The Civility Report: A Passion for Civility

Max's Maxim, as we call it, may be the single smartest thing we've ever heard a behavioral scientist say.

"My goal in every encounter," said our friend Max Thurman, "is to leave the other enhanced."

Eureka, if you ask us. That's it.

Thus empowered, people like us can become philanthropists-without-checkbook, our behavior not a collection of quirks but a trove of charitable acts and gifts.

As things are now, our national discourse is a factionalized snarl-off, interrupted only long enough to file lawsuits in disputes you could settle over a cup of coffee.

We opt for excellence in everything except our own behavior. We're throwing tantrums at one another. With civility, society works. Without it, no matter how noble our institutions, we're throwing tantrums.

Max's Maxim is the activism by which we propose to Make a Difference, and on good days one whale of a difference.

We've found our philosophy, and it is us.

Friends say it will take a miracle to refute meanspiritedness. Which is probably true, and is okay with us. America has done miracles before.

This commentary is by Alan Gibson, co-founder of Americans for More Civility, a non-partisan grassroots movement promoting reason, kindness and generosity in public life and private actions. www.morecivility.com


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