The Age of Civility?/Martin Rosenfeld

Posted on August 23, 2010


A prolific commentator by the name of Victor Davis Hanson recently wrote about the need for civil language in political discourse. While Dr. Davis is undoubtedly right of center, his salvos are aimed at all members of the political spectrum. Examples that are cited include the following: Referring to an administration as a “regime”, referring to a particular war as a Democratic or Republican war, and the hateful comments often written, sometimes shouted, at political foes. Dr. Hanson ponders how long this behavior can be tolerated.  (This article was written before the Mosque controversy erupted and further exacerbated political discussion.)

One of the prime reasons for mediation process in a divorce battle is that mediation simply does not allow for hateful or vindictive speech. Ideas and needs replace invective and accusatory statements. In mediation, there are not traditional winners and losers.  This is why it is so effective.

There was an old saw learned by many in law school: When you have the facts on your side, hammer on the facts. When you have logic on your side, hammer on the logic. When you have neither, hammer on the table. No one can put in a good word about uncivil speech and behavior. Hammering on the table is not acceptable.  If we are facing divorce, we can make a choice. We can litigate and face the possibility of lack of civility and encourage confrontation.  Or we can mediate. Which do you think is the preferable option? Discussion versus Confrontation. Civility versus Rancor. Mediate don’t litigate.