Nuance

It is worthy of note that the Miss America candidate as the Miss Universe competition in Mexico City was booed as her final presentation. Trying to understand such uncivil behavior has lead to many theories and ideas.

One explanation of the unity on the left is its belief that today’s divisive political questions have easy answers–but because of their illiberal opinions and aims, conservatives are unable to see this and, in a mere six years, have brought democracy in America to the brink. This explanation, however, contradicts the vital lesson of John Stuart Mill’s liberalism that political questions, as opposed to mathematical questions, tend by their very nature to be many-sided. Indeed, it contradicts the left’s celebration of its own appreciation of the complexity and depth of politics.[The Conservative Mind: The American right is a cauldron of debate; the left isn’t. by Peter Berkowitz]

When you see uncivil behavior, such as that shown the Miss America candidate, you are not seeing nuance. No room for doubt is allowed. An easy answer is being expressed. It is projected onto a convenient symbol.

Civil behavior is, in itself, an expression of respect for nuance. It allows for complexity of other persons, their beliefs, and their opinions. It allows for “Expression or appreciation of subtle shades of meaning, feeling, or tone” (American Heritage Dictionary)

Peter Berkowitz, as in the quote above, points out that many of those who lay a claim to understanding nuance and tolerance may not express it in their behavior. His point is that nuance leads to discussion and debate. The uncivil behavior shown at the Miss Universe contest illustrates that leftist, liberal, or progressive anti-American views lack nuance. Hence they lack understanding and suffer from a lack of intellectual integrity. Yes, just one more example, just one more example that doesn’t look like much by itself. Just one more example.

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