The NC Justice Center is the preeminent progressive think tank in North Carolina. The organization describes itself as a “progressive research and advocacy organization.”
Unfortunately, the Justice Center seems to be at odds with itself about the need for civility in North Carolina politics.
Rick Glazier, a former state representative and current executive director of the NC Justice Center, has an op-ed in the Fayetteville Observer titled, “Let’s demand a restoration of civility in politics.”
Glazier makes persuasive arguments about the need for voters to prefer ideas over mud-slinging in politics. And he is exactly right, having made similar points during a talk at the John Locke Foundation in 2014, as he was leaving public office.
Civility breeds civility and incivility breeds incivility in all aspects of our life. Campaigning and holding public office are no different.
He ends his piece with an impassioned plea:
Let’s together elect folks to office who talk about ideas! Let’s give rise to our better nature and selves.
Agreed! Let’s prefer good policy over personal attacks. Let’s discuss ways to improve North Carolina and have an honest, clean debate.
The problem is that the Justice Center staff appear to disagree with Glazier. I have written before about the Left’s extreme rhetoric and the tribalism that it causes in American (and North Carolina) politics. Rob Schofield is the director of NC Policy Watch, a division of the NC Justice Center. Schofield confirmed my opinions about the Left’s lack of civility and rhetoric when he published an article in July titled, “When the future of the country is at stake, civility may have to suffer for a while.”
In his article, Schofield makes sickening, inflammatory, and irresponsible claims comparing conservatives to Nazis, but makes a simple argument: progressives disagree with conservatives and must be uncivil until the direction of public policy is more progressive.
So, what is the Justice Center’s position on civility? Is the Justice Center’s view that all politics should be more civil, and we should all strive to make politics about real policy arguments and not vitriol? Or is the Justice Center’s position, like Hillary Clinton’s, that civility can begin again when progressives retake political control?
I hope it’s the former and not the latter, but the stated positions of the NC Justice Center are clearly at odds with each other.