In today's "Mass Moment," the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities tells us:
...in 1768, James Otis, Jr. gave a characteristically fiery speech to his fellow legislators in Boston. He referred to the British House of Commons as a gathering of "button-makers, horse jockey gamesters, pensioners, pimps, and whore-masters." The colony's royal governor denounced Otis's tirade as the most "insolent. . . treasonable declamation that perhaps was ever delivered." Otis's speech in June 1768 was one of many that attacked Parliament for its efforts to squeeze more revenue from the American colonies. His insistence that "a man's house is his castle" and later that there be "no taxation without representation" remain etched in our collective memory long after his name, and his role in the events leading up to the Revolution, have been forgotten. (read the rest)
Those who worry so much about the level of "civility" in politics today could put their minds at ease if they gained a bit of historical perspective—or just watched today's sessions of the same British Parliament that Otis attacked. In any case, it's the intellectual quality of the discourse that we should worry about.