Does today’s society need a civic culture that does not embrace incendiary words and deeds? Victor Davis Hanson suggests there is a way to stop the erosion of the traditions and manners that prior generations have bequeathed.
Why not try a voluntary code of civic conduct—something akin to the medical profession’s ancient Greek Hippocratic oath—that celebrities, politicians, journalists and other public figures might seek to honor?
- I will neither lecture nor harangue when asking questions.
- I will not deprive others of their right to free expression.
- I will not shout down or silence public speakers.
- I will not resort to profanity or scatology in the public square.
- I will neither call for nor joke about killing or physically harming public officials.
- I will not denigrate the race or sex of anyone or characterize individuals on the basis of their appearance.
- I will not compare my political opponents to Adolf Hitler or Nazis.
- I promise not to disclose the address of contact information of political opponents.
- I will not protest at the private residences of political opponents.
- I will not stalk political opponents.
- I will not resort to physical force to intimidate my opponents.
- I will not denigrate or harass the family members of my opponent.
- I will not report or state something that cannot be substantiated.
- I will not claim to have consulted “anonymous” or “unnamed” sources when I have talked to no one.
- I will not leak or disseminate the private records of those I oppose.
Many of our best-known journalists, politicians and celebrities do not follow those simple rules. If they did, the now-discredited mainstream media, the Washington swamp and the Hollywood elite might regain a little of the credibility and self-respect they have lost.
For more on VDH’s Hippocratic Oath, go here.