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Is civility a sham? | Teresa Bejan

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What exactly is civility, and what does it require? In a talk packed with historical insights, political theorist Teresa Bejan explains how civility has been used as both the foundation of tolerant societies and as a way for political partisans to silence and dismiss opposing views. Bejan suggests that we should instead try for "mere civility": the virtue of being able to disagree fundamentally with others without destroying the possibility of a common life tomorrow. (This talk contains mature language.)

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62 Comments on Is civility a sham? | Teresa Bejan

  1. ted is buzzfeed 2 confirmed by nasa

  2. Last

  3. Yes. No. Maybe so. Who knows?

  4. muh iq

  5. B.B. Does the Thing // 5th December 2018 at 4:10 pm // Reply

    My first thought was, if civility was a sham, then is TED a sham?

    • B.B. Does the Thing // 5th December 2018 at 6:00 pm // Reply

      EMS 76 what?

    • TED is a sham don’t you know how much tickets are

    • I mean, TED is pretty much a sham. Its nothing but Centrists these days on it, spewing all the same crap that allowed Fascism to get a rise around the world.

    • I think there’s a difference between civility and scholarly discourse—civility being more “manners for the sake of manners” and scholarly discourse being “manners for the sake of further understanding”. With scholarly discourse, manners are a tactic to discuss touchy subjects without escalating into violence in order to further understand those subjects for the purpose of ultimately resolving these subjects.

      That said I have not actually watched the Ted talk, so I’ll update once I have.

    • Update: watched the video, I stand by what I said earlier.

  6. More videos about thoughts and feelings. More STEM plz.

  7. Short answer yes.
    Civility is something that is generally used as a bludgeoning tool by liberals against conservatives. They demand we play by rules that they themselves do not.
    No more.

  8. Civility, like she said, is a virtue, but it is not religious jargon. It partially has to do with being humane despite the persuasion you follow. It’s part of the rich, chocolatey goodness of character.

    I learned that groups function better, because individuals decided to practice it. No one likes to be disrespected, demeaned, etc. We can disagree without being cutting. We can disagree with honor, dignity and respect.

    Yes, announcing yourself as being civil is a polite reaction to a personal attack, rather than asking the attacker to be civil. They think they are, or they aren’t thinking. Turn the attack into a debate instead and it’s more fun and educational, because it involves exchange of thought and expanded vocabulary. It’s the 21st Century. Each generation should get better, not worse. The younger can learn from how the older get along with their differences. If it involves stealing, killing, or destroying, that’s not good. You know what they say about bad company. If you don’t believe it, continue being uncivil and see where it gets you.

    Webster’s
    Definition of civility
    1 archaic : training in the humanities
    2a : civilized conduct
    especially : COURTESY, POLITENESS
    bemoaned the decline of civility in our politics
    b : a polite act or expression
    lacked the little civilities and hypocrisies of political society
    — Roy Jenkins
    The men briefly exchanged civilities before the meeting began.

    • Neal , I removed “our nation” while you responded. I thought the same thing. Thank you. USA

    • Sylvia Leads
      Nicely said

    • Hahaha you think the USA has been civil?!?!? Lol. Have you never read a book on be CIA, FBI, IRS, Criminal justice system, Indians, immigrations, war, the petrol dollar, Wall Street, and I don’t know how many more topics to realize, there is only branding civility happens at times between individuals, but I rarely witness it done by “a nation” and especially not an Empire like the USA who are doing the same foolish things that other empires have done.

      K, much love, take care, good luck, bye.

    • Neal
      As I said, civility occurs between near equals.
      Usually done by the winner at first.
      It never occurs when the looser whines like a beaten dog.
      Your examples are good. Nations are very seldom civil.
      The US, the U.K. have led in this regard, and it’s not paid off for them.

      Now that pragmatic view of the world is not comfortable

      Where do we disagree?

    • Neal yeah, we don’t get some things right, even as a person, and that’s part of the reason why I decided to change my original post, but also, America is still functioning and so are other countries, and it’s not because of incivility. Some nations don’t exist any more.
      But again, this video isn’t about cursing one another’s countries. It’s about being civil to one another, and making things work in human interaction.

