My friend David Blankenhorn has been exploring the role of doubt in civil society:
“I am not saying that persons who are rarely troubled by doubt aren’t civil, or can’t be civil. I know from personal experience that this isn’t true. Nor I am saying that doubtful people are always civil; again, I know that this is not true,” Blankenhorn writes.
“But for the doubting person . . . civility is like oxygen. It’s personally necessary. Why? Because without it, I can’t get what I need.”
What does the doubting person need? “The wisdom of the other. . . As a doubting person, civility is more than being nice. Civility is part of what allows me to eat what I must eat and drink what I must drink.”
Blankenhorn seems to be preoccupied primarily by the lack of doubt shown by opponents of gay marriage, not the lack of doubt demonstrated by gay marriage supporters. For years though, David has fought the tendency of his fellow liberals to dismiss and demean the insights of conservatives. For years, he successfully crafted a movement for marriage that set political ideology to one side and allowed good people to think new thoughts about marriage together.