This argument is evergreen on the left and right, because it is less of an argument than a temptation — the temptation to see politics only as a matter of achieving certain policy outcomes, rather than the expression of certain underlying moral commitments.

The debate on these questions has been recently renewed by a group of bright, articulate and morally adolescent social conservatives who have adopted their own version of being “woke.” Politics, they seem to have discovered during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, is war. And war is hell. Which makes civility a form of disarmament. The objective of politics, in this view, is not the building of coalitions around the common good.

This viewpoint may be perennial, but it is also perfectly suited to the Trump era: Persuasion, compromise and politeness are for losers. Do unto others as they have done unto you. And worse.