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Civility and Persuasion

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  • Civility and Persuasion

    It is of course,
    desirable that we act decently,
    but decency itself, cannot be imposed.
    Since Society, by authority,
    may compel my restraint
    or at least punish me
    for failing to exercise it,
    but no amount of retribution
    can make men dignified,
    only self-reflection
    and scruples can do that.
    For what is morality
    if not
    the intent to master one's
    conflicting proclivities?

    While
    there is room
    to denounce those
    who despise others
    simply for existing in the state
    that nature has imposed,
    even then,
    it is better to
    persuade through discussion,
    than dissuade by derogation.

    But
    let us not mistake politeness
    for mutual respect,
    lest civility remain merely a means
    of masking malevolent motives,
    and euphemisms serve
    only to sweeten the swill.
    Since many appeal to decorum
    in efforts to champion decency,
    only to discover
    that there is much cruelty
    politely inflicted.

    For it is better
    to endure unrefined words
    in remonstration,
    than to have one
    harbour resignation as a grudge.

    Conversation runs cold
    when mere disagreement
    is deemed disrespect.
    Therefore,
    I'd rather a man speak truthfully
    no matter how inelegantly,
    than to patronize,
    for fear of ridicule.

    The greater risk
    is not a crisis of exactitude,
    but the foreclosure of
    avenues of conversation,
    portals of conflict and consensus alike.

    For freedom of speech
    is not freedom from critique.
    And there is a great deal of difference
    between argument and assault!

  • #2
    Well said.

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    • #3
      So true. ‘Freedom of speech is not freedom from critique.’

      Comment

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