MNCC board chair, Augsburg College president Paul Pribbenow, recently highlighted Stephen L. Carter’s proposed rules for etiquette in a democracy, which include:
- Our duty to be civil toward others does not depend on whether we like them or not.
- Civility requires that we sacrifice for strangers, not just for people we happen to know.
- Civility has two parts: generosity, even when it is costly, and trust, even when there is risk.
- Civility creates not merely a negative duty not to do harm, but an affirmative duty to do good.
- We must come into the presence of our fellow humans with a sense of awe and gratitude.
- Civility requires that we listen to others with knowledge of the possibility that they are right and we are wrong.
- Civility requires that we express ourselves in ways that demonstrate our respect for others.
- Civility requires resistance to the dominance of social life by the values of the marketplace.
- Civility allows criticism of others, and sometimes even requires it, but the criticism should always be civil.
A good proposal to consider as we dive into a new school year, all sorts of community partnerships, and a contentious election season! (For Paul’s full presentation, click on “Hospitality Is Not Enough” here.)
Carter’s rules appear in his book Civility: Manners, Morals, and the Etiquette of Democracy.
What do you think? Share comments and stories related to these rules and/or others you’d propose.