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The Importance of Being Civil by John A. Hall

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INTRODUCTION

Any book praising civility is likely to encounter this sort of criticism:

There is something peculiarly unsatisfying about cases with which no decent-minded reader could disagree … [speaking] up for trust, loyalty, teamwork, dialogue, pluralism, an acceptance of difference and a sensitivity to others … is not the most world-shaking of moral standpoints. It is hard to see it competing with Machiavelli’s The Prince or Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals for sheer shock value. Not many works loudly proclaim the virtues of suspicion, disloyalty, uniformity and rampant egoism.1

Such criticism can be justified, but it does not apply to this book. A touch of aggression on this point serves the interests of clarity. Civility is not sugary froth ...

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