I don't get that excited about the perennial calls for civility in politics. Treating others with respect is important, and I certainly have no problem with political discourse that's even friendly and good-humored. But it's not clear that the latter serves any purpose beyond itself—that it builds understanding or encourages useful moderation or enables compromise. Chatting may be generally preferable to yelling, but it's not really a solution to division and gridlock.
I do, however, appreciate timely reminders that our neighbors include those we disagree with.
Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Richard Posner mocks the British father-son pair Robert and Edward Skidelsky for wondering about the balance between work and leisure in contemporary society.
When you register for a driver’s license in the United States you are asked if you’d like to be an organ donor. It’s an “opt-in” question, and only about 40 percent of people choose that option. In Spain, Portugal, and Austria, you’re considered an organ donor unless you opt out. In those countries about 99 percent of the people are registered as organ donors, and there are a higher number of transplants as a result (ProPublica, July 27).