Our readers managed to keep it clean while discussing the decline of civility in modern society, as evidenced by recent public outbursts from U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, tennis star Serena Williams and singer Kanye West at the Mtv Video Music Awards. Read the story and then tell us what you think.
Here’s one reader’s view:
The end of civility began in the late 1960s when it was declared that everyone had rights. With that, the civilized world started stepping across boundaries in the most uncivilized manner. I live in a large condominium complex and at general meetings when owners are permitted to speak (one woman) often shouted from her seat. If she didn’t like what the speaker was saying she would shout out to that person to shut up and sit down. These are the same 70- to 80-year-old individuals who make statements that the kids today have no respect. After more than 40 years of this it’s time to turn things around.
Another person laid the blame at the feet of parents:
Some parents deliberately do not teach their children civility, or to be polite or courteous and sensitive to the feelings of others. In fact, ‘self-centeredness’ is encouraged in some children by some parents as a positive trait for getting ahead in the game of life. I’ve seen parents who comment that this kind of behavior in their child is ‘cute.’
A third person took a more world view of Wilson’s outburst:
The Civility Project has my buy-in when it comes to behavior between citizens in public places. As to the political arena, just look at Britain and various other countries for examples of boorish behavior. Can one really complain about a U.S. politician exclaiming ‘You lie!’ during a presedential address when you compare it to the verbal outbursts of members of the British Parliament or to the fisticuffs sometimes exhibited by the parliaments of other countries (for example, Russia, Taiwan, Japan, Tonga, Korea, etc.)?
While another countered:
Boorish and loutish behavior by another country’s politicians should not serve as an endorsement for the same to happen here.
A few people pointed the finger at the Internet:
The ease and ability to post rude and hurtful remarks, albeit anonymously, has probably contributed to an increase in public rudeness and inappropriate verbal outbursts — just as television and the habit of ‘talking back’ to programs and advertisements has led to people talking back to the screens in movie theaters.
And reality television took a hit, too:
Some of it derives from the ‘me first’ (at all costs) attitude of recent decades, as well as the newly cultivated ‘need’ (read: desire) for everyone to have their 15 minutes of fame (read: everyone’s attention focused on me.) Look at the proliferation of ‘reality’ shows that foster this.
Finally, one person noted that their fellow readers don’t have to look too far to find incivility:
If you really want to witness the decline in civility just spend a little time reading the LoHud.com discussion boards!