It is, in fact, a liberal policy to accuse anyone who disagrees with a liberal position of "incivility" and intolerance. That done, the liberal follows up by calling names and demanding punishment for the perpetrator of the "incivility." Fr. William Miscamble, a professor at Notre Dame, pegged the falseness of the incivility gambit in an article in the Irish Rover last October. As an example, he used the response of some Notre Dame professors who attacked Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria and demanded his ouster from the Notre Dame board of trustees after he wrote about the Obama administrations's assault on religious freedom. Here's that particular section from Fr. Miscamble's article, but I recommend you read the rest:
Some [advocates of civility] appear to use their advocacy for civility as a cover to stifle genuine debate, especially over important issues. This is false civility because it becomes not simply a vehicle to prevent serious discussion but also a weapon to use against one’s political foes. Sometimes, too, civility serves as a refuge to disguise the fact that its advocates want to avoid taking tough public stands on difficult issues. Sadly, present day Notre Dame provides evidence of these practices.
Let me give one example. Late last spring, 154 Notre Dame faculty responded to a powerful homily given by Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky in defense of religious freedom against various actions affecting the church at both the national and state levels. In his homily, Bishop Jenky quite accurately gave four instances of governments – those of Bismarck, Clemenceau, Hitler and Stalin – that “tried to force Christians to huddle and hide only within the confines of their churches.” He suggested further, also rightly, certain parallels with recent actions by the Obama administration and an Illinois state government, which had imposed unacceptable terms on the workings of certain Catholic social service agencies.
Did the offended faculty members react by writing a civil note to Bishop Jenky contesting his view? Hardly. Their ire up and their blood presumably boiling, they instead falsely and publicly accused Bishop Jenky of “ignorance of history, insensitivity to genocide, and absence of judgment.” They further demanded that he resign as a fellow and trustee of the university. They in no way, however, addressed the substance of Bishop Jenky’s legitimate concerns. So much for measured, careful, and respectful dialogue! The faculty petition was an effort to silence a church leader and expel him from the Notre Dame family. The irony here apparently is lost on some of the signatories who still present themselves as monitors of “civility” on campus.
In reality the threats to civility and genuine dialogue these days come mainly from those determined to limit and restrain the expression of views grounded in religious convictions or that defend the valuable work of religious institutions.