  9. Benjamin Connor // 5th December 2018 at 4:29 pm // Reply

    Usually “tolerance” is used as an excuse for racism and slander. Very refreshing to hear someone speak about the civility rather than “tolerance” rhetoric. Thank you for speaking on this subject.

  10. Julia Henriques // 5th December 2018 at 4:57 pm // Reply

    So civility is basically personal diplomacy: the art of not going to war nor leave the table even when you think the other side deserves it. Interesting.

  11. Long Thanh Nguyen // 5th December 2018 at 4:58 pm // Reply

    Thanks lady in red!

  12. I like her. She is fun and funny. But I disagree with her about the effect of cyber and social media on civility. There is plenty of uncivil behavior in cyber that you would never see face to face or where the shield of anonymity is gone. This in turn supports the division and hate. But her points about civility can be applied to this. Maybe there’s hope.

  13. Marko Kraguljac // 5th December 2018 at 5:07 pm // Reply

    As long as you are classy, polite and don’t swear it’s irrelevant how many countries you bomb, starve or torture people, wage dirty wars and topple governments, support dictators, misuse and cut taxes for insanely rich etc
    “Civility imposing” is a tactic for supremacy of established and powerful everywhere. It means “we alone have decided, there’s no discussion, mind your manners”.

    • I agree with what she said about civility not being about politeness or being “nice.” I see it as engaging in conflict or disagreement without violence or abuse (verbal or otherwise). So in that sense the things you listed above are uncivil.

    • Marko Kraguljac // 5th December 2018 at 9:06 pm // Reply

      +Dave DuBay
      So you noticed the stench of hypocrisy?

      I am describing “civility” as practiced by *the most powerful and thus most responsible* for promoting and maintaining actual civility and societal wellbeing. Namely, the establishment, their media and their hypocrisy. There’s no straw they won’t try to grasp in their effort to maintain their privilege, lies, relations and overall status quo. *For them, “civility” is just a means to silence opposition.*

      In my opinion, in the long run, *genuine civility* is impossible if it is not imposed on the most powerful parties in the first place.

    • Peter Anthony Martins // 5th December 2018 at 10:04 pm // Reply

      So what you’re saying is that we should just scream and whine when people that have taken on the responsibility to actually take society as a whole further are talking. No need to be civil to try to understand what they are trying to do and intelligently stand one’s ground like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.

    • Marko Kraguljac // 5th December 2018 at 10:29 pm // Reply

      +Peter Anthony Martins
      No, I am saying that “civility”, for the privileged, is frequently just means of oppression and social control imposed on the rest.
      For unprivileged, marginalized and oppressed, civility, at some point, becomes an irrelevant luxury.
      The onus of societal civility is on those who are privileged and powerful. Lack of civility is solely their fault.

      In the words of JFK: Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

  14. Beautiful

  15. Filipe Almeida // 5th December 2018 at 5:19 pm // Reply

    If you define civility as shunning away from civic engagement, then yes, civility is a sham. But that’s not what civility is.

  16. Rohan Fonseca // 5th December 2018 at 5:24 pm // Reply

    She looks just like Danielle panabaker

  17. Civility is a form of passive aggression if it’s not shared equally.

    • Peter Anthony Martins // 5th December 2018 at 10:12 pm // Reply

      I think so too! When the speakers are over spoken by whining pseudo left wing activists the speakers should just throw themselves on the floor and scream and whine, so they are not accused of being passive aggressive.

  18. Remember: Civility isn’t worth anything if your opponents want to kill you anyways.

  19. Frieda Fuzzypaws // 5th December 2018 at 6:57 pm // Reply

    She lowkey looks like Kay Panabaker.

  20. Disagreement is the spice of a fun, intellectual life. What’s the point of a conversation if we’re just going to agree with each other?

    • Home Wall
      she talks about while you disagree you still argue and to run away nor play deaf nor curse to the other but try until you succesed or you run out of options.

    • Peter Anthony Martins // 5th December 2018 at 10:24 pm // Reply

      If you don’t discuss a subject with some one else you’re not agreeing with them. You are letting them get away with their hidden agendas and not making the intellectual effort to understand their where they’re coming from. Most likely one who walks away from an argument with the most dangerous adversary will be “stabbed in the back”

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