Aaron Rhodes at The Hill:

According to University of Chicago sociologist Edward Shils, who died in 1995, civility is “a belief which affirms the possibility of the common good … a virtue expressed in action on behalf of the whole society.” Shils wrote that civility is the attitude that “consensus about the maintenance of the order of society” should exist alongside “conflicts of interests and ideals” that exist in a diverse liberal democracy. Civility refers to the self-restraint of passions “with which interests and ideals are pursued.”


Biden likely was referring to civility when he admonished, “Let’s begin to listen to one another again. Hear one another, see one another, show respect to one another. Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war. … We must end this uncivil war.”