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The Soul of Civility
The state of public discourse is often dire, and includes insults and threats. We assume the worst of the other side and we’re not afraid to call them out publicly, especially online. Our guest on today’s show says this behavior isn’t just rude. It’s uncivil. And that civility – not politeness – makes a real difference in how we think about ourselves and treat each other.
Our guest, Alexandra Hudson, is the author of the new book The Soul of Civility: Timeless Principles to Heal Society and Ourselves. She grew up in a family where manners mattered. And when she went to work for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in the Trump administration, she thought good manners would help her navigate a hostile work environment.
But she failed to thrive at work, despite putting politeness and friendliness into overdrive. She left politics deflated. Still, her experience got her thinking about what true civility is, and how it can help us find common ground.
As the holiday season begins, we explore the difference between civility and politeness, how loneliness and isolation contribute to an uncivil society, and the important part that hospitality plays in being truly civil.
Tune in to hear more on the latest episode of Let’s Find Common Ground.
ALEXANDRA O. HUDSON is a writer, popular speaker, and the founder of Civic Renaissance, a publication and intellectual community dedicated to beauty, goodness, and truth. She was named the 2020 Novak Journalism Fellow and contributes to Fox News, CBS News, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, TIME Magazine, POLITICO Magazine, and Newsweek. She earned a master’s degree in public policy from the London School of Economics as a Rotary Scholar and is an adjunct professor at the Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy.
She is also the creator of a series for The Teaching Company called “Storytelling and The Human Condition.” Her first book, “The Soul of Civility: Timeless Principles to Heal Society and Ourselves,” was released from St. Martin’s Press this October.
She lives in Indianapolis, IN, with her husband and children.