

A common observation of the democracy holds that voting is simply a proxy for violence. Fleshed out a bit, the process of electoral action is made in lieu of battle. We could decide the course of society based on bloody battle alone, and let might make right. Instead, civil societies have chosen to allow the consent of the governed to rule, the best of which societies have done so through a responsive and accountable republic. When the governors cease to heed to will of the governed, however, civil society becomes endangered and trouble is inevitable.

Another way of comprehending the principle is that a nation of laws only survives as long as the laws are adhered to.

Adherence to the rules is a matter of integrity. When the interpretation and selection of those rules is subject to distortion or if those rules are abandoned because of one rationale or the other, no one can ‘fight fair” and anyone engaged has to conduct themselves by the new rules, which are no rules. That is what terrorism is all about.

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