Something horrible has happened to civility. We can no longer hold political discussions without screaming at each other, so our democracy is dying. We can no longer look at strangers without suspicion and even hostility, so our social life is dying. We can no longer hold public conversation about morality without trading vicious accusations, so our moral life is dying. All the skills of living a common life-what Alexis de Tocqueville called -the etiquette of democracy'-are collapsing around us, and nobody seems to know how to shore them up again.aStephen L. Carter, author of the bestsellerThe Culture of Disbelief, argues that civility is disintegrating because we have forgotten the obligations we owe to each other, and are awash instead in a sea of self-indulgence. Neither liberals nor conservatives can help us much, Carter explains, because each political movement, in a different way, exemplifies what has become the principal value of modern America: that what matters most is not the needs or hopes of others, but simply getting what we want.aTaking inspiration from the Abolitionist sermons of the nineteenth century, Carter proposes to rebuild our public and private lives around the fundamental rule that we must love our neighbors, a tenet of all the world's great religions. Drawing on such diverse disciplines as law, theology, and psychology, he investigates many of the fundamental institutions of society-including the family, churches, and schools-and illustrates how each one must do more to promote the virtue of civility.aThrough it all, Carter emphasizes that loving our neighbors has little to do with how we feel and everything to do with how we choose to act. The true test of civility is whether out of love and concern for others, we will discipline our individual desires and work for the common good.