Most crucial in the viral growth of incivility are new media — the Internet, the blogosphere and all the social applications, from Facebook to Twitter, and whatever else may have developed since I began typing this page.

Whereas in previous eras, an uncivil exchange might be confined to a room, a building or a public square, today’s media technology means that it is captured, amplified, replayed and distributed — perpetually…

The real challenge for the civility-minded is that incivility is more exciting. Human beings are drawn to spectacle, as the bookers of Rome’s Colosseum understood. Glenn Beck is proof of the constancy of human nature.