A polemic to the Archdruid (BTW…Would you guys please buy a set of cathedral doors!)
I put up what I still think is an excellent article by the Archdruid the other day. At first I thought that it was an epiphany, then after more thought, and some prodding from a reader (thank you very much Överlevare), I came to to the point that perhaps it was a bit more complicated that the Archdruid presented it. Since this should occur with nearly everything that you read, at first I didn’t think too much of it. But as I started to chew on it, I started to think that maybe the way that behavior at the political level is maybe nothing more than a reflection of the status of the culture.
From the article by the Archdruid, the implication was that Fascism and Naziism grew out of a loss of civil political discourse in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Överlevare countered that they were in fact bastards, why not call the kettle black?
So now to the title of the article. What came first? I have finally come to the conclusion that The Archdruid is tragically wrong in this issue. I am a fan of the Annales school, where history is presented as a long-term evolution of societies. To say that the level of politeness in political discourse during such a vanishingly short period had anything other than a cursory influence is just plain wrong.
It is my feeling that the level of vitriol in political discourse is a symptom, not a root cause. To mistake it as such could be dangerous to your ability to gauge the level of danger in the society you are living in.
What we are going to be living through in the next 20 years is the beginning of the deconstruction of Western Society. This deconstruction will not be done in the cafés of the fifth arrondissement, it will be done at the barricades in any number of places. Neither those who have most benefitted and have the most to lose, nor those who have been left behind and who will have to carve out their survival from those who currently control those resources will maintain any advantage by “playing nice”.
Playing nice and politeness in politics is a function of the wealth of a society and thus its stability. To posit that one can stave off bad things by only indulging in “polite political discourse” is a mirage.
The only thing I want to stress now is the absolute need for courtesy in your personal sphere. This is even more important when times are bad.