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The Tyranny of Politeness


The Tyranny of Politeness

Mike Ervin

On a Saturday evening in 2017, just before the Inauguration, I gathered with about forty other protesters outside the Catholic church that Paul Ryan attends in Janesville, Wisconsin. We quietly passed out flyers as parishioners filed in for mass. The flyers noted that Ryan was championing drastic changes to Medicaid that would be devastating for disabled people like us.


Pastors and Police have no place in this debate.

Would they intimidate their own family members if they were in the wheelchairs handing out flyers?


Mike, I would say, you’re a genius. Keep up the good fight.


Yup, those priests would have fit in well in Jesus’ day: “Overturning the tables of the moneychangers? This is not the time or place for protest. Leave now or we’ll call the Roman guards and have you crucified!”


Throughout recorded human history more heads have been lopped of in the name of Christ than for any other reason. Its not Christ’s fault, its those who have co-opted him as a means of oppression.

Anybody associated with the parish in which Ryan is a member is at least a passive hypocrite, most are hyper hypocrites.


What did Jesus do to deserve Christianity?
What did humanity do to deserve Christianity?
Hint: Both questions have the same answer.


I think protests of the kind noted here are legitimate and sometimes helpful, even if the targets don’t like them. Obviously there would not have been civil rights, environmental, or labor movements without such tactics. There also needs to be defense planned against attacks, and, “good cops” who dress up nicely and testify.
Its protests that involve vandalism such as destroying stores and cars, or protests that shout down an invited speaker that I have a problem with because they don’t work, unnecessarily feed into the hands of the reactionaries, and can deprive innocent people of their rights.
As far as the Trump regime cabinet members, I hope decent people tell them how disgusting they think their policies are whenever they can. At the least, it reasonably expresses the frustration of those without the power.


A polite request has never removed a boot from a neck


Depends on whether or not their family member is a godless commie librul.


Along with peaceful direct actions like blockading corporate and government offices, mine sites, etc. I’ve called for this kind of protest many times over the years, and am happy to see it happening. I think it’s one of the necessary tactics for electing enough progressives to Congress to get adequate action on climate catastrophe.

We have to realize, however, that it’s absolutely inevitable that Republicans will start doing it to officials to their left–like Hermann Goering and Vladimir Putin, let alone Democrats and Democratic Socialists. Accusations of whatever they’re accused of (garnered because they’re actually doing it) are returned multifold; even impeachment is pursued in retribution. We can expect them to come back with attacks in their own style, like the protestors shaming and intimidating women going into abortion clinics (if there are any in a year) and the armed attacks on protestors and their allowance of people in cars to kill progressive protestors. Their “protests” will follow their tendency toward vitriol and violence.

I’m not saying we should give up this strategy, just that we should be ready for the right wing’s retribution with other peaceful but assertive strategies.


I have always fought tyranny, beginning with mandatory nap time in kindergarten. No way, no how am I going to be polite to the *^$% who are trying to enslave my sisters and murder me.


This is typical of the striking deterioration of both left discourse and analysis, as well as how mindlessly male - dominated it still is. A lot of my fellow progressives really need to grow up. Invasive tactics that invade other people’s privacy (including family members) besides those who are the target not only don’t work, they make us all look bad. Get a clue people, and get over your moral superiority complex at least long enough to come up with more serious, effective responses than basically just behaving like asses.


Exactly right, to hell with civility. Libertarians are always talking about ostracism as sufficient to compel good behavior, this is what it looks like.