Os Guinness on Civility
I am in the midst of reading Os Guinness's new book, The Case for Civility. I have had high expectations for this book and so far I am not disappointed. In my mind, Guinness is the foremost expert of this topic, which is too often misunderstood. He makes this point in the first chapter.
"This short essay is a proposal for restoring civility in America, as one model for fostering civility around the world and helping to make the world safe for diversity. But civility must truly be restored. Is it not to be confused with niceness and mere etiquette or dismissed and squeamishness about differences. It is a tough, robust, substantive concept that is a republican virtue, critical to both democracy and civil society, and a manner of conduct that will be decisive for the future of the American republic."
While I am all for extending grace to others that I disagree with, I appreciate Guinness's distinction here. I have often been confused for a political moderate because of my moderate tone of discourse. Certainly reasonable dialogue is important, but it can't substitute for genuine respect of others. In the coming week or so I am going to delve deep into this topic of civility using this new book as a guide.